A California couple turned a narrow 15- by 30-foot corridor outside their home into a cozy, colorful alfresco living room with these five features we love:
- Trellis for shade. A coated aluminum trellis overhead provides some shade, but its opening lets through enough daylight to bathe a privacy wall and fountain.
- Floral backdrop. Plants that tolerate drought and heat―including gaura, lavender, and salvia―draw the eye toward the back fence.
- Longer patio. The new patio is roomier than the deck it replaced. Rosy cocoa tiles enhance the expansive feel, as do the pavers.
- Curving seat wall. Topped with Arizona flagstone, this distinctive feature curves from the patio's end to the firepit.
- Fountain. A freestanding, stucco-faced wall, built 3 feet in from the property line and painted a rich persimmon hue, helps mask a neighbor's home. Water passes through a slit near the wall's top and falls through a bed of cobbles into an underground basin, then recirculates.