Mediterranean Odyssey

Regional: Saratoga, California

Designer Chris Jacobson took cues from Spain for the remodel of this Saratoga garden. Judges immediately appreciated his climate-appropriate design. Grasses, lavenders, rosemary, and other Mediterranean plants are particularly suited to Northern California's dry summers. And the stacked-rock walls, casual paths of decomposed granite and flagstone, and subtle use of water give the garden a soft and earthy look.

Before the redesign, a wide concrete path bisected the garden but led nowhere, plants hadn't been maintained, and the aqua-colored in-ground spa was deserted. Jacobson reconfigured the land into berms and turned the spa into a black-bottomed pond; water circulates from an urn fountain through a water course to the pond. Some of the existing plants were retained or relocated. Offering the ultimate compliment, one judge said, "Wouldn't you just love to be sitting there?"

Designer: Chris Jacobson, Gardenart, San Francisco and Los Gatos, CA (415/664-5913)