Backyard Beauty

Garden designer Peter Falkner pulled out all the stops in this garden by creating a series of outdoor rooms for backyard bliss at every turn.

Warm Welcome: To guide family and friends to the backyard from the parking area, Peter installed a “Selma Brown” pea gravel allée with striking large pots of elegant boxwoods to draw the eye in. Reclaimed brick from an old nearby general store borders the gravel path with its elegant circular punctuations. The boxwoods nod to English-style gardens, a favorite of the homeowners. Photography by Jean Allsopp

If there was ever a time for a fantastic outdoor setup at home, this is it. During the pandemic, people have been flocking to porches, front yards, and backyards while dreaming of creating something extra special like this garden space that truly delivers on every front.

Garden designer Peter Falkner took a completely blank canvas and transformed it into a multi-purpose, magical place. His clients, Lindsey and Doug Hene, had previously experienced a house fire and had stayed at a place with a pool while rebuilding their home. After that, the couple agreed they also needed a pool. And when they decided to go all in to include a structured garden and outdoor living spaces on their sizeable property, they called on Peter who is a relative of Lindsey’s.

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“We live on two-and-a-half acres in Milton, Georgia, and we had really done nothing in the back. There was a little bit of green which we called ‘volunteer’ grass,” laughs Lindsey. “We wanted to be able to live outside, and I wanted a more formal space with a nod to English gardens.”  

“We approached the backyard much like a floor plan by creating spaces for various activities,” says Peter. “Then we included user-friendly and attractive transitional spaces to guide you around the garden to the dining terrace, swimming pool, and other areas.” And since Lindsey is an interior designer (a partner in Elle and Vreeland Design House), Peter made sure that the outside structures take cues from the beautiful interiors she has created, unifying the whole in a beautiful and welcoming presentation.

Pretty and practical transitions seamlessly connect various parts of the garden. The pea gravel path ends in a large circle where the dining terrace resides. From there, pavers take a page from a parterre garden, leading to the entertainment pavilion or the pool. The plan also integrates a full outdoor kitchen. Locating the entertaining area away from the house and closer to the pool makes it easily accessible for all in the water and those lounging nearby—a win-win for friends of the couple’s two teenagers, as well as for adult guests.

Garden design and construction: Peter Falkner, Falkner Gardens, 205.447.1069,; Design participation by interior designer Lindsey Hene of Elle and Vreeland Design House, 470.709.4146, Outdoor kitchen builder: Daniel Harper of Renew Properties LLC, 404.435.0644,

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