Mrs. Masri contacted me because the small townhouse back yard in Falls Church VA was very uninteresting, dull, charmless and didn’t invite you to be there. It was a regular back yard, 20×20’ with a concrete slab as patio, one tree and an ugly ac-unit that needed to be screened. She wanted a peaceful haven with space to entertain and easy to maintain since she lives part of the year abroad. How to make this work was up to me. We enlarged the patio, but left space for planting, and capped it with irregular flagstone in browner tones. We also added a stone seat wall to maximize the space when she had people over. The most interesting feature in m eyes is the stone bench. It’s centered on the chimney and the main focal point. In its simplicity it’s a stunning piece that was easy to add to a design but almost impossible to implement because of its size and weight. Around the ac unit we built a lattice screen with removable panels, only the posts are fixed. Because the existing tree is a Purple Leaf Plum decided to have the rest of the plants follow the same colour scheme. We planted a mix of different blue grey Hostas, Japanese Painted fern, Tricyrtis and burgundy Heuchera with Hydrangeas in the shade under the tree. On the sunny side we kept the same colours but used Lamb’s Ear, Pennisetum, Sedum, Heuchera and Echinacea with the Hydrangea. On either side of the stone bench we have Schizophragma‘Moon light’. In order to get more greenery against the house we added large burgundy pots with plants, mostly perennials (Hostas, a redleaf Japanese Maple, Pennisetum ‘Rubrum’ etc), in the same blue grey with burgundy tones.