The house was small—just 900 square feet—but the yard, covered in cinder blocks and tile, did have a handful of old citrus trees and a grape arbor, and the whole property was shielded from the street by a neighboring duplex. “We’d just adopted our daughter, so we wanted the feeling of a real neighborhood, but also some privacy,” Alexandra says. “The inspectors said we were crazy, but we went for it anyway.”
“Given how small our indoor living spaces are, we tried to make outdoor living spaces,” Alexandra says. With the cinder blocks and tile ripped out, the yard is now home to a grapefruit, a persimmon, and three kinds of orange trees; a California oak; jasmine and bougainvillea; and lots of bamboo and ferns—as well as an outdoor living room, a dining room, and a tub.