A Multi-Purpose Backyard

May 11, 2022

An impressive backyard outside of Boston is the perfect place for gatherings both large and small.

Text by Alyssa Bird    Photography by Michael J. Lee

For a Weston, Massachusetts, couple with three small children, a dog, and a penchant for entertaining, an outdoor oasis with all the bells and whistles was nonnegotiable. So, after renovating the interior of their classic Shingle-style home with the help of designer Rachel Reider, the homeowners embarked on phase two of the project: redeveloping the property to include a pool, a pool pavilion, an outdoor kitchen, a spa, an outdoor shower, and a new full bath in the gut-renovated basement that connects to the backyard.

To bring phase two to fruition, Reider was joined by architect Kevin ten Brinke and landscape architecture firm Sudbury Design Group. The heart of the outdoor area is the pool pavilion, which serves as a second family room with its cozy heated sitting area, a fireplace, and a television. “By adding a bathroom to the basement, we were able to maintain an open pool pavilion without any enclosed spaces,” explains ten Brinke. “We incorporated columns, a copper roof, and Douglas fir beams—which all appear on the main house—to make the pool pavilion feel like it has always been there.” Adjacent to the sitting area, beneath a pergola, sits an outdoor kitchen complete with a smoker and a pizza oven.

Sudbury Design Group was instrumental in the overall planning of the site, factoring into the equation the homeowners’ penchant for hosting large events that occasionally require space for a dance floor, extensive lighting, and audio. With a palette of materials that includes granite, bluestone, and ipe, along with a mix of colorful blooms, boxwoods, and grasses, the firm devised a scheme in which the various spaces feel cohesive yet private. “The backyard functions as a series of rooms, with the plantings serving as room separators,” explains Scot Indermuehle, a senior project manager at Sudbury Design Group. “You can see from one area to another, but each space is its own.” The firm’s owner, Michael Coutu, adds, “The architecture and hardscape are very strong elements, so it was important that the softscape complement those things while providing pops of color.”

Aside from helping with material selection, Reider furnished each space in keeping with the rest of the home. “This is a classic-looking house, but the clients’ taste is more modern,” says the designer. “We used contemporary pieces, durable materials, organic elements, and lots of texture to create a layered, elevated style.”

Project Team 
Interior design: Rachel Reider, Rachel Reider Interiors
Architecture: Kevin ten Brinke, KT2 Design Group
Landscape design: Michael Coutu, Scot Indermuehle, Sudbury Design Group
Builder: Coda Home

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