outdoor patio with lounge chair and small patch of grass
Photo: Lisa Romerein
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2. Keep the lawn to a minimum

The Ocampos kept a patch of lawn, but it's so small—about 16 feet square—that it seems more like an area rug than wall-to-wall carpet. It sits to one side in the backyard and is the first thing you come to if you enter from the side yard. They thought they needed it as a play space for their daughter, but it mostly serves as a lush counterpoint to the hardscaping around the fireplace area. Vincent constructed a focal-point pebble fountain against one of the garden walls where it is surrounded by palms and feathery Chilean mesquite trees. Now the sound of splashing water enlivens this quiet corner of the yard.
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