5 Ways to Turn Your Backyard Into the Ultimate Party Space


A good backyard can be better than Xanax. “Creating an open-air entertaining space after months of not seeing anyone in a pandemic really saved our sanity,” says Karin Gist, creator and executive producer of Our Kind of People (premiering on September 21 on FOX). Gist and her partner Claire Brown, also the show’s executive producer, enlisted the help of Michelle Fahmy, principal of L.A. design firm Haus of Meeshie, to transform their Palm Springs backyard into an oasis that doubles as a party hub.

“It was really important to us to have an outdoor space that wasn’t just a backyard, but a living space that could act like an escape,” Brown says. Fahmy took note and fused the outdoor “rooms” with the couple’s personalities—similar yet different, mixed with a splash of artistic flair. “We were really working on creating our own vibe,” Gist adds. “A vibe that felt like no one else could ever pull off.” The result: an Alice in Wonderland–esque charm with Old Hollywood roots. Get your own backyard party started with these tips.

A dull gray cinderblock wall partitioned the backyard from the neighbors, and it looked, well, awful. Gist and Brown wanted to awaken the backyard, and Fahmy suggested a checkered pattern inspired by the chess game in the topiary gardens of Alice in Wonderland to make it “whimsical and peculiar.” Not only does the contrasting motif reflect the black-and-white narrative in the interiors, but it adds depth to the entire space. “The wall is a backdrop for all the other items in the space to pop off of,” Fahmy says. “This creates a way to layer pattern on pattern.” Friends love it too, especially for snapping selfies. “It’s like we have our own [Instagrammable] Paul Smith wall,” Brown jokes.

The vintage bar cart across the pool that doubles as towel rack and cocktail trolley was only $125, but it needed love. Fahmy painted it neon yellow.

Hot pink and yellow are constantly sneaking up for delightful bouts of surprise—a tiered flamingo serving dish here, a florescent yellow bar cart there. “Brightly powder-coated accessories and vibrant throw pillows invite relaxation and put guests at ease,” Fahmy says. “It makes the space inviting rather than stuffy.” To spruce up the dining table, Fahmy opted for Portuguese multi-colored ceramic vases in lieu of real flowers as centerpieces (they tend to wilt quickly in the Palm Springs sun) to make the alfresco dining experience more charming. Colorful pool floaties exude nothing but fun.

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