NATURE’S EDGE

BY MARIE SEBASTIAN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

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Believe it or not, not everyone spends all their free time scouring Pinterest boards or home décor magazines for ideas on how to decorate their backyards and porches. Fortunately, for those of us who aren’t sure whether wicker or wood would better suit a space, there’s Backyard Retreats in Mount Pleasant, where owner Sharon Campbell and the rest of her design-savvy team are more than ready to assist.

As one of Mount Pleasant’s veteran business owners—she celebrated the store’s 20th birthday in January—Campbell takes her passion for helping clients create their ideal outdoor space quite seriously. And though the trends and designs may change with the years and seasons, Campbell’s business model of assisting “from start to finish” has remained steady for two decades.

“I work with customers one-on-one,” she says. “If you’re designing an outdoor space, I visit your home, learn your interests and help you figure it out.” Campbell points out that her clients appreciate the guidance and knowledge that Backyard Retreats offers regarding how to maximize a home’s outdoor space. For example, if clients are searching for a low maintenance, easy-to-clean piece or something that can handle being beneath large trees, there’s a solution to be had.

One satisfied client, Jana Connolly, is lucky enough to have more than one sitting area in the sunshine and has made excellent use of those areas since working with Campbell and her team.

“Sharon helped us with five projects—the front porch, balcony, screen porch, office window seating and patio,” she says. “She was very helpful in the design choices and helped to prevent us from ordering incorrectly sized furniture.”

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A savvy shopper who was new to the Lowcountry at that time, Connolly previously visited another outdoor furniture specialist before discovering Backyard Retreats. She notes that the “personalized attention” that she received from Campbell helped seal the relationship.

“That type of personalized attention is rare these days,” Connolly says. “Sharon gets to know you and your needs and works very closely with you in making the right choices for your project.”

Another client, Karen Keane, concurs that her relationship with Campbell and her team has been nothing short of excellent.

“Sharon and Backyard Retreats provided outdoor furniture for five different living areas of our home on the Isle of Palms, including the front porch, pool area, his-and-her screened porches and a widow’s walk,” Keane says. “Sharon really listened and understood what our vision was for enjoying these specific areas of our home.”

Both Keane and Connolly agree that the bevy of choices at Backyard Retreats made developing their dream outdoor spaces easier. Furniture, fabrics and accessories are in abundance, and Campbell strives to keep items in her beautiful display room fashionable and inviting. Brands manufactured in the United States are always a priority, and fresh materials are always on hand. For example, a recently added line out of Chicago, Lloyd Flanders, which Campbell describes as a wellknown line of quality wicker pieces, is sure to delight this spring.

Connolly, for one, looks forward to working with Campbell again on another home. “We are in the process of hunting for a new home, and we will be coming back to Backyard Retreats for upgrading or replacing our furniture, depending on the new home’s needs,” she says.

Meanwhile, Keane and her family can’t relax in the evening breeze without reflecting on the beauty of their home’s space and how Backyard Retreats has helped perfect it.

“In the evening, my husband, Michael, and our four sons retreat to the upstairs family room and adjoining screened porch,” she says. “This porch is also off the master bedroom, and Sharon was a big help in coordinating fabrics to match. The chairs have strong frames, are extra roomy and swivel all the way around for viewing the big game that’s on TV inside!”

Marie Sebastian is a writer based in Charleston.