Kensington, California: Jigsaw puzzle

This entry garden is inspired by geometric forms
Lauren Bonar Swezey

Modern art and landscape design meet head-to-head in this playful 25- by 30-foot entry garden, which gives new shape to paving.

Using geometric forms inspired by the functional and visual requirements of the small space, landscape architects Mathew Henning, Heather Anderson, and Emily Payne developed a jigsaw puzzle of irregularly shaped brick pads to greet visitors and lead them on an exciting journey to the front door. Around the bricks grows a patchwork of foliage textures. "Very innovative," observed one juror. "The geometric shapes create a dynamic tension but with harmony and balance."

Before the remodel, the front garden was fenced off from visitors, who were funneled directly to the front door along a stark concrete walk. Now, as guests step through the front gate, they're immediately welcomed by lush plantings and a striking brick pathway. Because the path is angled, it encourages visitors to experience the garden before arriving at the front door. "It's a three-dimensional entry that says 'Welcome; have fun; come in when you're ready,' " Henning explains.

DESIGNERS: Mathew Henning, Heather Anderson, and Emily Payne, Henning/Anderson, Oakland, CA (510/531-3095)