Get inspired by these simple strategies that let a tiny garden live large
Small Garden Secrets
Rob D. Brodman
Pale yellow Acorus 'Ogon' and lime green Coleonema pulchrum 'Sunset Gold' flank the steps.

Small lots don’t easily accommodate separate outdoor living areas. But Dean Shibuya and Jeffrey Molloy’s 600-square-foot San Francisco backyard uses every square inch to contain several garden rooms comfortably.

To create them and to make the small yard look larger, landscape designer Terry Mulrooney pushed into the yard’s corners.

One corner accommodates a hot tub; another corner features a pergola with a built-in bar and bench.

Paving materials define the three separate rooms. Connecticut bluestone flagstones cover a lower patio.

Two upper patio areas are defined by a redwood deck and granite pavers surrounded by medium-size polished stone.

A decorative fence shares the same coppery stain as the deck and pergola.

And a low wall of dry-stacked, moss-covered stone gives a feeling of permanence. That’s important in bustling urban surroundings, Mulrooney says.

Shibuya and Malloy love the results.

“Before, people didn’t know we had a backyard, because we never showed it to anyone,” Shibuya says.

“Now we pull everyone out there to see it.”

DESIGN: Terry Mulrooney, Admiral Green Landscaping, San Francisco, CA (415/750-9002)

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