Date: September 12, 2022 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Steph Smith |
Designer Casey Roark sets the scene for all things autumn in a Fayetteville backyard
Twenty years ago Casey Roark started her Northwest Arkansas design business doing While You Were Out-style bedroom makeovers. That quickly led to full-scale renovations and new-construction builds via word of mouth. However, she still has a great appreciation for the small things—namely, live plants and seasonal décor. “Seasonal design allows me to get creative. It’s fun to step away from the day-to-day and use things that are fresh,” the designer says, noting her love of gardening at her own home.
For her friends Leigh Ann and Jason Pleimann, she turned her attention to an outdoor gathering space. “When we’re at their house, this is where we congregate,” Casey says, adding the couple often hosts game-day watch parties here. “Leigh Ann really wants to make things beautiful and elegant for everyone who comes to her house,” the designer says. “She has impeccable taste but is also very practical. When you walk into their home, it feels like you can sit down and have a cup of coffee and be cozy.” To translate this sense of hospitable charm to the outdoors, Casey added a comfortable sofa and lounge chairs to create a conversation area alongside an existing dining space, and then brought in all things autumn.
“For Leigh Ann, fall trumps Christmas,” Casey says. “She absolutely loves it, but she didn’t want the décor to be overdone or gaudy.” To this point, everything blends with the space’s furnishings and the exterior of the home. Loads of orange, white, and green pumpkins along with fall plantings fill the space, bringing the feel of a bountiful autumn garden to the backyard. “It’s such a beautiful time of year—especially in our area—and it brings me so much joy to do this,” Casey says of the end result.
IN WITH THE PLANTS
“Oftentimes, the outdoors are let go because people have put so much time, effort, and money into their build or reno. But you can really bring it to life with just a few seasonal pieces and plants,” Casey says, adding that Leigh Ann enjoys nurturing live plants and rotates them out for different colors and textures as the seasons change.
Seasonal design and plantings Casey Roark, Casey Roark Designs Plants and pots Westwood Gardens Outdoor furnishings Jack Wills