Southern Summer Retreats

Story by Amanda Wells  |  Photos by James Patterson

Summer is in full swing and we’re spending ours outside, soaking up the sun, enjoying good company, good food and good times. Having the perfect spot to relax and fend off the summertime blues is key when it comes to enjoying a sizzling Southern summer.


For one busy family, the idea of an outdoor space where friends and family could gather was always on a to do list. When the time came, they called on the help of Steve Harrell of Outdoor Solutions. “They had lived in the home for nearly 20 years and even had a master plan drawn up once,” said Steve. “They love to entertain and the time was right.”

Top priorities were the construction of an outdoor kitchen and a place where they could grill and watch sports on television. “The owners are new empty nesters and they wanted a place where their kids would want to come home and bring all of their friends,” says Steve.

A sleek, elegant pool made of French gray gunite and outfitted with a tanning ledge and custom spa provides the perfect spot to enjoy summer days and nights. An existing pavilion was expanded and topped with cedar shingles, creating a spot for entertaining, relaxing and eating.

THE ENTIRE OUTDOOR AREA IS A PICTURE OF LUSTROUS SOPHISTICATION. Painted brick and shades of grays and whites flawlessly meld traditional and modern aspects.


Outdoor-areas_WEB6RESORT CHIC

Having a backyard that is a sought after destination is quite the feat. But, with the help of Anthony Ritter of Glo Design Studio, one family has achieved just that. The homeowners wanted their backyard to have a constant feel of a resort destination and Anthony set out to make their dreams a stylish reality.

“The homeowners wanted to create the feeling of a resort outside and to feel like they are on vacation at home,” explains Anthony. Having seen an all white pool on vacation, the family wanted to recreate it at home. The sleek pool was tiled with an iridescent glass tile usually reserved for smaller, indoor spaces. “Going all white and thinking outside of the box helped to create the end, breathtaking result they were going for,” says Anthony. Existing brick on the covered porch and landing was replaced with limestone, adding to the neutral color scheme.

Anthony helped the owners settle on pops of aqua and turquoise for an infusion of color. “The shades of blue really made the whole spot feel elegant,” says Anthony. “It really worked.” This infusion was accomplished through outdoor furniture, where a cast concrete dining table is accented by stools in a bright concrete and enamel finish. “This is a casual place for the family to gather and dine.” In the fringe entrance, a daybed handmade in North Carolina welcomes visitors to take a load off. The jolt of fuchsia adds a little something different to the serene space.

The whole space makes visitors, and the homeowners, alike feel like they are on holiday, with stunning views and beautiful surroundings.




When landscape architect Steve Harrell of Outdoor Solutions set out to make an outdoor area blend seamlessly with a Georgian style home, he was up for the challenge. “The homeowner wanted the house and the grounds to be a unified composition and the character- defining features to reinforce and support the classical references of the Georgian architecture,” explains Steve. “The interior of the home had been renovated extensively and it was time to do the same outside. We let the architecture of the home dictate the style outside.”


Approaching the home was anything but ceremonial, according to Steve. “The existing driveway provided access but lacked a sense of approach and progression. There was a very lengthy and narrow walk from the parking bay to the front of the house.” Steve went to work to enhance theOutdoor-areas_WEB8 arrival experience, modifying the driveway and out fitting it with lush, mature landscaping. The new paving hearkens back to days of estates with granite cobblestone carriage courtyards. Additionally, garden walls,
formal trees and lush plantings complement the architecture and also throw back to days gone by.

The home’s existing pool, in a shape that didn’t balance the home’s style, created another challenge. Steve had his work cut out for him to capture the “spirit of place” within his designs. His plan involved a complete pool renovation, where in turn it would become the major focal point for the courtyard. Steve utilized raised planters, fountains and bluestone and brick paving to give the illusion of a different shape and to create balance and order in the space.

Now, the outdoor space is just as stunning as the home itself, complete with evergreens, nuttall oaks, magnolias, Bosque elms, African irises and crepe myrtles.



Outdoor-areas_WEB9 When talented people get together, good things happen. Such was the case at when landscape designer Carter Brown of Ridgeland, Mississippi’s Martinson’s Garden Works joined forces with Mike Marler of Brandon-based Outdoor Solutions to create a perfect rustic retreat.

“At this home, there was an existing pool, but it was closed in by brick and an iron fence,” explains Mike. “We decided to really open it up and create a much better connection with the yard. We wanted people to be drawn outside from indoors.” Further efforts to infuse allure into the outdoor space of the home included the construction of a pool house, complete with an outdoor kitchen and bathroom. The outdoor kitchen is outfitted with granite countertops, cypress cabinets, an under counter refrigerator and a 30-inch Bull gas grill.

“We wanted the whole area to really compliment the existing house,” says Mike. Brick echoing that of the home was used to construct an outdoor fireplace and wooden arbors compliment the more traditional aspects of the home. With a homeowner that is an enthusiastic vegetable gardener, Mike had fun bringing in plants and a raised garden. “It’s important to get the right plants in the right place,” he says. “That’s where we come in.”

The team created a visual connection with the doors and windows of the home by adding French doors to the back of the house, hoping to draw the homeowners and their guests outside. “We really worked to create focal points outside that you can see from the inside,” says Mike. “We set out to create a destination.”