It wasn't so easy in 1989, when the couple bought the house, which sat wide open to its busy street with little more garden than a backyard deck and a patch of grass. Happily, there were a few mature trees, and Eagleton knew he could make his cramped lot feel larger with a well-conceived plan for hangout spots as well as play space for the kids. "Whether you like things formal or informal," he says, "the mind wants organization. And when you create outdoor spaces that have a purpose, you use them." Gradually, the garden took the shape it has today, with gates and arbors marking passageways, sheltering trees and shrubs, and welcoming fountains. His landscaping lessons are sure to inspire any aspiring gardener with big hopes for a small space.
Shown: Just inside the gates, dramatic, large-leafed colocasia and ferns gather around a wall fountain that helps mute traffic noise from the back alley.