Steal the Casual, Sunny Look of this Outdoor Dining Room in Tiburon
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
Ethnicraft Teak Table
The slatted table, made by Belgian furniture company Ethnicraft, mimics the lines of the redwood pergola.
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.
DWR Finn Chaise
Even on sale, these sleek lounge chairs from DWR are an investment. But they’re sturdy enough to last for years.
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.
Novica Handmade Fringed Hammock
Add a little bohemian charm to your patio with a hand-woven hammock—extra fringe.