When New York Times food editor Sarah Copeland and her husband Andras Gipp, a bespoke furniture designer and the creative behind Hudson Workshop, moved into their 1880’s farmhouse in the historic Hudson Valley hamlet of Hurley, New York, the yard didn’t easily lend itself to the outdoor living the family sought.
“Our yard was sloped, uneven, completely weed infested with only a few mature trees and zero landscaping plan,”said Copeland.
Before turning to Yardzen the family spent nearly a decade tackling the outdoor space project-by-project as their young kids grew, but the piecemeal approach meant the space lacked a cohesive point of view.
“We had done so much work by hand, year after year, and taken it as far as we could on our own,” she said. “Over the years, we tackled the weeds, planted fruit trees, built a raised garden, patched up ditches and holes, planted grass, and built a blue-stone patio. But we knew there was more we could do to make it feel more polished and pulled together.”
Copeland, a four-time cookbook author, chose Yardzen to design her Hudson Valley landscaping that would help her family realize their dream of a yard that allows for intimate gatherings that inspire and enrich—a flower-studded birthday party, a sauna night with dear friends and summer tables filled with their dearest friends. “Entertaining and hosting dear friends and family are a huge priority for us,” she said.
As a creative herself, she came to the Yardzen process with lots of direction for her designer around both function and form for the family yard, specifically a desire to make sure it felt true to the uniqueness of the upstate mountain location, about 90 miles north of New York City. “We wanted a blend of chic and polished while maintaining some of the wildness that characterizes our region in the Catskills. It couldn’t feel too ‘done,’” said said. “But we also wanted it to reflect the craftsmanship and work we both do as designers, and entrepreneurs–and the extensive work we’d already put into the property.”
For Copeland, the Yardzen process was delightful and helped her, together with Gipp, narrow in on a plan that maximized use of the entire space and let them look forward to how their needs might shift as their kids grow. And establish a focal point that exudes both history and charm: a 300 year-old blacksmith barn in the back half other property. “It’s the crown jewel of our property,” she said. “We wanted to highlight it and turn it into the epicenter of our yard.”
Copeland’s Yardzen yard includes a formal fire pit, a full outdoor kitchen, a sauna add-on to the barn, as well as a full greenhouse. “With every step of the design we were asking ourselves–how long can we stay here, and can this property grow with us as our kids age out of playgrounds and splash pools?” she said.
Copeland pays compliment to her Yardzen design team and the way they helped her see her yard’s potential in a new, inspiring light, and make more use of the space than she could have imagined. All the while staying mindful of costs and conserving where possible. Her family is already living outside the way she imagined when she first came to Yardzen.
“Yardzen showed us that every inch of our yard could be finished in a beautiful, usable way, without astronomical costs, and transform our backyard from a place we were happy to live in until our kids got a little older, to somewhere we now see ourselves staying in and hosting friends and family for many years to come,” said Copeland.” she said. “Sometimes when we have friends or guests for dinner, there’s a moment for a meal, a splash in the plunge pool, kids playing games in the middle of the garden, a bonfire and a sauna–all in one night in different zones of the yard. It feels like a mini vacation, without ever leaving home.”
“If we’d used Yardzen when we bought our house 10 years ago, they probably would have saved us time and advised us to level the whole yard and property first, before doing so many plantings, and we wouldn’t have constantly been working backward–over our own progress at times,” she continued. “But, no regrets–because the finished project reflects both the softness and lived-in feel of a yard that gained maturity over time, with the polish that only a professional eye can lend.”
START DESIGNING YOUR NEW YARD
Yardzen’s award-winning online landscaping design experience is tailored to clients across all fifty states in the U.S., from the Hudson Valley to Hawaii. Our design process begins with understanding your space, your aesthetic preferences, and a discussion of your budget and vision to minimize surprises when it comes time to build.
Our top-notch designers then develop a personalized vision for your yard, shared through 3D renderings, 2D plan drawings, and plant and material lists. Your design will capture the look, feel, and function you are hoping for, all while keeping costs within range.
Once your design is complete, we’ll help you connect with a local contractor from our Pro Network of vetted professional landscapers to install your new design.