Date: September 15, 2021 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek |
Autumn Entertaining: Designer Shayla Copas puts her signature spin on a casual backyard gathering
With the execution of two Arkansas governor’s inaugural balls and a book on entertaining under her belt, interior designer Shayla Copas has put her mark on the professional party planning scene. More often, however, she enjoys having loved ones over for smaller, casual gatherings at home—especially in the fall, when cooler weather invites everyone to gravitate outdoors. “The backyard has traditionally been an area we reserve for family events. It’s really more of an intimate space,” Shayla says.
Here, she created a tablescape incorporating some of her favorite seasonal accents while drawing from the aqua scheme of the outdoor area’s year-round palette. “I love hydrangeas, and with bringing in the blues to this palette, I wanted to include them by mixing them with the more autumn colors,” she says. “When we think of fall, we look to richer tones like burgundy and gold, but I think blue also has a place in fall; it’s a little more unexpected.” Read on for Shayla’s take on entertaining made easy.
5 Ways to Set the Scene
1 | Curate a Color Palette
Gold flatware, orange-tinged mercury glass, and rattan chargers bring classic fall tones to the tablescape, while pops of blue create contrast and tie the tablescape to the chair cushions and
2 | Go High and Low
A combination of low floral arrangements and a tall, slender centerpiece add to the ambience without inhibiting dinner table conversation. “I love the woodsy feel of those grasses, and the river rock gives it a casual flair while keeping it grounded,” Shayla says.
3 | Incorporate the Landscape
For an outdoor gathering, the landscape and seasonal plantings are integral to the décor. Ornamental cabbage, ‘Silver Frost’ artemisia, ivy, and pansies around ‘Northern White’ cedar trees in concrete planters carry throughout the area’s different zones.
4 | Keep It Cozy
A corner of Shayla’s outdoor living space features a firepit and four comfortable swivel chairs, perfect for pre-dinner drinks and appetizers. “I always make sure to have blankets available for guests to grab as needed, especially for a casual get-together like this.”
5 | Add Some Flavor
Batch cocktails are an easy way to serve a signature drink to a crowd. For this gathering, Shayla crafted an Orchard Fizz —named for the apple juice and cider that give the beverage a crisp autumn flavor. Visit athomearkansas.com/blog for the recipe for Shayla’s Orchard Fizz.