By Marilyn Tinnin

At this time of year, most of us are looking forward to the season of outdoor grilling and all the outdoor living that follows the winter blahs. Maybe this is the year you make your own backyard into something that invites the whole family outdoors. Sprucing up your outdoor space can add value to your home, and, if you plan well, you can create an enticing area, that functions almost like another room for entertaining and pure downtime enjoyment.

Gary Haygood of the Haygood Group, LLC, is a landscape architect in Ridgeland. Although he is a Columbus native and an MSU graduate, his resume includes significant time with firms in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Tampa, Florida. His impressive portfolio is filled with both commercial (including whole communities) and residential projects.

Pool-A landscape architect is a true designer who works with the natural environment to create attractive and functional spaces. These may include structures, walkways, pools, outdoor kitchens, flowerbeds, and more. They are not landscapers who simply install plants. Once a plan is in place, the landscape architect will work with any other contractors to bring all the elements together.

For residential projects, he frequently begins with a master plan that can be implemented in phases depending on what the client wants to invest at the time. Maybe it is a two-year project, or maybe it is a five-year project, but he will help ensure it all comes together in an attractive and unified finished project.

Take a look at a few of his masterpieces. He offered us, too, a few tips to keep in mind in designing your personal, outdoor retreat.


Getting the WOW factor:

  • Consider water for sound and focal feature.
  • Consider a feature that is memorable like the view, a sculpture, a colorful planter, or up lighting.
  • Consider elements like a trellis, trees, or an awning to help enclose the space.
  • If you have a retaining wall, it can be designed in a way to create extra seating for large gatherings or as a place to set plates and drinks.

When working with your existing space:

  • Declutter spaces.
  • Group colorful planters together with different plantings that provide various heights, color, texture, and bloom times.
  • Spruce up old furniture and planters or move them altogether.
  • Add new accents like umbrellas or colorful planters for interest.
  • Think about a new surface for your patio space. Perhaps a change of materials would help invigorate a space. Thin pavers, natural stone over an existing patio, or sometimes a good power washing can totally change a look.


Contact Gary Haygood at 601.966.3581 or see