This Van Nuys, California residential lawn space was transformed into a soothing backyard retreat that is now both functional and relaxing.  It is also drought friendly.  A place to take a break after work and invite friends over for an evening drink.  Enjoy!

This resident’s backyard was quite typical and was used as a simple play area or dog space.  But the owner wanted more of a functional, relaxing use.  So, we began with the backyard’s grass all dead and burned out.  The owner had let the grass go brown for us to begin easy removal.

Here you can see another view from the back, look out to the back wall.  The backyard, before burned-out grass removal, was essentially a grass yard with a line of bushes on each side.  All the remaining grass was removed, as well as the shrubbery.

With the grass gone, the area was leveled out and stabilized decomposed granite was installed and pressure leveled, which provided a relatively hard-but-natural surface.  A patio area was constructed with 24″ x 24″ smooth-surface concrete pavers; the space in between the pavers was filled in with 1/4″ Mexican black pebble.   Additionally, flagstone was added underneath the client’s wooden table for further stabilization and aesthetics.  New shrubbery was added along the concrete wall, with automatic drip irrigation.


The interior grass space was molded into garden areas — one being a succulent garden with a starter shade tree.


The client placed her own pots throughout the outdoor living area of the new landscape, and we filled those pots with new plants.  We installed a centerpiece fountain in the middle of the succulent garden — it is run electrically and can be turned on and off.


All the landscaped areas with plant material received automatic drip irrigation installation (except the potted plants).  The backyard retreat also has a pool, and so a French drain was added with 2-3″ Mexican grey pebble rock so that chlorine water would not enter the landscape.  Ligustrum bushes were added along the wall to create an evergreen hedge, and Star of Jasmine bushes were also placed along the wall with guide wires so that they would grow up along the wall and form a fragrant hedge.  Landscape lighting was also added.  All in all, a beautiful and relaxing outdoor living space.