This recurring feature in Pool & Spa News may be called Backyard Spotlight, but this time around, we're turning things on its head with a look at a minimal, clean and beachy front yard project.

Recently, San Diego-based Sage Outdoor Designs' principal, Kate Wiseman, was invited back to a home in the prominent area of La Jolla where she previously designed the backyard's landscape. The clients' request this time was simple: transform its modest grass-covered exterior to a welcoming and usable space fit for the family. There was only one real specification. It needed to have a modern, beach vibe. Since Wiseman delivered the first time around, the clients were confident she would succeed again.

Projects such as this are becoming more commonplace, notes Wiseman, who says more elaborate front yards will continue to grow as a trend, particularly in areas where the homes have limited space and high property value, as well as where there is a push to conserve water.

Should one of these projects land on your roster, make sure you follow the letter of city code perfectly, warns Wiseman.

"When you are dealing with a front yard everyone is watching what you are doing," she observes.

Check out the slideshow, and see how Wiseman gave the ordinary space a major face lift that incorporates all things outdoor living for some major curb appeal.