She called a local landscape designer and asked for a consultation. By the end of the afternoon, Debbie had a rough design, grading directives, placement suggestions for fencing ("bring the fence in close to the pool for intimacy"), and paving ideas as well as a second opinion on the plants ("add evergreens for year-round structure" and "vary the palette with complementary colors"). The bill came to $150 – at $75 an hour; the dividends will last a lifetime.
Common bricks fashion a fetching foundation for a sunken patio reached via stone steps and a stone-paved path. Bricklayers created one-brick-wide bands that alternate direction to create a simple pattern that intensifies the patio's charm.