A Phelps Grove Oasis
John and Cindy Whitla’s outdoor renovation project first began in 2005. The couple, on the hunt for more space, found the perfect Phelps Grove home, but, while the house showed potential, it also came with its fair share of issues. “It wasn’t in the greatest shape,” Cindy says. “It needed some TLC, especially the backyard.” With a dilapidated wooden deck, a poorly placed pergola, an uneven landscape and a damaged pine tree being just the start of their problems, the Whitlas had their work cut out for them.
Inspired by the laid-back courtyards of New Orleans, a favorite getaway spot for the couple, Cindy and John designed their backyard around a large brick patio to accommodate everything from unwinding after a long day to entertaining guests during their intimate backyard wedding. “Besides getting married, we’ve had a lot of fun parties [in the backyard],” Cindy says. “It’s nice and quiet and private; it’s very relaxing.”
After leveling the yard and installing the hardscapes, the couple worked with Wickman’s Garden Village to create a landscape design that accentuated the cozy setting of the space with large raised flowerbeds and trees to border the perimeter of the yard. For the final look, the couple entrusted Joan Nutting from Maschino’s to outfit the patio with the right furniture to fit the space. Along with comfortable seating, Nutting also incorporated two urn fire pits to bring warmth to the area and a string of twinkling lights to complete the courtyard setting.
Ultimately, the Whitlas credit the collaboration with professionals as the key to their backyard’s success. “One of the things that's going to give you more peace of mind is finding people that you feel really comfortable working with,” John says. “You have to find somebody that’s compatible with how you think about things, because no matter how much money you spend, it’s going to be a lot of money to you. You want to feel like that money is well spent and well invested.”