Drought-tolerant lavender, rosemary and ceanothus flank a hidden path that leads to the beach where canoes wait.
Use water to mask sound. The recirculating creek just outside the front door covers the road noise behind it.
Contrast textures. In the entry courtyard, lacy-leafed Japanese maples add a soft counterpoint to stone walls ― and some fiery hues when their leaves change color in fall.
Add interest underfoot. A path with ribbons of greenery between its pavers is especially inviting. Carpetlike pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) fills the spaces between pavers in the entry court.
Make the most of shrubs. The right ones in the right places can add hits of seasonal bloom. Camellias are ideally suited for shapely pruning and espaliers; their blossoms stand out in elegant relief against shiny evergreen leaves. And rhododendrons make lavish focal points when cloaked with spring bloom.
Make room for vines. Showy ones such as Clematis montana rubens create walls of bloom. Clematis are especially effective climbers; this one covers a pergola, which is decked with flowers every spring.
Borrow views you like; hide the ones you don't. Fronted by a lawn, this landscape preserves a panoramic vista of Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier beyond. East of the main lawn, a border of ceanothus, rosemary, and Spanish lavender conceals a path to a beach with canoes at the end (far right). And trees behind the house screen views of the adjacent road and neighboring houses.