The courtyard entryway of this magnificent Oakland hills home was essentially a large unused space. Yet extraordinary potential lay just below the surface. Black basalt pavers in geometric patterns replaced a gopher-infested lawn. Structural plants, including Agave, Aeonium and other succulents, were chosen to complement the home’s architectural style and fit the space’s mix of blazing sun or deep shade. Grevillea, Chondropetalum, Hesperaloe and Phormium round out the smart, diverse plant selection. Generous use of fine Mexican pebbles plus the clean lines of rectangular pavers punctuate the space’s decidedly sparse feel.

Photo by Jude Parkinson-Morgan