Design Diary: Chantal and Ryan’s Spectacular Backyard

My most fabulous friend and former colleague, Chantal Gordon, along with her adorable and talented husband, Ryan Benoit, recently launched gardening blog The Horticult. Of course, I meant to blog about it in the spring but . . . The New York Times beat me to it! Last Thursday, a superb article by Michael Tortorello about Chantal & Ryan’s crazy amazing backyard, or rather, outdoor room, appeared in the Home & Garden section. What a feat, though not wholly surprising. (Chantal, whose middle name is Aida, is not only an excellent writer herself, but insanely fashionable, smart, and sweet. She worked at Vogue, hung with Lauren Conrad on “The Hills,” etc. Soon I expect she’ll be a best-selling author, as she’s working on an a novel, exotic botany included.)

Anyway, back to the yard. The pair live in a 750-square-foot rental with a 55-by-44-foot, concrete-covered lot near the beach in La Jolla, California. Look what they’ve done to it! Can you believe? What’s more incredible is that it’s DIY, much of it re-purposed, all of it movable. While Chantal tends the succulents, Ryan builds the furnishings, many of which are prototypes for pieces he sells through Ryan Benoit Design. Yes, you too can create an outdoor haven like Ryan and Chantal’s!

Of course, not one to let a good opportunity pass her by, Chantal’s blogging about it, as well as the local dirt & design scene, with help from her photographer/engineer/lieutenant commander husband. On The Horticult, you can catch her exercising (crop top included) on the porch at the Yoga Yard, examine the aphids and inchworms that have invaded their loquat tree (whatever that is), and join them and friends for fruity cocktails al fresco (where’s my invite?!)


Photo by Ryan Benoit


Photo by Ryan Benoit


Photo by Ryan Benoit


Photo by Ryan Benoit


Photo by Ryan Benoit


Photo by Ryan Benoit


Author: StyleCarrot

Marni Elyse Katz is a design writer and editor who lives in Boston and Cape Cod with her husband, two sons, and a cat. She blogs about design at

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