I wanted a garden for people, as much as plants. After years of high-maintenance gardening on a large suburban lot, I found myself planning a tiny new space behind a little cottage that my husband and I had bought.
I started with a strong, if somewhat romantic, concept. I've always admired the warm, walled areas around English country houses used for sitting and dining outdoors. Inside the walls grow herbs, lettuces, fruit, and flowers for the household. I'd emulate the intimate, sheltered garden closely linked to the house. And I'd create it with modern materials, rather than mossy old brick.
Shown: The deck offers space for casual seating; wide steps provide plenty of room for containers that help blend the structure into the garden. The concrete-paver patio makes a subdued background for bright perennials in shades of yellow, orange, plum, and green.