Use several small patios or seating and relaxation spaces. Small, open areas organize the yard into functional spaces, and the surface materials require little care. Bricks, pavers, stone, and gravel are durable and long lasting. Ensure permeability by laying the pavers and stone on a sand and gravel bed over filter fabric that allows water to drain.
Use garden walls, low fences, and pathways. Short garden walls and pathways between plant beds provide structure by creating spaces and separating beds for a neat look. Low retaining walls allow level changes that prevent erosion problems and separate beds.
Build in planters around decks and patios. Planters with short walls of bricks or stacked stones keep plants and mulch contained and off the deck or patio. Planters make it easier to water and trim the plants from the deck or patio. Plants are often healthier in raised beds where a good soil mix can be used and weeds and pests are easier to treat. Planters and raised beds also provide a variety of heights and patterns to separate and organize spaces.
Reuse and repurpose materials. With creativity and imagination, many materials can be reused for the same purpose in a different form, or repurposed for a different function. Commonly reused materials are broken concrete from an old patio or driveway and concrete or metal pipe sections.
Hide or disguise unattractive areas. Some areas of the garden may be difficult to maintain despite your best efforts. Unattractive dog runs, blank walls, and work areas can be screened with a fence, lattice, or vines on a trellis. Low garden fences or walls can effectively hide areas where plants are difficult to grow or where utilities are located. Use large rocks, stone pathways, garden structures, and dry stream beds to cover bare spots.