This was the second Oakland Hills Fire Zone Garden I ever designed, and it also is about a year old in this photo. The client wanted a place to read in the garden, and also take in the view across to the bay to the GG Bridge. We had to raise the grade up about 3 feet in this corner to take maximum advantage of the full view, therefore the steps up. I wanted the bench to be shaded yet open, so used the Charles Grimaldi Brugmansia to frame the corner and screen the view of the houses that tower over this garden beyond the property line. With small California lots, it is all about careful plantings to screen or focus distant views, but also keeping size in mind so that things don't get too big.