Love of Entertaining Leads to a New Backyard

By Sarah Finazzo

April 23, 2021

When Chicagoland blogger, Nicole Regan of Cedars & Rush embarked on updating her backyard, she didn’t realize the importance of having a landscape plan. While she’s the ultimate pro at creating a breathtaking tablescape, hosting a fabulous cocktail party, organizing a home, and so much more… Like many of us, landscape design was a completely new territory. 

Keeping in mind Nicole’s priorities of maximizing her space and her love of entertaining, her designer came up with a fantastic plan that she and her husband can execute at their own pace! Read more about Nicole’s experience with Tilly below — and learn some fun hosting tips for your next party. 

 

A Client Review: Nicole Regan & Having a Landscape Plan 

Why did you decide to use Tilly? 

My husband is BIG on projects that increase home value. We knew there was a huge opportunity to expand on our outdoor living space. Since curb appeal is a smart investment and Tilly saves you a lot of money in the design, it just made sense! 

I had first heard about Tilly a few years ago and thought the ease and cost effectiveness was genius. 

 

What was the process like? 

Easy breezy, professional and FUN. As a business owner and mom, I appreciate a streamlined and effective process. Their process saves you time and gets you your desired outcome fast. 

You can tell Tilly has done their homework and knows exactly how to lay the groundwork upfront – which ensures you will LOVE the outcome.

What did you think about the design process being remote? 

Considering we took this project on in the throws of COVID – I didn’t bat an eye. 

Now having gone through the whole process, I actually can’t believe the level of detail and sophistication achieved remotely. You’d think Tilly had spent the weekend at your house! 

I also think having to do it remotely forces YOU to sit down and really think about what YOU want and the issues at hand. Versus if someone were coming to my house, I wouldn’t have taken the time to plan and access our needs. I know I would have forgotten so many things and just flown by the seat of my pants.

Have you had any previous experience with landscape companies? How did this compare? 

We received a quote for landscaping the year prior but the sticker shock for just a few plants delayed us from moving forward. After doing some DIY planting it became very apparent we needed a plan.

Tilly’s pricing plus actually getting to see 3D renderings of your plans doesn’t hold a candle to past experiences.

What did you think of your final plan? 

GORGEOUS! And hands down the most exciting part. It felt like Christmas morning opening up the layout and seeing our design for the first time. I still can’t get over the 3D imagery.

How and when do you plan to install your design? 

We’ve actually already started! I just ordered 6 large planters as suggested in our plan. 

As far as planting goes, that’s in Mother Nature’s hands and we plan to implement the design in phases over the next few years. 

The nice thing about having a plan is it’s easy to prioritize what parts you want to start with right away. Before we were always hemming and hawwing since we didn’t know what to do or what plants work where.

Tell us about Cedars & Rush? 

Cedar & Rush is a lifestyle blog that focuses on elegant and practical tips that articulate volumes about your style beyond your wardrobe.

I truly believe how you serve a glass of wine {and what kind}, wrap a gift, decorate your home, arrange a cheese board and especially those small gestures of kindness can leave a more profound impression than the handbag you carry.

We know you love to entertain (when it can be done safely)! Now that it’s getting warmer and people can gather outside, what are some fun outdoor entertaining tips for this spring? 

I sure do! And I can’t wait to start doing it AGAIN. 

I think one important thing to remember is that you can go all out when entertaining just one or two people! I also find it easier. Some fun ideas are individual cheeseboards (versus one big one – and it’s more COVID friendly too!). 

Save time and money by letting your wine double as decor (here are my top 11 rosé’s with the prettiest labels). And my favorite tip of all when entertaining outside…you’ve got to have FLOW.

We love your decor style, do you have any tips for styling an outdoor table? 

Oh my goodness I LOVE a great outdoor tablescape! A few tried and trues – 

  1. Printed menus and place cards {even if you’re just ordering pizza} can really take your dinner party up a notch! 
  2. Set your table the night before {this saves so much time the day of and you hands down get a more layered look the more time you invest in it! I actually cover mine with a blanket or tablecloth over night}. 
  3. A colorful, printed tablecloth works wonders

 

What are some of your favorite things to do outside in Chicago in the spring? 

There are SO many! The winning formula I’ve found is combining something to do with something to eat. Here are a few of my favorite combos.

  • Architectural River Cruise + Lunch at The Purple Pig – One of the most beautiful ways to see the city and the stories behind every building are surprisingly fascinating. The Purple Pig is conveniently located right off Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River, giving you direct access to the river boats! This wine and cheese spot has been rated #1 in the USA.
  • Shopping Along The Magnificent Mile + Lunch at Ralph Lauren – Some of the best shopping in the world. After a long day of shopping, you can’t go wrong with RL’s famous hamburger + french fries. They always have heaters outside on a nice day and it’s just fabulous! If it’s cold, request the table in front of the fireplace 🙂
  • Pack a picnic and spend the day at The Morton Arboretum – outside of Chicago but worth the drive! I do this with Penelope all the time and she loves the Children’s Garden – which is absolutely magical.
  • A cupcake out of Sprinkle’s Cupcake ATM is a MUST – then hit up any of the restaurants and shops along Rush + Oak Street. Barney’s, Fig & Olive, Maple & Ash, Le Colonial and any of the stores are a home run.
  • Lincoln Park Zoo – Weather permitting, grab a bite/drink at the J. Parker rooftop afterwards (top floor of The Lincoln Hotel) for an aerial view of Lincoln Park. 

If you liked learning more about Nicole’s experience with Tilly, check out some of our other client reviews here.

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