Backyard Style -- an interview with Matthew Mead

With Mother’s Day on the horizon I caught up with Matthew Mead to chat about what inspires him in the garden, how he celebrates with his wife Jenny, and the women who are so much a part of his past, present and future.

image courtesy of Matthew Mead from Backyard Style

Get to know Matthew in this fun Q&A including a peek at his fresh new book Backyard Style. After this long winter, Backyard Style is a breath of fresh spring air! It's full of great decor ideas, diy's, gardening inspiration and delicious recipes you can use all spring and summer. It's always fun chatting with Matthew. I hope you enjoy it too!

images courtesy of Matthew Mead, from his new book Backyard Style


1. Congratulations Matthew on your new book Backyard Style.  It’s
gorgeous! You have inspired me, as usual… I can’t wait to get into our backyard this season. But everything is a little late this year so I’m using the extra time to plan a little more. I’m curious, do you spend time planning out your garden every year? How do you change it up year to year?

I live in the northeast so it seems like after a long winter it always takes way to long for spring to emerge.  I don't do a lot of planning, I like to be inspired by what I see at the garden center.  We have an older home on a small parcel of land in the city and have lots of border gardens with hostas and ground covers.  I really favor urns and containers for container plants and I like to mix lots of flowering and graphic leafy specimens to make up my landscape.  I really favor shrubs and trees like lilacs and peonies and bridal wreath.. they are the same varieties that my parents and grandparents had in their yards.

2. What is inspiring you this year in the backyard?  Are you drawn to any particular colors this year?

Lots of whites and greens... lots of containers spilling over with lobelia and candy tuft and ivy.  Love succulents and how they look planted with mosses and herbs.

3. Do you have a favorite type of garden? Shady with lots of verdant greens, or sunny and colorful?

We have a towering silver back maple so everything is in the shade... we use lots of shade loving ferns and astilbe to create interest in the yard.  I'm not one to have really showy blooms... but I will likely plant a single color of zinnia this year... one of those new painted

4. I know you share a special love of flowers with your wife, Jenny. Will you tell us more about that?

One of our first excursions was picking wild pansies in a field near a local bank.  We bonded over that and often look for flowers to enjoy every week in our home.  We also collect botanical prints and paintings and enjoy seeing flowers in vintage books and postcards... something botanical is always within eye sight in our home.  Flowers are such a miracle and for us they are benchmarks for each season.

5. How do flowers and botanicals fit into celebrations with your

They are always the star of the show.  I think our decorating style is based around creating mantels and perches to feature vases of leaves and flowers.  Having something living and blooming in your home is very grounding and comforting.  We love to make centerpieces for dining tables and coffee tables and to give as gifts.

Matthew's Mom

6. How will you celebrate Mother’s Day with your Mom?

I usually cook for my Mom and wife... but we have had lots of back to back holidays in the last few weeks and birthdays so we are going to a wonderful Italian bistro in a neighboring town.  We will stop and visit a garden center to bring home some special things to all plant together.

7. I’d love to hear more about your Grandmother, Matthew. What role did the garden/outdoors/nature play in your relationship with her?

She had a natural affinity for the garden... her entire yard was a constantly blooming bower... Her yard was filled with interesting trees and shrubs including a fragrant Mock Orange shrub.  Lots of special plants and perennials.  She had a neighbor friend who extended her garden into her yard to make a really large park like atmosphere. She taught me to appreciate these growing wonders and taught me the names of the plants in her garden.

8. What are your most treasured collectibles that you bring outside? What are you on the hunt for this year?

I like urns and columns and pedestals for perching flowering containers.  I have a favorite alabaster plant stand that I use in the yard to show off a plant or flower arrangements for a gathering.  I collect old iron urns all year long to line a bench or windowsill... they add instant garden style.

9. I love how you transformed your garage into a summer room last year. It is the perfect space to entertain. Do you have any tips to share on creating an outdoor space?

Don't hesitate.. find a way to get yourself outside and create a gathering space.  look for flea market furniture, add an umbrella, make a patio of crushed stone... whatever you do carve out the time and make a space to relax and eat and enjoy conversation... everything tastes better and is thoroughly more fun when enjoyed al fresco.

Matthew Mead's summer escape -- converted garage turned summer room

10. I know you love to cook for your friends and family. What do you always have on hand to serve a quick meal or snack al fresco?

Fruits, fruit juices, wine and ice to whip up fruit cocktails and wine coolers.  Lots of soft but flavorful cheeses, Marcona almonds, crisp flat bread crackers, marinated olives and bread sticks.  For an evening gathering,  fresh berries, chocolate wafer cookies and dark chocolate for melting and dipping.  I love icy drinks, especially iced chai with sweets... so I always have a pitcher cooling and ready for ice.

PS --> I've spotted Backyard Style at Indigo in store and online. 
It is also available on Amazon.


  1. Amazing interview...I so love MATTHEW MEAD...and have all his books including BACKYARD STYLE!!


    1. Thank you Victoria. Matthew is wonderful and it is always a treat to chat with him. His work is so inspiring! I'm also a big fan!

  2. Great interview -- even more to love about Matthew Mead and his style! Thank you so much.

  3. Thanks Patty! Isn't he just so talented? I can't to see what he does next :)


Thanks so much for your comments!