Project Reveal: Our Outdoor Terrace

September 26, 2020

Like the rest of the country (and world!) we have been spending a whole lotta time at home these days, and I am beyond thankful that it’s primarily been nice weather, allowing us to be outside on our terrace a good majority of the time. If the pandemic had hit during the winter, it would have been that much more difficult… though who knows what this fall and winter season may bring (fingers crossed!).

If you’ve followed along on Instagram and the blog, you will know we redid our front and backyard terrace last year. Since Cody is a Landscape Architect, he was thrilled to be able to finally have some space that he could design for our own personal enjoyment!

Anytime I post about our backyard on Instagram, I receive tons of DMs about different plants and furniture. So it’s due time for me to share all the details! I really wish we had professional photos, but we couldn’t sneak them in in time. Let’s go!

Landscape Design Plans

I may be biased, but Cody is an incredibly talented Landscape Architect. He’s a Partner at OJB | Landscape Architecture, running their East Coast office, working on large-scale projects, such as public parks, as well as hospitality, retail, and healthcare. All of this is to say that when it came to our home, I not only left the majority of the decisions up to Cody, but I also did so with the utmost confidence. Not only do I trust him, but we also tend to speak the same language when it comes to design and preferences.

And he’s a bit of a perfectionist and I’m OK with that (for the most part!) 😉

When we first moved in, our backyard had a large stamped concrete slab that almost looked like a large driveway, a few of the arborvitae (evergreen trees) you see in the photos, and stone walls, but that was about it. For more “before” pics, check out this older blog post right here.

Overall, it felt a bit cold, uninviting, and just not on par with our style and personalities. Here’s another before photo just so you can see what I’m talking about…

Landscape Design Plans
Landscape Design Plans
Landscape Design Plans

We knew we wanted plants and greenery, a little grass area for the kiddos, and for the space to look modern, put together, and most of all, welcoming! We love to host friends for outdoor gatherings and parties (when we could!), and we wanted them to feel as comfortable in our backyard as we do.

Our landscape team we hired removed several large sections of stamped concrete to make room for the planting and lawn areas, and laid a thin-set, large module concrete tile over the remaining original stamped concrete slab so that we still had a nice hardscape area for the kiddos to ride their scooters and such.

Then, they removed the curved portion of the stone wall and re-used those stones to add on to the wall on the other side of the stairs

We retained and added to the arborvitae hedges on both sides of the terrace to give an added sense of privacy, and installed a low-water, high-efficiency automatic drip irrigation system. 

Finally, Cody installed commercial grade string lights for a little ambiance at night. Obsessed with how it turned out!

Landscape Design Plans
This was almost right after we completed the space, so it’s filled in quite a bit since this photo, but it’s the only photo I have from above.

When it came to planting, we knew we wanted: hydrangeas (because they are one of my favorites) and lots of greenery and grasses. One of Cody’s tips for planting is to choose fewer varieties of plants and to repeat the same plant in larger quantities to make a visual impact.

Our Plants:

  • Large Heritage river birch trees 
  • Garden beds with sea green juniper
  • Bobo hydrangea
  • Tufted hair grass with white and purple sage
  • Periwinkle
Landscape Design Plans
Landscape Design Plans

We are beyond thrilled with how our back and front yard came together! We’re out in our beautiful space daily, from playtime with the kids to dinners al fresco on nice evenings. The space is functional, serving all our needs, but also so relaxing and therapeutic, which has been especially helpful considering the year we’ve all had. We hope to enjoy the backyard as long as possible (before the New England winter hits) so get ready for more photos to come on Instagram in the near future (the fall season adds an extra special glow as you can tell in some of the photos above)! Our next project is to add a built-in grill area – stay tuned!


It’s so beautiful! What type of arborvitae(?) is that behind the stone wall?

Thank you so much! It’s called green giant.