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Pacific Palisades, CA

This garden in Pacific Palisades makes maximum use of a small lot to make the house itself live larger. The clients, a couple who downsized within their coastal neighborhood, swapped a big landscape with a pool for a corner lot awash in lawn and concrete. Their goals for the new place included a fully indoor-outdoor life, with patio hang-outs adjoining downstairs rooms and large garden views from the inside. They wanted colorful, easy-care plants with low water needs that would thrive near the beach. Architect Dane Twichell opened up the interiors of the1940s house and brought in light and air with French doors. I designed corresponding courtyards — a tree-shaded lounge off the living room, a dining patio off the kitchen — and enclosed them with hedges and fences clad in vines. Along a sunny walk I planted drought-tolerant, winter-blooming succulents, and for the breezy coast-facing corner, I chose Mediterranean climate flora from around the world - almost as water-wise, but more forgiving of wind and mist. Strategically placed trees and partitions screen out neighbors, and a pint-sized meadow creates an overlook with a peek of the Pacific. Nearby, where a thirsty lawn once grew, a ping-pong court draws friends and family out for games.

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