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Sandbox, deck, lawn, flowers, just 19 by 25 feet.

Sandbox, deck, lawn, flowers, view . . . in just 19 by 25 feet

This compact 19- by 25-foot back yard doesn't waste an inch of space. Constrained by a tight lot in the Berkeley hills, architect Robert Mueller wanted to design an area off the kitchen where his two young children could play and where he and his wife could enjoy gardening or sit outside and savor the hillside view.

To gain a variety of outdoor spaces, Mueller divided the yard into three sections: a 10- by 19-foot deck just off the kitchen, a transitional zone of steps and planters, and a lawn bordered with agapanthus and star jasmine. The deck-- made of redwood 2-by-6s--is 30 inches above the lawn. From the deck, a series of rectangular redwood platforms forms a graceful diagonal path down to the grass, which Mueller mows weekly, clipping the edges to keep it neat. Planter boxes stairstep down from the southern edge of the deck to meet a low concrete wall at one end of the lawn.

For the children, Mueller built a 4- by 5-foot wooden sandbox, placing it in line with the lowest step.

Photo: Platform stairs make an easy transition from deck to play area (above). Trumpet vine covers back fence opposite deck (left)
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Date:Jun 1, 1986
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