The Manscapers Team Shares Easy Upgrades for Your Outdoor Space, No Matter Where You Live

Pat J. Fraley

No matter where you live right now, outdoor space is precious. And if you live in a city like New York, it’s an easy assumption that whatever kind of “yard” or fresh-air space you have, you’re doing your best to maximize time spent there. For the exterior design and high-end […]

No matter where you live right now, outdoor space is precious. And if you live in a city like New York, it’s an easy assumption that whatever kind of “yard” or fresh-air space you have, you’re doing your best to maximize time spent there. For the exterior design and high-end landscaping firm Manscapers, outdoor space has always been incredibly important. The team believes that when we’re able to utilize what we have in the smartest ways possible, our happiness increases.

So when we got the chance to talk to the three best friends and business partners who make up the Manscapers team—Mel Brasier, Garrett Magee, and James DeSantis—it was the perfect opportunity to dig in to what takes an outdoor space to the next level. Plus, the team recently premiered the second season of its series, Backyard Envy, which showcases outdoor beautification projects, from a Japanese garden for an ultramodern home to a Tuscan-themed backyard in the middle of New Jersey. 

Check out Mel’s and James’s own outdoor spaces and let them inspire your own backyard oasis. 

Mel’s lush, green sanctuary in New York

<div class="caption"> Mel’s backyard is primarily composed of concrete and surrounded by brick, but she wanted the space to be lush. So her main objective was to use variations of greenery and textures to play off the hard textures. </div> <cite class="credit">Photography: Dane Tashima</cite>

Mel’s backyard is primarily composed of concrete and surrounded by brick, but she wanted the space to be lush. So her main objective was to use variations of greenery and textures to play off the hard textures.

Photography: Dane Tashima

<div class="caption"> Mel also recommends getting pots in a variety of sizes to add visual interest. Garrett and James claim that Mel is always quick to nab the “leftovers” from projects to use in her own backyard. </div> <cite class="credit">Photography: Dane Tashima</cite>

Mel also recommends getting pots in a variety of sizes to add visual interest. Garrett and James claim that Mel is always quick to nab the “leftovers” from projects to use in her own backyard.

Photography: Dane Tashima

<div class="caption"> If you can’t do a major update, add plants in gradually: It can be easier on the plants and your wallet to add greenery through the seasons. “We recommend not just using deciduous plants,” says Garrett, who advises on finding a variety of plants that thrive in different months; he likes using <a href="https://shop.arborday.org/witchhazel" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:witch hazel" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">witch hazel</a>, which flowers in February. </div> <cite class="credit">Photography: Dane Tashima</cite>
If you can’t do a major update, add plants in gradually: It can be easier on the plants and your wallet to add greenery through the seasons. “We recommend not just using deciduous plants,” says Garrett, who advises on finding a variety of plants that thrive in different months; he likes using witch hazel, which flowers in February.

Photography: Dane Tashima

<div class="caption"> As far as outdoor furniture goes, some of Mel’s go-to stores are <a href="https://www.serenaandlily.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Serena & Lily" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Serena & Lily</a>, <a href="https://www.shopterrain.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Terrain" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Terrain</a>, <a href="https://www.westelm.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:West Elm" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">West Elm</a>, and <a href="https://www.restorationhardware.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Restoration Hardware" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Restoration Hardware</a>. She also says shopping at flea markets and picking out some vintage elements are great ways to have a moment of unexpected fun. </div> <cite class="credit">Photography: Dane Tashima</cite>
As far as outdoor furniture goes, some of Mel’s go-to stores are Serena & Lily, Terrain, West Elm, and Restoration Hardware. She also says shopping at flea markets and picking out some vintage elements are great ways to have a moment of unexpected fun.

Photography: Dane Tashima

James’s desert paradise in Los Angeles

<div class="caption"> James describes the initial state of his yard as a super muddy dirt pit. Refinishing the space with huge pavers and large-scale rock hardscaping created the major refresh. The team wanted to make sure the space fits its location and kept the West Coast vibes with various shades of tan and lots of <a href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/best-indoor-cacti?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:cacti" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">cacti</a> and succulents. </div> <cite class="credit">Photography: Michael Clifford</cite>
James describes the initial state of his yard as a super muddy dirt pit. Refinishing the space with huge pavers and large-scale rock hardscaping created the major refresh. The team wanted to make sure the space fits its location and kept the West Coast vibes with various shades of tan and lots of cacti and succulents.

Photography: Michael Clifford

<div class="caption"> An important question the team asks during a client consultation: If you can’t be outside, what do you see from inside? “We study the client’s interior to see the views into the outdoors,” says Mel. It’s a great idea to consider what your windows frame outside. </div> <cite class="credit">Photography: Michael Clifford</cite>

An important question the team asks during a client consultation: If you can’t be outside, what do you see from inside? “We study the client’s interior to see the views into the outdoors,” says Mel. It’s a great idea to consider what your windows frame outside.

Photography: Michael Clifford

<div class="caption"> With James moving to Los Angeles, the team got the chance to break from their usual East Coast designs. “L.A. helped us try some warmer, more tropical ideas,” says James. This green-tiled indoor/outdoor space is great for storing plants and even doing some indoor watering. </div> <cite class="credit">Photography: Michael Clifford</cite>

With James moving to Los Angeles, the team got the chance to break from their usual East Coast designs. “L.A. helped us try some warmer, more tropical ideas,” says James. This green-tiled indoor/outdoor space is great for storing plants and even doing some indoor watering.

Photography: Michael Clifford

<div class="caption"> Through the pandemic, the team has seen a major draw from clients to design really great home office spaces, which has given the Manscapers a good chance to practice what they preach: meeting customers outside, staying safe, and showing off just what they’re capable of. “Our own homes become showrooms for our work,” adds James. </div> <cite class="credit">Photography: Michael Clifford</cite>

Through the pandemic, the team has seen a major draw from clients to design really great home office spaces, which has given the Manscapers a good chance to practice what they preach: meeting customers outside, staying safe, and showing off just what they’re capable of. “Our own homes become showrooms for our work,” adds James.

Photography: Michael Clifford

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

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