From landscape architects to top tastemakers, we polled the leading garden experts from across the country for all the dirt.
CECE BARFIELD THOMPSON
Cece Barfield Thompson
After sharpening her skills at Vogue and as a senior designer with Bunny Williams, CeCe Barfield Thompson launched her eponymous interior design firm, beautifully blending old-world charm and heirloom pieces with a fresh, energized aesthetic. After spending the pandemic gardening with her family and enjoying nature, Thompson has mastered the art of entertaining outdoors. “The pastoral views and sunset are prettier than any dining room,” she shares. Thompson curates a charming collection for the garden that is a perfect mix of practicality and provenance. She suggests her CeCe Barfield Home silver Ceylon cups and pitcher. “They are shatterproof, which makes them perfect for outdoor entertaining,” she says. “Pennoyer Newman has a wonderful selection of items for the garden. For antiques, auctions are my favorite source.”
“A widebrimmed sun hat is a must! Sarah Bray has beautiful ones.” sarahbraybermuda.com
“Nothing is more beautiful than crisp white linens on a summer table.” CeCe Barfield Home Virginia heirloom dinner napkins in white, cecebarfieldinc.com
“The Niwaki rattan handle secateurs are a staple for me both in the garden and at home.” shopterrain.com
“Hillbrook Collections has fabulous follies that come assembled.” hillbrookcollections.com
From high-profile collabs with Goop, Baker/Milling Road and CB2 to the launch of her home product line KEPT, Chicago-based Kara Mann has established herself as a wiz at translating her design talents into must-have products. Her latest big news? She’s taking her transitional style alfresco with a just-dropped collection for premium Aussie brand Harbour Outdoor. Expect chic vibes aplenty, from sofas and chairs to stone slab-topped tables, with each of the 12 pieces featuring sophisticated woven cord wrapping around the frames—perfect for the outdoor entertaining season to come, something that Mann is always excited for. “I love the feeling of freedom it evokes,” notes the designer. “It ’s casual and relaxed. It ’s fun to decorate around nature; sometimes you want your tablescape to take a back seat to the beauty around you, other times you want it to commune with it. The kids can run around while the adults sip prosecco. Then we can all crash on the couch together at the end of the day.”
This large pouf by Cabana (cabanamagazine.com) upholstered in Dimoremilano’s Red Interspace fabric and finished with a glossy painted metal is on Kara Mann’s list of outdoor faves.
Wave stemware by CB2 (cb2.com) is a must-have.
Mann’s just-launched 12-piece collab with Australian luxury brand Harbour Outdoor (harbouroutdoor.com) features chic nesting tables, armless chair, coffee table and three-seat sofa.
“I grew up surrounded by nature in Argentina, with a river running through my backyard and more plants than friends,” says Paloma Teppa, founder and creative director of Plant the Future, a biophilic design studio, botanical art gallery and plant boutique based in Miami. Today, she marries plants with art and design as a physical manifestation of that memory, helping people connect with the healing energy of nature in a city she describes as avant-garde and always open to innovation. Her love of the natural world has led her to design mossy masterpieces for 1 Hotel South Beach and West Hollywood, and a fantastical collaboration with Jonathan Adler for American Dream in New Jersey. If you’ve been to the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, you’ve probably seen her life-size unicorn sculpture—a foliage-filled prelude to the porcelain figurine planters she creates with Lladró. One day she’ll design parks that bear fruit trees, she says, so that everyone in the community can have access to Mother Nature’s gifts. Until then, you can find her composting in her garden or working soil with her bare hands to stay grounded, plotting her next interdisciplinary installation that ignites the imagination. “Plants,” she says, “are powerful beings that create harmony and peace in our spaces, helping us understand the true meaning of life.”
Miami-based biophilic designer Paloma Teppa finds inspiration in every aspect of nature. She transforms that passion into living art, like her topiary sculpture collaboration with Jonathan Adler (jonathanadler.com) for American Dream.
