We started off by removing some of the lawn—its flat expanse gave the feeling of the street or sidewalk going right up to the house—and in its place we added water-wise plants like Australian natives, rosemary, lavenders, grasses and other graceful, meadow-like plants.
Many of these will grow big, in an open, airy way. Eventually creating a soft, substantial border, making the yard feel more connected to the home and less like an extension of the street.
And of course, we added a tree. That large space was just begging for a tree. It's small now, but has a big future.