family enjoying outdoor living space with fireplace and lounge chair
Photo: Lisa Romerein
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3. Rely on low maintenance hardscape for outdoor living

The Ocampos' garden is so easy to care for partly because it substitutes paving and planters for lawn and traditional perennial beds. But with a lot of hardscape, you need a good design or you could wind up with a yard that looks like an industrial parking lot. Lopez's solution was to create an underlying grid of lines that gives the spaces a sense of order. Changes in elevation help tame the slope in front and delineate the spaces in back.
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