Ultimate garden for outdoor entertaining

A Tucson designer built the perfect space for garden-to-table entertaining

outdoor grilling area

Photo by Jennifer Cheung

Outdoor kitchen and garden patio

Party food goes from garden to grill

“Casual but swank” is how landscape designer Jason Isenberg describes his outdoor gatherings. And the sunken “party pit” that he designed for his backyard suits his easy living style.

Everything he needs to prepare meals outdoors is here in his countertop kitchen, and a few steps away is a stylish veggie garden that yields many of the ingredients he likes to use.

Jason mans the grill, but he invites his guests to pick the vegetables, then clean and slice them—with a cool mojito in hand, of course.

Design: Jason Isenberg (520/791-9131)


outdoor design plan

Anatomy of a dinner-party garden

The side-by-side “living pantry” and dining patio keep gatherings casual and easy on the host.

  • At left:
  • 1: Vegetable garden
  • 2: Dining area
  • 3: Lounge and kitchen
  • 4: Fountain

vegetable beds

Photo by Jennifer Cheung

Vegetable garden

Nine beds with steel edgings form a grid of neat 3-foot squares. Crops include eggplant and basils (front), and tomatoes, chard, and corn (rear).

More: Planting box designs and ideas

herb bed

Photo by Jennifer Cheung

Garden beds

Several varieties of basil grow together in one well-organized plot.

The beds are raised but only slightly, to keep the soil cool.

More: How to grow a bounty of basil

sleek outdoor dining area

Photo by Jennifer Cheung

Dining area

Two metal-and-glass tables snuggle up to built-in seating.

Aromatic Salvia clevelandii grows behind, with a velvet mesquite tree for shade.

More: Design ideas for outdoor dining rooms

Modern outdoor lounge and kitchen space

Jennifer Cheung

Lounge and kitchen

A built-in sofa with lime green cushions gets cozy beside the gas firepit. It also keeps guests close to the long concrete counter with the wok, a deep sink that doubles as a beverage cooler, and the buffet area.

backyard fountain

Photo by Jennifer Cheung

Gurgling fountain

Water spills from a copper pipe into a shallow basin atop a powder-coated steel obelisk, then recirculates from a second basin below.

modern tabletop decor

Photo by Jennifer Cheung

Easy succulent centerpiece

Lavender-gray echeverias cluster in a yellow-green bowl that matches Jason’s color scheme and no-fuss style.

Video: How to make a succulent centerpiece

Printed from: