Solution 2: Soften the hardscape with plants Instead of using a solid expanse of paving, the designers created a grid of square concrete pavers, then planted between
them. Elfin thyme makes up most of the green "mortar," but Smith tucked in a few surprises as well, such as blue-eyed grass,
lemon thyme, and sea pink ( Armeria maritima) as "purposeful accidents" to make the grid seem less controlled. Though it looks
soft, the space supports additional chairs and tables when needed for larger parties. Mexican weeping bamboo (Otatea acuminata
aztecorum) wraps around the seating area like a screen, increasing the sense of enclosure.
Solution 3: Steal from the driveway Turf Cells, a form of porous paving that houses and reinforces turf grass so that you can drive on it, allowed the home-owners to keep the functionality of their driveway yet visually connect it with the garden. And because the concrete portion of the driveway is angled at the corner, it appears to be an extension of the patio's grid of squares.
Design: Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture, Baywood Park, CA (805/528-2118); Kevin O'Donnell, Sequoia Pacific Landscape, Los Osos, CA (805/534-1156).