The garden was designed by Arterra and featured in Sunset back in 2013 for its use of water-wise landscaping. It recently got a stunning refresh.

tiburon patio yellow chairs

Seth Smoot

An outdoor dining area in Tiburon channels the casual spirit of Portugal

If someone showed you these photos of Lisa Le Duc’s backyard paradise with no geo-location clues, you might guess that it’s in on a remote island in Greece, along the coast of Portugal, or in a bohemian corner of France.

But if you check the coordinates you’ll find that it’s in Tiburon, just across the bay from San Francisco. Le Duc, an English designer who relocated to the Bay Area six years ago, brought her European spirit with her to the West Coast. Though she admits to leaving some of the “bits and bobs” of her old aesthetic back on her former continent.

designer Lisa le Duc at home in Tiburon
Lisa Le Duc, a former furniture maker turned interior designer, at home in Tiburon. The garden, designed by Arterra, was featured in Sunset back in 2013.

Seth Smoot

“It looks weird when you bring that English fuss and clutter here to California,” Le Duc says. “Now that I’m away from it, I can reflect on English interiors differently. They seem very charming, but a lot more fussy. I appreciate the space that having fewer of those tiny little things allows.”

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Le Duc and her family first moved into an old Craftsman property nearby before they found their current home in Tiburon, which is built into a hillside and enjoys beautiful open views of the water and the surrounding hills. The garden was designed by Arterra and featured in Sunset back in 2013 for its use of water-wise landscaping. But by the time her family moved in, it was all in need of a refresh.

Lisa le duc Tiburon patio
White lounge chairs from DWR perch beside Le Duc’s pool. A large, ridged planter adds some privacy texture. And the trees in the background help buffer the bay breezes.

Seth Smoot

“The house has a two-level garden, and there was a huge chimney stack on the top deck, and lots of big American grilling equipment along one wall,” she says. “The patio was only as wide as the pool. So we extended it out to incorporate the sun loungers and then we built the planter wall around it. We’re exposed to the bay, so we put trees in for a wind break. Then we installed the pergola, using rusted steel and redwood to replicate what was already put in for the fencing.”

Lisa le duc Tiburon garden
The garden, with pops of yellow and red, was designed by Arterra and praised by the Sunset team for using drought-tolerant plants like kangaroo paw.

Seth Smoot

And decorating her own home here helped Le Duc, who was a furniture designer and a handmade stationery maker in her former life, understand that she had a unique point of view to bring to the interior design world in Marin. She describes her work as a combination of warm California minimalism with eclectic English touches, and some European romance. She opened a bustling design studio in Sausalito a few years ago.

rustic hammock pergola Lisa le duc
A woven hammock, shaded by a new pergola, channels that “Greek island” feel Le Duc was going for. The pergola is a new construction made of steel beams and redwood. For a similar color-wash for stucco walls, try Purity Limewash paint in terracotta.

Seth Smoot

At home, she relishes time in the garden, and entertains outside under the pergola whenever possible. Next to the long Belgian Ethnicraft teak table, there’s a white, powder-coated metal console from DWR that’s ready to serve al fresco meals, or double as a bar cart. Cotton throw blankets keep guests cozy on chilly nights. A mix of plastic and durable wicker chairs surrounds the table. And it’s all easy to wipe clean with a damp rag.

“I do love a terrace in Greece, or the south of France, with lemon trees growing all around. I’ve planted jasmine to grow up over the roof,” she says. “And I can’t bear having the same chairs all the way around a table. I love a mix. And I love color, especially yellow. What I wanted was nice, easy, breezy summer living.”

Here, Le Duc Shares Her Patio Resource List

Blu Dot Decade Mustard Yellow Chair

Made of recycled plastic, these durable dining chairs are fade-resistant and work indoors or out.

Decade Chair, $145

Ethnicraft Teak Table

The slatted table, made by Belgian furniture company Ethnicraft, mimics the lines of the redwood pergola.

Teak Bok Outdoor Dining Table, $2,209

Serena & Lily Rattan Bell Pendant Lights

These Serena & Lily Summerland pendants are crafted with resin, which is made to look like rattan, and can take a beating from sun, wind, and rain without degrading.

Summerland Outdoor Bell Pendant, $698

DWR Finn Chaise

Even on sale, these sleek lounge chairs from DWR are an investment. But they’re sturdy enough to last for years.

Finn Chaise, $2,295

DWR Sommer Console

In durable, powder-coated aluminum, this console is the perfect buffet table for al fresco meals or a bar. Pictured here without the lower shelf, we recommend spending a little more for the option to store extra beverages, stacks of plates, or any surplus supplies.

Sommer Console Table, $995.00

Novica Handmade Fringed Hammock

Add a little bohemian charm to your patio with a hand-woven hammock—extra fringe.

Fringed Navy Blue Cotton Hammock, $279