Today's boldest gardens are often highly structured yet explosive, using order as a backdrop for lively chaos. Artist Nancy A. Kintisch of Atwater Village found that this approach suited her Moroccan-style house. From street to doorway, the grounds of her little 1920s castle combine the control of Islamic design with the unruliness of an English cottage plot.
A painter, muralist and tile artist, Kintisch applied color and form like brushstrokes. Low walls enlarged the planting area and defined the sloping lot. Alphonse Karr bamboo and eucalyptus-wood gates (by landscape designer Frank Perrino) provide privacy. The front path, inlaid with tile, suggests a Persian carpet surrounding a rosette of rosemary. The four beds teem with blooms: antique and David Austin roses, daylilies, hollyhocks, poppies and a host of others.
As it climbs the front steps into the entry court, Kintisch's tilework intensifies. Its antic, random pattern of Mexican pavers and handmade ceramic tiles by Peter King and Marni Jaime of Pensacola, Fla., links the garden to the home's interior. "In this tiny house," Kintisch says, "there's great attention to detail. The garden had to match that."