Retreat for two

Vibrant chairs and flowers create a charming vignette in Seattle

Retreat for two

The large rock in front of the two purple chairs makes a perfect ottoman. Between them, a decorative pot filled with begonia and fuchsia adds a touch of color.

Rick Wetherbee

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Any view worth framing needs a focal point ― something that draws your attention and brings order to the overall picture. An outdoor conversation area was the perfect solution for Cindy Combs's small-space garden in Seattle. Combs gave it a focal point by adding an engaging architectural backdrop, painting her wooden chairs a vivid purple, and surrounding the scene with lush foliage and flowers.

The lattice screen ― dressed in squares instead of the typical diamond pattern ― features a large garden porthole that frames the view from inside the home. "The squares look more sophisticated and refined," Combs says. The screen not only contributes structure, it also serves as the perfect foil for the casual infusion of cascading and floppy plants.

 Plants are artfully arranged to define the space and bring balance to the scene. Purple-flowering catmint, ornamental grasses, and heavenly bamboo set the boundaries for the grassy path that leads to the conversation area. A green waterfall of bamboo softens the lattice and frames the vignette, creating a cozy spot to spend an afternoon.

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