This chic low-water oasis complete with a hanging macramé chair, tiled outdoor shower, and dozens of potted cacti feels like the perfect place to end the day with a cold drink.
Design: Johanna Silver, Sunset associate garden editor, and Lauren Hoang, Sunset garden design assistant.
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Section off spaces
Section off portions of a tiny garden. “It can actually make it feel bigger and create more usable space,” Silver says. A large tiled wall separates the outdoor shower from the seating area, giving each space the feeling of a distinct room.
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Use a cool color palette
Draw on color and water to make a hot spot seem cool. Hoang and Silver painted the low walls Kelly-Moore Ivory Mist (KM4926-1), chose gray-green plants, and used frost-colored tiles for the shower. “The outdoor shower doesn’t need to be on to be refreshing—it’s the sense of water that’s essential,” Hoang says. Within that cool palette, baby barrel cactus paired with pale thimble cactus make a stylish duo planted in a low container. To hide the potting soil and create a more consistent look, the designers top-dressed each container in the garden with dark gravel.
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Build a platform
“The act of taking a step up gives you the illusion of being in a different place,” Silver says. Their 12-inch-high platform laid with cut (read: less expensive) stone sets apart the hanging chair and offers ad hoc seating for a crowd.
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Hanging seating creates a casual vibe.
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Play with pattern
Inexpensive painted breezeblock adds a graphic touch.
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Achieve a lush effect
The backside of the shower painted with a coat of Kelly-Moore ‘Silver Blueberry’ (KM4994) becomes a sleek backdrop to show off a collection of a potted palms, cacti, and succulents. Combining foliage, such as the feathery pygmy date palm, with cacti and succulents helps the garden feel lush without needing much water.
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Highlight an asset
In the back of the garden, a towering agave (Agave americana) holds court. The bold, sculptural shape of agave is mimicked by smaller potted agaves (Agave ‘Blue Glow’) sitting on top of wooden pedestals at the garden entry points.