1 patio, 3 looks

Quick fixes: Three designers give a bare garden corner the Cinderella treatment

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  • PERSONALIZE WITH ACCESSORIES. Vermeil recommends decorating with items found on trips or using pieces normally reserved for interiors to blur the lines between indoors and out. The wooden “golf balls on steroids” he says “have no purpose other than being a conversation piece.”

    One patio 3 looks

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Make comfort chic "I like clean lines balanced by earth-toned materials and organic shapes," says landscape designer Jared Vermeil. The father of a toddler, Vermeil loves creating contemporary yet family-friendly gardens. As he says, "Modern can feel warm and comfortable too."

Choose big furnishings Rather than using small-scale pieces for the compact patio, Vermeil opted for an angular concrete table, oversize chairs, and glossy bullet-shaped pots to create a sense of expansiveness. "These make it feel like a bigger room instead of a small space cluttered with furniture," he says.

Use multipurpose plants Restios in dramatic pots are both striking and practical. "They have a Dr. Seuss-y, underwater, magical feel, and their fluffiness provides a sense of fun," Vermeil says. "They're also low-maintenance, they soften hard lines, and their structure looks good all year."

-Julie Chai

INFO Wooden balls ($115 each) available from Insite Antiques & Design, San Francisco (415/922-5131). Lulu lounge chairs by Janus et Cie ($2,295 each), orange drum pots ($269 each), and Philosopher table ($1,859) from Flora Grubb Gardens; 415/626-7256. Orange-patterned Andrea cushions ($15 each) from Ikea (Check web site for locations). Vermeil Design, San Francisco.



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