In this project the clients disclosed a desire for a casual, modern outdoor space that would also serve the youngest members of the family. Additional constraints of the design were the large home footprint in relation to the amount of outdoor usable space. The design approached this problem with a modern technique of minimal planting with an emphasis on usable spaces. The space was first partitioned into two separate spaces, an outdoor living room and a play area. This specific selection of hardscape and softscape create an extension of the interiors for an outdoor living room and a play area that is low maintenance and inviting. The outdoor living room is hardscaped with a contemporary patterned multicolor blue stone. In addition, the outdoor living room is framed with a dark stained redwood deck which delineated the entrance walkway from the outdoor seating area giving guest a sense of arrival. The horizontal constraints of this outdoor space are relieved with the addition of a custom built pergola. The pergola adds a vertical element to the outdoor living room and defines it as a complete three dimensional experience. This two post pergola is built on site utilizing a classic craftsmen technique of wood joints that require only a single structural strap, removing the need for any visual screws or nails. Truly a modern structure in its minimalist approach. Executing the modern design in the background of this residence we plastered existing walls silver gray to create a feeling of a larger, expansive space. Silver sheen pittosporum flank the modern pergola adding a private and contemporary feeling of the space. The childrens play area is designed with a synthetic turf to compliment the removeable playground equipment. Fernleaf podocarpus known for its linear and firm structure adds a vertical element as well as a soft edge to the childrens play area. To soften the lines of the home adjacent to the patio a vertical planting wall was added. The vertical garden gives the residents fresh herbs and vegetable year round in a compact vertical application. Using a modern technique creates an uncluttered and a functional outdoor space that stands firm and tall in a tight context.