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Ceramic tiles move outdoors ... for pathway and a patio.

Durable and colorful, ceramic tile is most often found inside the home, but occasionalloy it makes its way outdoors. In these two gardens, it's used for a patio and a pathway, providing in all-weather surface with unexpected hues and geometric forms that complement the border plantings.

No matter wht type of tile is used, the installation process is labor intensive. It requires pouring a concrete base (sized to avoid extensive cutting of the tile), adhering tile in a thick mortar "float" or a "thin set" mortar coat, and grouting between the tiles.

When selecting tile for outdoor installation, look for a rough-textured surface that provides good traction when the tile gets wet. Remember that very light or very dark tile will show dirt. If freezing temperatures are common to your area, make sure the tile you choose will withstand the cold.

Gray-toned formality

Since owners Sherry and Walter Petit enjoy French gardens, they asked Oakland landscape architect Renee Bradshaw to transform their 35- by 50-foot shaded brick patio into a formal garden (shown above). Bradshaw removed tall hedges to reveal views of the San Francisco Bay and installed a symmetrical network of tiled paths around a central flower bed. The paths and stepping pads have concrete bases topped by gray tiles.

The axis of the garden runs at an angle to the house, with the central path extending to a gazebo rising on poles from the slope beyond. The redwood structure features a peaked roof and built-in, low-voltage down lights.

The subdued colors of the tile created a muted background for the plants, which include peach-colored roses, hardy fuchsias, Japanese maples, stock, forget-me-nots, and other flowers that will thrive in the shaded site. When designing the irrigation system, Bradshaw accommodated the tiny garden's numerous microclimates, installing six lines of drip sprinklers instead of just one or two.

Blue and cream simplicity

Sacramento landscape designer Michael Glassman designed a 12- by 36-foot tiled patio to replace three small concrete pads. He tiled around the two existing trellises and added two built-in, L-shaped benches to provide more seating space and to help frame the patio. The broad patio opens the whole house to a small, shaded garden area and provides more entertaining space for owners Marge and Jack Hawkins.

The patio widens at the center, where a curved section projects toward a small fountain and sculpture that are illuminated at night. The fence was resurfaced with a grid of 2-by-2s to add texture to the backdrop.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Sep 1, 1991
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