Eliminating grass and water-guzzling landscaping is a good move for environmentally conscious people. One way to do this is to pave more areas of the garden. This not only eliminates plantings and watering needs, but will also create more useful areas for entertaining. In the courtyard photographed, a narrow space between the back of the home and an apartment was transformed from a wild and unused space to a beautiful area that draws the occupants and guests outside to enjoy. This was accomplished by virtually paving the entire space. Be careful not to create too much hard surface. A buffer between the hard surface of decking and the house can be softened by adding a plant area at the juncture, even if it's a small space. The narrow plant spaces shown in this picture, combined with the planting space under the central fountain, offer just enough softness to give the space a comfortable and happy feeling. Plantings around the seating area and the splash of the fountain also will tend to make you feel cooler in the heat of the summer. Too many hard surfaces in your outdoor spaces can feel hot, harsh and uninviting. Adding just a little green space can quickly change that to a tailored, yet welcoming space.
Scott Scherschel and Chip Vogel are designers with Interior Spaces Inc. If you have a design question for Interior Spaces, email your question with a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org. A solution could be used in a future article.