In Murray, a summer fête captures the splendor of a reimagined and sustainable yard. Landscape designer Daryl Lindsey dives into planning a garden party like the pros.

Daryl Lindsey wants you to think about your yard differently. Totally differently.

That fence-to-fence lawn in need of weekly mowing and thirsty for hundreds of dollars worth of water each month could become an outdoor kitchen, dining room or  cozy reading nook surrounded by native plants, grasses and flowers.

“Reimagine your yard as a floor plan, the same way you would look at a floor plan of your house,” says Lindsey, who founded sustainable landscape design company last fall. “Think about walking out of your home into the next room—an outdoor kitchen area where you’ll use the smoker for a pizza night, and then beyond that is the patio dining area, followed by a more casual living room where you’ll lounge with a glass of wine or a spritz and talk about life with friends.”

This approach shifts the mindset on a yard, allowing for it to expand the home’s square footage through an outdoor wing. For Lindsey, on a warm Sunday evening last September, her extended floor plan transformed into a garden party that celebrated not only the magic in her own Murray yard but brought together an impressive group of locals to showcase an ecosystem of entertaining planned—quite literally—from the ground up.

“I wanted to celebrate the backyard garden in this beautifully connected way,” says Lindsey, who worked with a team of local food and beverage professionals, farmers market vendors, musicians and artists to host a truly farm-to-table experience for an eclectic group of friends, old and new.

The idea for planning a garden party sprouted when Lindsey worked in luxury hotel marketing with Kristin Ludke, a long-time catering and events manager. Together, the duo crafted a night—complete with cocktail hour, live music and a four-course meal—showcasing the most local-of-local dining.

“The chefs asked me, ‘what do you have growing right now?’ They planned the entire menu from what was in my garden,” Lindsey says. “So guests got to eat things that were harvested 10 feet away from them, six hours before it was plated.”

Chefs Mark Felder of Red Maple Catering and Thomas Roeker took a peek at Lindsey’s garden—a half dozen or so beds full of herbs, fruits and vegetables—and developed a menu to serve alongside French wines selected by sommelier Dave Wallace and locally distilled white peach nigori from Tsuki Sake. Days before, Lindsey and Ludke walked the Salt Lake Farmers’ Market, sourcing lamb loin for the main course. There, they also met bluegrass band Mars Highway, whom they recruited to play during cocktail hour. Drinks included an all-local selection of spirits with Beehive Gin and Five Wives Vodka garnished with rosemary and lemon basil plucked just steps from the garden shed-turned-bar.

While guests savored gazpacho, basil-champagne sorbet, lamb and rye risotto, and a honey buttermilk semifreddo, twinkle lights sparkled over a tablescape showcasing the work of Native Flower Company’s Pam Olsen. The arrangements overflowed with native yarrow, aster, sunflowers, silvery lupine and Indian paintbrush complemented by cosmos, coneflower, chamomile, feverfew, zinnias and statice. “It really symbolized the celebration of a sustainable garden,” Lindsey says. “Not only were the flowers I grew pretty, but they were native plants supporting the biodiversity of our urban environment by creating a space for bees, butterflies and birds. That’s kind of fabulous.”

Photo by Jackelin Slack

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