Inventive ways to turn a bleak lawn and driveway into a lush, livable garden
written by Sharon Cohoon
1 of 7Photo by Steve A. Gunther
Front Yard: Before
This West Hollywood front yard went from dull to dazzling with this makeover by designer Katherine Spitz (katherinespitzassociates.com). The problem before was a boring lawn, with no privacy (West Hollywood bans any kind of fence taller than 42 inches that fully encloses a front yard).
2 of 7Photo by Steve A. Gunther
Front Yard: After
As a solution Spitz ditched the lawn and got creative with screening
3 of 7Photo by Steve A. Gunther
Step 1: Put up some color panels
Freestanding panels of thick, cranberry-hued glass (anchored in concrete) provide the illusion of privacy.
4 of 7Photo by Steve A. Gunther
Step 2: Add vivid plants
Orange epidendrums and a photinia hedge with red new leaves flank the center panel. Dymondia, Mexican weeping bamboo, and Pittosporum crassi folium ‘Nana’ cool the heat.
5 of 7Photo by Steve A. Gunther
Step 3: Build a pole “fence”
Lodgepole pine posts, their bases also anchored in concrete, are staggered to allow light through.
6 of 7Photo by Steve A. Gunther
Step 4: Make the “firepit” multiuse
A concrete water trough doubles as a reflecting pool and an ice bucket for chilling drinks during parties. Gas jets in its back rim feed flames.
7 of 7Photo by Steve A. Gunther
Step 5: Add a sitting area
This one occupies the part of the driveway just outside the garage; cushions top the built-in bench, while redwood strips freshen the cinder-block wall behind.