A small urban backyard that might be short on space, but not on style
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Baylor Chapman loves living and working in San Francisco’s Mission District. But at the end of the day, the floral designer and owner of Lila B. Design (lilabdesign.com) wants a retreat from the surrounding busy-ness, so she transformed her deck into a plant-filled outdoor room. “My garden softens some of the urbanness of my neighborhood—it’s a little natural oasis off the street.”
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Choose furniture that’s small-space-friendly
With space at a premium, a truck-bed storage box holds soil, fertilizer, and tools and doubles as a bench. When not used for seating, some chairs are plant stands.
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Use a soothing palette
Baylor filled her rooftop with lots of lush, textured plants in silvers, purples, and blues. “I wanted it to feel serene—these are quiet colors for me.”
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Plant on wheels
All of Baylor’s plants grow in containers for mobility, and she put casters on the largest ones. “I like to rearrange a lot, and this gives me the flexibility to move everything around as the sun exposure changes, or if I have a party.”
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Make big pots light
To lessen the load of larger containers atop her deck, Baylor fills the bottom third of those vessels with plastic bottles and adds soil and plants on top.
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Take advantage of others' throwaways
City living means lots of castoffs, so Baylor trawls for furniture and other finds in places like her building’s recycling bins, salvage yards, flea markets, and even on neighborhood streets. A few of Baylor's freebie scores: The love seat was a curbside find, her glass tabletop was a throwaway from her landlord, and the turquoise planter tubs (pictured) were slated for a neighbor’s trash bin.