Three planting beds provide just the right amount of space for weekend gardeners. Flanking the entry arbor are an herb bed and a vegetable bed, each 5 by 6 feet.
Along the fence, the third (3 feet wide by 14 1/2 feet long) shows off a colorful mix of annuals, perennials, and shrubs.
HERB BED. Golden sage spills from a green-stained terra-cotta urn set on its side in the center of the bed (left).
Around it grow culinary herbs, including basil, chives, dill, oregano, parsley, and thyme. Taller plants -- lavender and rosemary -- are placed in back; low ones such as lemon thyme are in front.
A path of granite-textured pavers edges the beds.
VEGETABLE BED. It's just big enough for a few favorite homegrown crops (bush and dwarf vegetable varieties are best in such mini-gardens): patio tomatoes ('Sweet 100'), two zucchini (Lebanese white zucchini), one squash ('Eight Ball'), four bell peppers, mixed lettuces, and -- for color -- a scattering of flowers (marigolds, Johnny-jump-ups, and nasturtiums).
FLOWER BED. To keep the planting (above right) from looking too busy in this small space, we chose a controlled palette of cool colors: blues, lavender, and purple with splashes of pink, yellow, and white.
Tall plants (blue delphiniums, Echium vulgare 'Blue Bedder', and catmint) grow against the fence,and tall 'Tara's Pink' cape mallow grows in one corner.
Medium-size plants (asters, pink snapdragons, and golden yarrow) grow in the center, and low plants (purple and lavender verbena, white Santa Barbara daisy, and white sweet alyssum) grow in front.
CONTAINER PLANTINGS. Four 'Eureka' lemon trees (left), underplanted with lemon thyme and blue fescue, grow in the 16-inch-square containers; together they act as room dividers between the working garden and the deck.
WATER FEATURE. A 16-inch glazed stoneware bowl nestles among the flowers. In it float blossoms such as roses and bougainvillea.