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Client Review: A Mediterranean Inspired Backyard in Denver

outdoor dining on a patio

We love getting to know more about our clients and Laura Murray is no exception! Laura started her career in information technology, but then left to pursue her passion for photography. Fast forward and today she’s been named a top wedding photographer by Brides & Martha Stewart and her images are breathtaking! She travels – literally the world – with brides and grooms to capture their special days. 

Laura recently purchased a new home that was in complete disrepair – the opposite of the glamorous weddings she is used to attending! After restoring the inside of her home, which you can follow her journey on her home Instagram – it was time to get started on the home exterior. While Laura had an overall vision, she had no idea how to tie her outdoor space together. She wanted to create a Mediterranean vibe to match her home exterior and have it make sense in her Denver community. 

After researching all her options, she turned to Tilly to help her complete the process. She was on a tight deadline, hoping to get her yard installed by spring. She was fast to set up her profile, have her video call and answer any design questions and her design was complete within two weeks. Read Laura’s Tilly review below and follow her Instagram to see her installation over the next couple months! 

Why did you decide to use Tilly? 

I decided to use Tilly after getting frustrated trying to hire a local design/build landscaping firm. 

I met with several landscape contractors near me first and I felt like they either didn’t listen to me for what I wanted with my space or they had poor communication. I hit a wall searching for a firm that would do both design and build and was worried I wasn’t going to get a plan conceptualized and into motion before Spring. Our yard is just mud right now, so having landscaping completed by early Spring is very important to me.

I had heard about the concept of Tilly and inquired for more information. Tilly was hands down the best decision we made with our landscaping project.

What was the process like? 

After trying to work with landscaping contractors who didn’t have good processes in place, Tilly was a breath of fresh air.

It was easy to use Tilly’s tool and question prompts to lay out a vision for the space. Then, they matched me with a designer and we scheduled a call. 

My designer, Brett, had an incredible eye for design and I felt like she immediately understood me. Within moments, I knew I could trust her and at the end of our conversation she said she would be back in touch in a couple weeks with initial designs.

When I received the designs, I was blown away. It was perfect. Better than I had envisioned. Brett imagined a brilliant and efficient use of space. She created 3D renderings for us that looked just like a photograph. What is now a yard filled with just mud, will soon be a space that is warm and welcoming.

What did you think about Tilly being remote? 

I thought I needed to go with a landscape designer near me and that I should hire that same person for execution. I thought a landscaping contractor needed to walk the space with me for the best plans. But when I tried that, I was disappointed. 

The designs that Tilly came up with were so much better than what was discussed by the landscaping companies I met locally. And I think a lot of that has to do with Brett’s talent as well as the processes that Tilly has in place to understand each unique client and project.

Seeing the final designs and renderings, I cannot believe that Tilly never visited our home in person.

Tilly also connected me with a local contractor to do the labor. He has been incredible. Same excellent service and quality like Tilly.

It’s an incredible process and I am so impressed.

What were the priorities and goals for your design? 

We purchased our home from a bank – it had sat in disrepair for many years before we became the owners. When we purchased it, all the grass was dead, the yard was filled with weeds, and there were a lot of overgrown plants. It had zero cub appeal. It was so bad that the neighborhood kids nicknamed it “the haunted house”.

I spent 1.5 years working with an incredible interior designer and general contractor for the interior of the house. The interior was actually in even worse shape than the exterior. I share a lot about the home renovation process at my instagram, Laura Murray At Home

But I kept drawing a blank on what I wanted to do with the landscaping. Once the interior construction was complete, I wanted to fix up the exterior as soon as possible.

I had some inspiration images, I knew the vibe I liked (mostly from the interior of the house), but I couldn’t wrap my head around how to layout a patio for entertaining and which plants would work well in our climate. 

I wanted the space to feel artful and welcoming with a Mediterranean vibe that matched the aesthetic of the architecture.

What did you think of your final plan? 

I am typically someone who has a lot of revisions when it comes to design … and I had NONE for Tilly. There might be a few swaps here and there due to availability when it comes to specific plant varieties and materials. But I was speechless.

There were pieces of the yard that felt like a puzzle to me before. I could not figure out how to make them cohesive, even after my in-person conversations with the local landscaping companies. 

Tilly’s designs make so much sense – I had an “aha” moment where I could see how Tilly’s visualization of the space truly was the best utilization of it given our preferences and priorities.

What are you most excited for in your new landscape? 

I am most excited to host our friends! We love to entertain and I can’t wait for the temperatures to warm up and to spend all of our afternoons and evenings enjoying it.

Tell us about your photography? 

I have worked as a wedding photographer for the last 12 years. Creativity is in my core. I am very inspired by art and design, especially in how images and spaces make us feel. It has been a labor or love to turn this neglected house into our home. It’s been the ultimate art project, if you will 🙂

I am lucky to travel all over the world for beautiful events with the most enjoyable clients. I left a career in information technology over a decade ago to pursue photography – happy to say all these years later, it is still my dream job.

wedding photography by Laura Murray

What’s the most beautiful wedding location you’ve ever photographed? 

That is such a tough question – so many! Can I give you a list? Favorite locations where I have photographed weddings include Santorini, Versailles, Aspen, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Telluride, New York City, Maui, and Cabo, to name a few 🙂 

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