The Great Outdoors

Wide Open Spaces: Backyard Retreats


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When ANDIE and PHILLIP REID want to escape the bustle and tensions of the world, they need go no further than their backyard.

The couple has created three outdoor living spaces, plus an outdoor shower, in their 60-by-120-foot backyard, and that’s where they go to unwind as well as en­tertain family and friends. In short, the Reids’ backyard has become their private oasis.

“The climate in Wilmington is so con­ducive to outdoor living,” Andie Reid says. “We had a big yard, and it seemed like the natural thing to do.”

The Reids are like many homeowners in the Cape Fear region who over the past year logged more hours relaxing and en­tertaining outside during the pandemic.

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“Mostly people are really nest­ing; they’re vacationing at home,” says SCOTT HINSON, owner of Low Coun­try Landscaping, which has worked on a number of outdoor living space projects in the past year.

Hinson, who started the company in 2000 and specializes in poolscapes, has been taking on requests for glammed-up firepits, water-and-fire features, and pa­vilions that create a sense of an outdoor room in the backyard.

Resort vibe has been the overarching trend this past year.

Outdoor kitchens, Hinson says, are another area that has taken off in recent years.

“It’s definitely become more popu­lar. More of the components are not as expensive as they initially were ten years ago, twelve years ago,” he says, pointing to the increase in stainless steel grill manu­facturers as one reason why.


Photo c/o Low Country Landscaping


Photo c/o Low Country Landscaping

For the Reids, the renovation of their 23rd Street home’s outdoor space is a la­bor of love. Over fifteen years, the couple took on one project after another, doing all the work themselves except for the sun patio, until they created a yard they use and enjoy.

Throughout the process, the Reids took advantage of their yard’s mature foliage to guide landscaping and pro­vide natural boundaries. As a result, each outdoor living area is distinct and feels as if it is an integral part of the en­vironment.

For example, the dining pavilion – the Reids’ preferred eating spot – is sur­rounded by lush foliage. Chinese fringe flowers, gardenias, azaleas, and a mag­nolia tree give the space a warm, island ambiance; and the clear roofing keeps the pavilion dry but open and airy. A ta­ble for six invites family and friends to join the Reids for a casual meal as well as for special dinners.

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The outdoor patio, which is filled with a comfortable sofa and two easy chairs, is a favorite place to read or sim­ply gaze into the interlocking sweetgum and red maple tree branches above and watch wildlife – birds, bees, and butter­flies – at work and play.

The space has a 5-foot gas fireplace with an adjustable flame, keeping the area toasty on cooler days. In the sum­mer, the fireplace is easily replaced with a coffee table.

The three-tiered sun patio is anoth­er prime area for the Reids and their guests. While soaking up the sun’s rays, sunbathers can enjoy a fountain’s bur­bling, dancing water. Across from the patio is a small pond, made of large riv­er boulders and slate, that’s graced with water lilies in the summer months.

Not to be forgotten is the roomy, 6-by-12-foot outdoor shower with a natural gray slate backsplash. It gives a resort-like touch to the Reids’ outdoor living area that is appreciated by both family and guests.


Photos c/o Low Country Landscaping

To further enhance their outdoor living areas, the Reids wired their en­tire backyard for sound and installed oil torches and electric lights so the yard’s lit at night. For easy navigation, the Re­ids also connected each outdoor section with a slated or pebbled pathway. An­other essential addition is the privacy fence – a feature that turns the Reids’ outdoor living space into a personal urban paradise, according to Phillip Reid.

The Reids have found that their out­door living areas have greatly expanded their living space – Phillip Reid says their home feels three times larger with these outdoor living areas. But, the Reids say, the biggest advantage to having outdoor living spaces is the pleasure they get out of being in an exquisite outdoor envi­ronment throughout the year.

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Editor Vicky Janowski contributed to this story.

To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to

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Categories: Features