Macon, Georgia

The Good-Time Garden

A series of outdoor rooms make for one breathtaking lawn party

Photo: Emily Followill

A party in the making.

“Parties are about the people—the storytelling, enjoying each other’s company,” says Carey Pickard, a native of Macon, Georgia, who works as a fund-raising consultant. “Our signature is packing people in.”

Photo: Emily Followill

From left: Homeowners Carey Pickard (right) and  Chris Howard; tuteurs and foxgloves.

Or out. For Pickard and his husband, Chris Howard, home is a 1,600-square-foot converted waterworks station. Given its limited interior space, parties often spill out into the garden, a series of outdoor rooms divided by podocarpus hedges and other plantings. Pickard estimates there are fifty chairs arranged throughout the garden. A few of the wood-slatted bistro variety await guests in the garden’s centerpiece, the sunken foundation of a former brick cistern that once supplied water to the neighborhood. Instead of standard pea gravel, the thirty-foot-wide circle is surfaced in crushed remnants from Cherokee Brick, a Macon company that’s been turning Georgia’s red clay into brick and terra-cotta tile for 140 years. “For good entertaining, a garden needs hardscape,” Pickard says. “Beautiful as Southern lawns are, you need a place to set a drink down without spilling.”

Photo: Emily Followill

From left: A garden fountain; the well-stocked bar.

Those drinks often come in engraved julep cups. The couple began collecting them a dozen years ago and now own close to thirty. Each cup commemorates a special get-together or milestone—the one hundredth birthday of a friend; a B-52’s concert in Las Vegas when the band dedicated “Love Shack” to Pickard and Howard’s marriage (they’re friends with members of the classic party band). Pickard considers the cups implements of Southern hospitality. “When we invite guests to our home,” he says, “we want to make them feel special.”

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