For this Northern California remodel, a gently sloping front yard is small in size but mighty in curb appeal. Waterwise, purple-flowering perennials mingle among boulders and structural plants like Phormium and Echeverria, creating a beautiful diversity of height, color and texture. A cedar arbored gate is as handsome as it is multi-functional. Just beyond, a pea gravel plot can be used for parking, ping-pong or projects. A charming cottage provides equal parts storage and teen hangout. Destined for intimate entertaining, the backyard features large platforms of tumbled California Gold slate and bamboo composite decking, honed concrete fire pit, wraparound cedar bench, and sunken hot tub. Concrete retaining walls frame low-maintenance planting beds of Correa, Pittosporum, Sedum and Olea.

Photos by Mark Compton