Loose gravel in shades of gray, white, and tan gives this raised patio a beachy feel to complement the relaxed look of the low-slung wood-sided cottage it sits behind. | Photo: Coral Von Zumwalt | thisoldhouse.com
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Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight', large white blooms tinged with pale green; trailing Ivy at the base spills over the sides of the classy zinc planter boxes. Baltic Ivy (variegated creamy edge) would combine well too.
Choose natural stone and pea gravel for a low-key look. If you are going for a natural, casual look in your yard, look for stone with rough edges rather than precise pavers, and skip the concrete in favor of rustic (and inexpensive) pea gravel. This combination is budget friendly and chic, calling to mind the relaxed outdoor areas of homes in Provence and Tuscany.