1 patio, 3 looks

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


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).

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