Traditional features blend with a contemporary palette for a delightful outdoor area

A PLACE ТО RELAX and to entertain were two top priorities when designer and landscape expert Chris Olsen set out to spruce up Jane and Ben Meade’s Fayetteville courtyard. «I wanted to compose a clean look with stately elegance,» he shares. «I really listen to the client and make sure the landscape is what they want and not just what I envision. Of course, I can he persuasive,» he adds with a chuckle.

The homes existing patio featured beautiful natural stonework and a charming outdoor fireplace, however it lacked personality. To create an equally chic and inviting space, Olsen packed a punch into the formerly minimalistic landscape and used a cheerful, contemporary palette of orange, Hack and ivory to add visual interest on the furnishings. «I love the big round chaise. Its crisscross ivory-and-orange design is bold and fashionable, yet so inviting,» shares Olsen. He searched for the perfect pieces of outdoor furniture to complement the space and in the end went with a custom design from Sunset Patio, a line he carries at his Little Rock shop, Botanica Gardens. Contemporary outdoor fabrics in a variety of prints add an air of whimsy to the aesthetic. «I always say that people need to think outside the box and do something that the neighbors are not doing,» says Olsen.

A diverse mix of vegetation also helps to bring both depth and contrast to the backyard space. «The plants flow in drifts of texture and color. White, orange and purple are the staple colors blended with various hues of green,» he explains. White Swan coneflowers, ‘Autumn Joy’ sedums, English boxwoods, a ‘Forest Pansy’ redbud and a sugar maple are just a few plants that embellish the cozy backyard. For an additional pop of color, the round stone beds are planted with a mix of Mexican zinnias and purple summer snapdragons, which both coordinate with the spaces color scheme.

Due to their often-limited width and natural placement, side yards have a tendency to become lost areas in many landscaping plans. Olsen, however, was determined to make good use of this space and also make it cohesive with the rest of the garden’s design. Classic metal obelisks, which Olsen found at Little Rock’s Marshall Clements, were just what he needed to add both height and visual interest. «Since the kitchen overlooks this area, I wanted to draw attention to the space rather than deter,» Olsen explains. The planters create a sculptural element in keeping with the backyard’s contemporary-meets-traditional feel and draw the eye upward. Greenery groupings coupled with colorful blooms provide a soft juxtaposition, while stepping stones invite guests to stroll the path.

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