WHITNEY GREEN'S backyard is a series of colorful and playful vignettes that artfully mix low-water cactuses and succulents with fruit trees and roses. The Santa Monica garden, designed by Stephen Gabor of Gabor + Allen Inc., offers ideas for using desert plants for accents and drama without the backyard looking like the Mojave.
"We wanted drought-tolerant without creating a cactus garden and still have flowers for cutting," Gabor says, adding that function remained paramount. Every tableau reflects Green's love of color, succulents, hummingbird plants and flea market finds. The back staircase is decorated with pots of succulents and cactus. The kitchen opens onto the patio, where a mix of urns and smaller pots brim with the dramatic and powerful structure of kentia palms and a huge flax, which add a warm beauty to the outdoor living space.