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Country cool: a circular patio in the Alexander Valley embraces its shade tree.

1. Rustic seat wall

A 20-inch-high wall defines the patio and provides extra seating. Faced with ledgestone from Amador County, it echoes the mottled hues of the sycamore tree's bark.


2. Permeable paving

Pacific Gold gravel paves the patio, letting rainwater through to tree roots and creating visual serenity against the distant grasses and grapevines.

3. Leafy cover

Green Loropetalum chinense grows along the wall's rugged exterior, while Boston ivy (which turns reddish in fall) cloaks the stones.

4. Tree trim

A small circle of stones that match the wall surrounds the base of the sycamore tree, whose lacy canopy shades the west-facing patio.

5. Border in pots

Each of four containers holds a single 'Little Gem' magnolia about 12 feet tall, shading the adjacent master bedroom.

DESIGN Diana Stratton, Diana Stratton Design, Healdsburg (dianastrattondesign. com or 707/433-2582)

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Title Annotation:Design that works
Author:Chai, Julie
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2008
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