Backyard transformed into three-tiered haven

  • Lynne Bernstein, owner of Garden of Ease Landscaping and Design, used stone terraces and plantings to give a new look to the backyard of Lisa Clyde in Sebastopol, California on Thursday, August 14, 2014. BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Lisa Clyde believes her backyard is simply perfect.

It rises up in back of her remodeled Sebastopol bungalow in three tiers, each tier a flagstone patio set in uneven quadrangles, separated by low, stone planter boxes.

A single fountain made from a 2,500-pound basalt boulder burbles in the upper left tier, dropping a slow waterfall into a bed of black Mexican pebbles.

Award-Winning Sebastopol Landscaping


There is nothing flashy about this 740-square-foot yard and yet it has an understated, unfussy elegance that Clyde prefers. And most importantly, it invites her to come outside.

When she moved in three years ago, there was nothing in back but a steep slope of wood chips and random plants.

“There were some bender boards, a maple tree in the middle and some roses. It wasn’t very appealing and it was totally unusable. I would have had to be a mountain goat to walk up there,” she recalled.

One year and $50,000 later, it has been transformed not only into a usable landscape but a winning landscape.

The regional chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association gave the project, installed by Lynne Bernstein of Garden of Ease Landscape and Design in Sebastopol, its top Sweepstakes Award at the organization’s annual competition in June.

“My favorite part about this is it brings the whole outside inside,” said Clyde, who can look out to what amounts to an extension of the house through wide patio doors in her kitchen.

The project was selected over 20 other residential projects, many a lot grander and with budgets many times the size, up to $1 million or more.

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