An insider’s guide to creating garden rooms perfect for entertaining

Some outdoor inspiration before you start throwing parties this summer

1340
Outdoor rooms

Photograph by John E. McDonald

Parterre Party
When Carey Pickard and Chris Howard throw a party—which is often—guests spill across nearly an acre of garden rooms behind their Macon home, a mid-19th-century waterworks structure. After buying the historic building in 2001, the sociable couple transformed the empty yard into a wonderland of foxgloves, hydrangeas, and boxwoods. They’ve since hosted seven weddings there (including their own). The eight outdoor seating areas include a dining room, a camellia garden, a cutting garden, a parterre garden, and a rondel inspired by one at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, England. The focal point is the 60-inch urn from Scott Antique Markets, which erupts with annuals each year. “They found the urn in Belgium in an abandoned park,” says Carey. “We’ve added a table, chairs, benches, and pots to make it the center of the garden and the main area for parties.”

Outdoor rooms
The charming old waterworks building befits a garden filled with ties to the past. But only two trees predated homeowners Carey Pickard, who works at Cox Communications, and Chris Howard, a partner at a fundraising company.

Photograph by John E. McDonald

Outdoor rooms
Rounded American boxwoods frame the slate stairs, which were added by Pickard Tile, Carey’s father’s company. White columns in the rear of the garden are from his great-great-grandfather’s home.

Photograph by John E. McDonald

Outdoor rooms
To create a hardscaped area for entertaining, Pickard and Howard made a patio floor with crushed brick. The 60-inch urn takes center stage.

Photograph by John E. McDonald

Outdoor rooms
Foxgloves start blooming in April in Macon, which has a slightly warmer growing climate than Atlanta. These tall, tubular flowers are a favorite to plant in the parterre garden; Atlanta garden designer Alex Smith of Alex Smith Garden Design chooses varieties from the Camelot series.

Photograph by John E. McDonald

“We used to be boxwood snobs,” says Chris, “and, for years, preferred the slow-growing American or English versions, but we used Korean boxwood ‘Wintergreen’ for the parterre and have been thrilled with them.” —Lisa Mowry

Outdoor rooms
An iron canopy supported by old brick pillars creates a romantic dining area tucked away in the side garden.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Living Art
The Druid Hills garden of Drs. Ann and Frank Critz has been 42 years in the making, a living museum with ever-changing exhibits. Its latest curator, the Critzes’ son, John Critz of Tilting Windmill Landscape Design, grew up with its stories.

Sweeping beds of annuals and perennials line a circular driveway in front of the Tudor-style home, which the Critzes purchased in 1976. Built in 1921, the house was rich in history—golf legend Bobby Jones was married there in what was then the bride’s home—but poor on curb appeal. “It wasn’t much—just weeds with a huge oak on one side and a holly out front,” Frank says. “But the garden just grew and grew over time, mainly because of Ann’s passion.”

Outdoor rooms
When the Critz family first bought the house in 1976, to soften what felt like an imposing facade, Frank spent hours in the basement building window boxes for every window. Most have since been replaced at least once because they’re continually spilling over with annuals. These overlook a terrace perfect for large dinner parties.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Outdoor rooms
A pebbled path and scrolling boxwood hedge lead to a pergola and swinging daybed nestled in the trees in the farthest corner of the garden.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

Now, the grounds feature a series of rooms, including terraces, a cozy nook around a fireplace, a playhouse for grandchildren, and lots of serene sitting areas for kicking back and taking in the lush scene, created with help from designer David McMullin of New Moon Gardens. There’s a white garden brimming with floppy Annabelle hydrangeas and variegated Japanese maples and Julianna’s Secret Garden, a whimsical, brick-walled garden that Frank Critz built in honor of their daughter in 1988.

The Critzes’ annual display of tens of thousands of tulips and other bulbs has made it known as “the Tulip House.” A welcome sign invites guests.

Outdoor rooms
A playhouse for the grandchildren adds to the magical, storybook vibe of the garden. Its window boxes mimic those of the main house.

Photograph by Christina Wedge

“We get busloads of people pulling up out front,” says John. “It’s just something we really enjoy sharing as a family.” —Danny C. Flanders

Lovely lounging
Outdoor daybeds allow for dozing al fresco

Outdoor rooms

Photograph courtesy of vendor

Dedon Swingrest hanging lounger, price upon request, ADAC, kolocollection.com

Outdoor rooms

Photograph courtesy of vendor

Serena & Lily Capistrano outdoor daybed, $2,498, Westside Provisions District

Outdoor rooms

Photograph courtesy of vendor

Janus et Cie Arbor daybed round, price upon request, ADAC West

Outdoor rooms

Photograph courtesy of vendor

Ballard Designs Sunday daybed swing, $1,899, 1235 Chattahoochee Avenue

Outdoor rooms

Photograph courtesy of vendor

Frontgate Arlo daybed, $2,499, Phipps Plaza

Cafe Chic
Modern and classic bistro chairs for the patio

Outdoor rooms

Photograph courtesy of vendor

Miles Redd Bermuda rope chair, $999, Ballard Designs

Outdoor rooms

Photograph courtesy of vendor

Atlanta Teak chair, $574, 2344 Chamblee Tucker Road

Outdoor rooms

Photograph courtesy of vendor

Fermob The Louvre, $314

Outdoor rooms

Photograph courtesy of vendor

Cane-line Copenhagen chair, $365

Resources
Garden design: John Critz, Tilting Windmill Landscape Design, tiltingwindmill.com; David McMullin, New Moon Gardens, verygoodplants.com

This article appears in our Summer 2019 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

Advertisement