On long weekends in the summer, instead of trekking to cottage country, you’ll find Lores and Robert Tomé already lounging poolside with a Pimm’s Cup in hand. “We would rather have a backyard oasis versus battling traffic to get out of the city for some R & R,” Lores says. To create the manicured “Club Tomé,” as the couple affectionately calls their well-appointed retreat, they enlisted landscape designer Meredyth Hilton of Artistic Gardens. See how she created the ideal escape that doesn’t require leaving the city, and get inspired to create your own backyard oasis.
When Meredyth first got her hands on the 4,200-square-foot backyard, it lacked privacy and was overgrown with an unruly English garden and fruit trees. She completely reworked the outdoor space, removing all the plantings, adding new expanses of grass, and a cabana and pool house that mimics the Cape Cod-style architecture of the main house.
The pool house is where guests can change, hang wet towels or store their bags, and where Lores and Robert stash away essential outdoor items when they’re not in use. Although boxwood can read traditional, it looks architectural when used as a border for flowering hydrangeas. “Boxwood hedging is nice because it’s very strong in shape, looks the same all year and has a modern edge to it,” says Meredyth.
The dining area, with its oversized umbrella, is one of the couple’s favorite spots in the backyard. It’s where they share tasty meals and some of Robert’s favorite bottles of wine with friends and family. Meredyth designed the marble and wrought-iron table to sit up to 12 people comfortably. “We live in such a fast-paced world and it’s so rewarding when you have the gift of time with the people who are near and dear to you,” says Lores.
Given how often they entertain, Lores and Robert decided to add a marble-topped wet bar to make cocktail- and meal-prep a breeze. It’s built on the covered back porch patio and includes a double sink and plenty of open shelves for storage. Baskets keep essentials organized and make it easy to carry items to other zones of the backyard.
In sunny backyards like this one, Meredyth encourages homeowners to have at least one shaded area. Here, the painted wood cabana offers reprieve from the heat and protection on rainy days. One of Meredyth’s design tricks is to add mirrors to an interior wall to create a sense of movement. “When there’s a breeze, the plants are reflected and the space takes on a shimmery feel,” she says.