A Look at an Outdoor Paradise in a Birmingham Backyard

An inviting porch lounge with a fireplace and kitchen area — along with a putting green — creates an outdoor paradise in Birmingham.
Photograph by Sally Matak

Sarah Kepic and her husband, Peter, love the transitional-meets-rustic look in their Quarton Lake Estates home in Birmingham. “We like a reclaimed look,” Sarah Kepic says. “Our interior has a lot of color, wallpaper, and texture.” In the fall of 2022 when they decided to create an outdoor oasis perfect for entertaining, their goal was to extend their indoor look outside.

The couple called on designer Matt Mosher, whose business, , in Royal Oak focuses on outdoor space planning and landscape architecture, to make it happen.

The Kepics and Mosher collaborated on a design scheme that features an outdoor fireplace, a television, a kitchen, seating, a firewood storage area, and landscaping. Mosher’s challenge was to work around a six-hole putting green, which was installed by Waterford-based .

“These smaller lots in Birmingham are very common, and essentially, this one, besides the green, was plain and dated,” Mosher says. “There wasn’t much there except a paver patio.” His goal was to create a “cohesive experience so that the backyard represented and warranted the level of their beautiful interiors,” he says.

Mosher recommended of Utica to do the installation and implement his plans. Of the final product, completed last June after six months of work, Mosher says, “It’s exactly what that yard needed to bring it to life.”

Adds Sarah Kepic: “It’s now a great place for entertaining. Our teenage sons can hang out with friends, use the putting green, barbecue, watch football.”

Here, Mosher and Kepic, who owns four Goldfish Swim Schools in the Boston area, share insights on outdoor living — everything from putting tournaments to firewood-storage solutions.

Fire up

“My favorite part is the wood-burning stone fireplace and its copper hearth,” Sarah Kepic says.

Flooring flair

The team decided on bluestone flooring, a classic touch that never goes out of style.

Copper couture

The kitchen area features a copper backsplash and countertops.

Watch this

A SunBrite television can be left out all winter, and “there’s no glare when watching TV,” Kepic says.

A place for everything

“We had an obnoxious amount of wood that sat in the boys’ basketball court in the driveway, and they were like, ‘Dad, we have to move this,’” Kepic says with a laugh. So, Mosher designed a storage area between the driveway and fireplace that features a sliding wood barn door.

Furnishing a look

The seating and tables are all from RH, while the lighting is from Visual Comfort & Co. in Birmingham. The pillows are from Serena & Lily in Birmingham.

Pleasing pots

“Matt does all our pots with a variety of colors,” Kepic says. The Kepics found most of their pots at Shed Fine Goods in Petoskey. The topiary pot is from FleurDetroit in Bloomfield Hills. Mosher’s team fills the containers with various layers of “annual flowers, summer tropicals, and trailing vines,” Mosher says.

Putting pleasures

Peter Kepic, who works in commercial real estate for Colliers, and his sons are big on golf and often hold tournaments on their six-flag green. “Similar to basketball, they’ll play like P-I-G or H-O-R-S-E with putting,” Sarah Kepic says.

Follow the path

A crushed-granite pathway runs from the driveway along the putting green and through the backyard.

Perfect patina

“The foundation of the wood porch structure is metal on the inside,” Mosher says. “We then wrapped that in cedar. We applied a patina on the wood to make it look like it’s at least 100 years old. This look sets the stage.”

Plants plus

“We created a correct layer of plantings to work with the green and the other areas,” Mosher says. Those plants include hydrangea varieties, hostas, and viburnum (a woodland shrub that “plays to a darker leaf tone than the hydrangea and hosta, so gives it a soft, billowy look,” Mosher says). The boxwood is placed strategically to create definition between spaces, he adds.

Bug out!

Optional drop-down screens with ultraviolet blockage prevent bugs and harmful sunrays from entering the porch. “They’ve got the bells and whistles,” Mosher says. “You don’t know the screens are there unless you hit a button.”

This story originally appeared in the June 2024 issue of Detroit magazine. To read more, pick up a copy of Detroit at a local retail outlet. Our digital edition will be available on June 6.