Care-Free Garden Design

Take it from surfer Timmy Reyes: Paradise is possible, even for gardeners without a lot of time

1 /7 Jennifer Cheung

Take a tour of a great no-chores backyard

Pro surfer Timmy Reyes, 27, spends his “work” days up in a plane or on the water, not at home in Costa Mesa, California. He needs a yard that can fend for itself for weeks at a stretch.

Design to the rescue: Easy-care plants and materials create a garden that can fend for itself for weeks at a stretch.

Click ahead to see how durable furnishings, bulletproof plants, no-fuss flooring, and clever details make it work.

2 /7 Jennifer Cheung

Care-free garden: Durable furnishings

Rattan chairs are fairly inexpensive (Pier 1 Imports sells similar ones for $150) but don’t weather well.

To protect them from sun and rain, designer Brooke Dietrich coated them with marine spar varnish.

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Care-free garden: Bullet-proof plants

These aeoniums, papyrus, cordylines, kangaroo paws, and small palms need no fertilizer or pesticides—only occasional watering by a drip system and a little pruning.

They also easily tolerate shifts from sun to rain.

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Care-free garden: Hide a wall

An imposing cement-block wall made Reyes’s yard seem small.

Rather than replacing it, he chose a cheaper, faster option: Cover it with bamboo fencing (calibamboo.com).

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Low-fuss decking

The deck is made of Trex, a composite of wood and plastic that needs no refinishing and doesn’t splinter or rot.

A hose, brush, and soapy water are all that’s needed for light cleaning.

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Clever hardscape

A poured concrete patio like this is practically ​maintenance-free.

And it doesn’t have to be boring; a wide band of black river pebbles makes this one look like a bold area rug.

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Timmy Reyes at home

Pro surfer Timmy Reyes relaxes in his no-chores backyard.

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