Extend Your Patio - Patios and decks are great for entertaining but aren't always large enough to host a crowd. Here, a patch of level lawn expands the outdoor living area created by a ground-level patio. This principle would also work with a low deck that allows easy access to the lawn.
A gentle slope relies on shade-hardy plants for textural interest. Big brush strokes of color -- from the same plant -- draw up the eye through the landscape; here, a bright red stretch of astilbe beckons at the top of the path. Sedum and lamb's ear too.