This Linden Hills backyard was, well, terrifying...jungle-thick scrub and weeds, bizarre concrete structures, and an elevation drop worthy of San Francisco. The homeowners were looking for a gathering space with simple shade gardens that they could access from their upper deck and basement ceramics studio. We embraced the elevation change and ran with it, creating a plan focused on the juxtaposition of linear elements and natural shapes. We shored up the elevation changes with custom gabion basket retaining walls, built a bench into the walls, and used the organic pattern of blue flagstone to break up the straight lines. Then we had a beer.