This project is in Seattle, where I live. I'm particularly impressed with the way the landscape architect has used concrete runnels to connect the upper and lower portions of this contemporary landscape. The runnels also help retain storm water and move it through the property.
Together, plants (golden bamboo) and materials (poured concrete and stone) make a visual connection between the levels. A staircase physically links the two spaces.
Viewed from above, the extended runnels draw the eye beyond this component toward the play lawn, patio and outdoor gathering spaces. This sunken garden is well thought out and separate from the entry, although accessible from the home's lower rooms.