back yard lounge area conical dwarf Alberta spruces, serviceberry trees, coleus, impatiens, vining mandevilla
Photo: Mark Lohman
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Lesson 4: Carve Out Outdoor Rooms

Break up large outdoor spaces into smaller areas. Your garden feels bigger if you can't see all its "rooms" at once, an effect Eagleton achieved through slight grade changes, walled enclosures, and plant screens. The original backyard was mostly lawn with maple, hawthorn, and spruce trees along the edges, and a cramped wood deck. Over time, he replaced the deck with a raised one 8 feet larger and framed it with landscape-tie planters 2 feet higher than the garden below. These planters surround the dining spot with close-up blooms and selectively block larger garden views with dwarf Alberta spruces. He left a piece of lawn for his children, but at one end, between it and the kitchen door, he designed an outdoor lounge area, screened with another planter—this one 18 inches high and 12 feet long—filled with tree-form serviceberry shrubs and billowing coleus and impatiens.

Shown: A lounge area is tucked between the elevated dining deck—screened with conical dwarf Alberta spruces—and a planter in which serviceberry trees mix with coleus and pink and white impatiens.
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