Get Together

Backyard parties are back. Landscape Details has tips for the festivities.
Elegant place settings and local flowers create a celebratory ambience.

By Gabrielle Echevarrieta

Throughout lockdown, many longingly reflected back on the days of carefree summer gatherings enjoyed with a lively crowd. A year spent in isolation may have made your party- planning skills rusty, but expert guidance from the founder of Landscape Details can help make your next backyard bash special.

“Summer is the most beautiful time of the year, and after being apart for so long, it seems like there’s more to celebrate,” says Michael Derrig, landscape architect and owner of East Hampton’s Landscape Details. “We’re more aware of how much we value each other, and treasure this place.” He and his wife, Dwyer, garden party connoisseurs, are thrilled to be hosts once again at their home in East Hampton.

Fresh air, wide-open spaces and a twinkling night sky give a gathering an extra touch of summer magic. A well- manicured yard and festive lighting can set the stage for everlasting memories with loved ones. Dwyer sets the mood with colorful flowers and place settings, bamboo flatware and candles to give the tables a cozy, intimate feel. “First, make sure all the outdoor spaces have been properly maintained,” Dwyer advises, “then start to plan seating, lighting and entry lighting for the guests’ arrival. Then, plan the menu and the table setting.

Michael and Dwyer Derrig

We love local flowers and local desserts and frequent the farm stands in our area.” As for cuisine, the couple often fire up the grill to whip up steaks and local fish. Homegrown veggies from their garden, including peppers, squash, peas and tomatoes, are charred to perfection and served alongside light, colorful salads dressed with farm-fresh corn. They often look to Ina Garten for recipes, citing her new cookbook Modern Comfort Food as inspiration. A fun signature cocktail, including a mocktail option, are a perfect finishing touch to get the party going, along with a backdrop of Brazilian tunes guaranteed to get people on their feet.

The couple’s summers spent out East are filled with sunrises at the ocean and sunsets at the bay, accompanied by their friends, adult children and their dogs. “It’s the most beautiful place on Earth,” says Michael. “When you can be with the people you love most and share all the things you love, well then you count your blessings.”