Backyard Zen

Taking cues from Asian gardens, this small urban backyard was transformed into an oasis for an empty nesting couple looking to update their yard. A new garage is the centerpiece of the backyard transformation.  2023 MNLA Award.

A courtyard space was created between the new garage and the house with the addition of custom designed screening and columnar plantings.


Graphic paving creates a dynamic space that visually widens the space, and draws views to the garden edges.

A matrix planting of sedum suppresses weeds, allowing more time to relax! Stepping stones provide access to the front yard.

A Korean Maple and custom screens block the view to the alley while providing a place to hide the garbage and recycling bins.

Columnar Oaks create a living green wall of privacy. The basalt paving bands extend into the landscape, creating space for seasonal planters.

Path light fixtures are unique and each one represents one of the 5 elements of nature: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space.

The four lighting fixtures around the patio were positioned so their shadows would intersect, linking four elements of nature.