Plant the Future’s (plantthefuture.com) mesmerizing Botanic Art Collection
A preserved moss, bamboo and concrete mural at Core in Miami depicting the nearby Douglas Road Metrorail station
“The abundance of sunshine and mostly balmy weather in Southern California definitely affects the colors and fabrics I gravitate toward,” says interior designer Amy Sklar. “I don’t lean into heavy woolen fabrics, and I like to temper darker tones like blacks and browns with lighter colors.” Besides planning an upcoming trip with her family to Italy, Sklar is busy with a number of projects, including one for a client who’s transitioning from a 28,000-square-foot home to an 8,000-square-foot space, and a full remodel of a home built by noted architect D.D. McMurray in 1933. “[It ’s] in an enclave of 13 historic residences on the grounds of The Langham Huntington hotel in Pasadena,” she explains. Sklar took comfort into consideration for her Poolside Fantasy look above.” I love that these pieces are wonderful for cozying up with someone,” she says of the Royal Botania furniture. “The sofas are so perfect for socializing. I love how they curve into the space so everyone feels included. Plus, there’s lots of room to tuck your legs up!”
Burke Decor Shapes oversize pool tube, burkedecor.com
Crate & Barrel Leland rattan beverage tub, crateandbarrel.com
Food52 x Kate Roebuck outdoor bamboo dinnerware, food52.com
Kris Van Puyvelde for Royal Botania The Organix Lounge Collection, royalbotania.com
Atlanta’s typical foliage—consisting of traditional Southern varieties such as magnolias, hydrangeas, azaleas and the like—is certainly to be admired. But what landscape designer Brendan Butler has been doing in the contemporary realm highlights the versatility of the South’s temperate climate. Butler’s signature mix of grasses, boulders, conifers, Japanese maples and hardscapes has caught the eye of Atlantans and beyond—making a name for himself as the go-to modern landscape designer in the area. Some of his work includes the courtyard of Jane Fonda’s former penthouse, as well as exteriors of popular Atlanta locales like Hotel Indigo, Miso Izakaya and Rumi’s Kitchen. All his works are very personal to him, as he carefully crafts each one to be a feast for the eyes, meant to be viewed from different angles, like art on a wall. Butler utilizes a bevy of products to create these conversation pieces for his clients, and here he shares a few of his favorites.
Tonik bench in green, tonik.com; Dedon nest chair, dedon.de
A project by Butler showcasing his classic style of steel terraces, grasses and Japanese maples
JANE SCOTT HODGES
Jane Scott Hodges
“Outdoor entertaining is the perfect place to mix high and low,” shares Jane Scott Hodges, founder of luxurious home atelier Leontine Linens, “mixing your fine china with place mats cut from butcher paper, using an assortment of silverware styles and mixing table linens for a look that is inviting and informal.” For over 20 years, Hodges has cemented herself as an interiors “it” girl who has mastered the art of the visual feast. Featuring an approachable way to utilize luxurious linens for everyday use, she pours her signature whit and whimsy into each setting. As the top purveyor in couture linens for bedding, bath and beyond, Hodges has a keen eye and sense of style for products for everyday use, without skipping any steps in the art of living well.
Hodges puts her creative spin on mixing high and low for alfresco dining
The design maven enlists a rattan tray for carrying drinks in and out.
Hodges opts for vibrant colors and bold prints.
Since opening her first Casa Design showroom in Boston’s SoWa Design + Art District in 2008, Zhanna Drogobetsky’s vision of free-flowing interior and exterior design has caught the eye of the city’s elite. “I’m proud to say that Casa Design has set a new standard for outdoor living, with pieces that not only look gorgeous but also are able to stay outside all year round,” the designer says. “We are passionate about helping our clients transform outdoor spaces into their own modern oasis, complete with high-end designer furniture.” Think over 300 prestigious brands, including Molteni&C, Kettal, Tuuci and more. When it comes to outdoor decor, some of the top elements Drogobetsky says to consider are functionality, location, weather conditions and quality materials that are built to last—especially when it comes to renovating a patio space. “The creative process for outdoor design begins with nature—that ’s the backdrop to everything, and nature seems to make clients more open to experimenting with color, which I love,” she adds. This year, Drogobetsky finds that clients are spending more time outdoors, emphasizing the need to carve out these living spaces. She concludes, “With interior design trends really pushing outdoor living, the idea of the ‘perfect outdoor living room’ is very popular.”
Eden sectional sofa
Manutti Torso coffee table, Casa Design, casadesigngroup.com