Southern Ground

Temperatures are rising and flowers are starting to bloom! Celebrate the upcoming season with our 2023 OUTDOOR LIVING AWARD WINNERS

Outdoor Oasis

Designer: Whitney Durham, Whitney Durham Interiors
Landscape Architect: Graham Pittman, E. Graham Pittman & Associates
Photography by: Laura Negri Childers

Featuring a pool, spa, cabana and plenty of open area for lounging and play, this recently overhauled backyard is an entertainer’s paradise. “We wanted it to feel like an extension of our home, but also a special place to retreat to at the end of a long week,” says designer and homeowner Whitney Durham. “We wanted all of the selections to feel natural, organic, charming and family-friendly.” Working with landscape architect Graham Pittman, Tennessee bluestone stepping stones guide visitors to various entertaining zones. The newly added pool features a raised spa with waterfall feature, and steps away, the cabana welcomes with punchy patterns on indoor/outdoor fabric. An abundance of floral and plant species—such as viburnum, Encore azalea, hydrangea, boxwood, autumn cherry and more—support fresh blooms year-round, while large evergreen trees and mature oak and magnolia trees provide privacy from surrounding homes. “We wanted interest during all seasons, whether that be with color, fragrance or textures,” says Pittman. Durham and her family couldn’t be more thrilled with the result. “We can have one child practicing soccer in the turf and one swimming with our dogs in the pool while we enjoy a cocktail and watch them from our view in the cabana, or while cooking on the Big Green Egg.”

Spring Fever

Landscape Architect: Richard Anderson, Richard Anderson Landscape Architect
Landscape Contractor Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson Landscape Company
Architect: Yong Pak, Pak Heydt & Associates
Builder: Michael Ladisic, Ladisic Fine Homes
Photography by: David Christensen

When first tasked with this project, landscape contractor Michael Jackson knew it would require a lot of labor to transform the overgrown backyard, however, it was the client’s love for flowers that fueled Jackson and landscape architect Richard Anderson’s motivation for a complete garden overhaul. “It was a project driven by the homeowner’s enthusiasm to have an expansive, ever-evolving garden that bloomed throughout the year,” says Jackson. “So that’s how we approached it—a combination of formal landscape architecture paired with less structured elements.” With an abundance of species, Jackson and Anderson incorporated plantings that would bloom throughout the year. “We knew the homeowner wanted to keep a similar palette to what they had at their California property—plenty of color, but no reds,” says Jackson. “Luckily the property’s high shade provided an ideal environment for some of their favorites—hydrangeas, hostas and roses.” The result: a charming vista that will be enjoyed for years to come.

Easy Entertaining

Designer: Michelle Doughtie, Schilling & Co.
Architect: Stephen Fuller, Stephen Fuller, Inc.
Landscape Architect: Carson McElheney Landscape Architecture & Design
Photography by: Heidi Harris

Working in collaboration with architect Stephen Fuller and Carson McElheney Landscape Architecture & Design, interior designer Michelle Doughtie crafted a year-round retreat for her longtime clients. With the addition of a guest cottage, “We wanted it to feel like a part of the current architecture,” says Doughtie. “It was very important that it felt like it had always been there, and Stephen Fuller did an amazing job creating an exterior that is fresh and current but still speaks to the traditional home.” Equipped with an outdoor kitchen, shower and weather-resistant furniture, the cabana space acts as an ideal locale for spring soirées. In the second phase of the project, Carson McElheney Landscape Architecture & Design transformed the landscape into a lush garden that beautifully frames the main home’s lower sitting area. “[The homeowners] have a very large extended family and love to host parties with large groups,” says Doughtie.” I feel like we achieved their goal of beautifully appointed spaces.”

At the Top

Designer: Tammy Connor, Tammy Connor Interior Design
Architect: D. Stanley Dixon, D. Stanley Dixon Architect
Photography by: Eric Piasecki

Located at the highest point of Blackberry Farm, Tennessee, this tucked away guest home by designer Tammy Connor and architect D. Stanley Dixon was designed to reflect a contemporary tree house. “We wanted the house and the outdoor and indoor spaces to make you feel as though you are part of the landscape, not just viewing it through a window,” says Connor. Reflecting the original summer homes built in the area in the 1930s and ’40s, locust bark siding accented with a green trim was inspired by the lichen growing on the nearby hardwood trees. The wood-shingled roof adds an additional element of both historic and organic materials. “We chose the materials and color palette to be sympathetic to the surrounding forest,” says Dixon. The enclosed porch, with trussed ceilings and vintage fabric cushions, is a favorite space of the homeowner, used for sunrise coffee sipping and outdoor dining. Says Connor, “When you sit out on the porch, you really do feel like you’re living in a modern-day Swiss Family Robinson dreamland.”

Moroccan Muse

Designer: Alison Baker, Alison Baker Interior Design
Architect: Braulio Casas, Braulio Casas Architects
Builder: Jodi Hamid, Arkon Group
Photography by: Jack Gardner

Designer Alison Baker worked closely with architect Braulio Casas to achieve this vacation-ready hideaway located in Alys Beach. Both the Mediterranean architecture of Greece and The Royal Mansour resort in Morocco acted as inspiration throughout the entire design process. Water elements peacefully coexist alongside chic tiles and bright, playful patterns. “Water was an extremely important feature, evidenced by the many fountains, pools and plunge opportunities,” says Casas. Natural light dominates each sitting space and bright blue tones pay homage to the nearby ocean. “[The outdoor spaces] delight the senses and create a wonderful backdrop that only enhances the character of the house,” says Baker. “An escape from the day-to-day, the ensemble of the architectural and interior design seamlessly delivers the desires of the homeowners.”