This Couple Moved Their Garden With Them, Then Built a Pool Lined in Pink Tile
“We became so attached to everything we planted.”
Published Jul 1, 2022 1:15 AM
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When Cassie Winslow and her husband, Nicholas, move from one house to another, they don’t just take their furniture with them—their garden comes along for the ride, too. So far they’ve transported their outdoor greenery three times, with the latest transplant taking place last June. Looking to buy property (and be closer to Cassie’s family), they purchased a three-bedroom home in California’s Sacramento Valley, around a two-and-a-half-hour drive from their Santa Cruz rental. With help from family members, they dug up everything, put it in pots, and loaded it on trucks, trying to take as much soil with them as possible given their new yard was mostly just dead grass at the time. “We became so attached to everything we planted,” explains Cassie.
Look around their nearly half-acre property today and you’ll quickly realize she has a soft spot for roses. Cassie currently has 75 bushes, many of them still new plantings she has sourced from local farms (Grace Rose Farm and Menagerie are two of her favorites) as well as online sellers. Part of the appeal is that they take time and effort to nurture. Luckily Nicholas, a photographer, is a big green thumb (he has a certification in permaculture), and their 5-year-old daughter, Charlotte, is always eager to lend a hand. “She’ll be out there cutting flowers with me and making arrangements,” says Cassie. Plus the veggie plots have encouraged Charlotte to explore new foods. “If she’s in the garden, she’ll pick a piece of chard and eat it; whereas if I bring it inside and put it on her plate, she doesn’t want to have any part of it,” she adds with a laugh.
It’s not just the peppers and tomatoes that get eaten, though. Cassie, who works full-time as a speech therapist, has authored two books on edible flowers, Floral Libations and Floral Provisions, so things like chamomile whipped cream and plum lavender clafoutis are also making their way into the family’s kitchen. (Psst: You can snag one of her boozy botanical concoction recipes at the end of this story.)
Picking up and moving the garden was only one small step in creating the dreamy outdoor setting. Ahead, Cassie walks us through all the upgrades they’ve made in the past year.
The former driveway, which was paved to fit an RV, can only be described as excessive. With two small cars between them, Cassie and Nicholas decided they only needed half of the parking area. The part they didn’t want anymore? That became a swimming pool. “We didn’t want anything too big, for affordability reasons but also because we’re a small family,” she says of making the pool 20-by-14 feet. Now separated from view of the neighborhood by a white-painted privacy fence, it ranges from 3.5 to 5 feet deep, so it’s more for casual dips on a 100-degree day than diving.
Inside Cassie’s home, you’ll find plenty of pink (a pink sofa, a pink duvet, pink roman shades), so naturally she wanted to keep the theme going outdoors. “Thank goodness my husband likes it, too,” she says. Not only are the reupholstered lounge chairs (her mom re-covered the cushions in fabric from Ballard Designs) and striped umbrellas one with the overarching palette, but the swimming pool is lined with custom pink Fireclay tile. “We knew we weren’t going to plant a ton around there because we’d be dealing with bees, so this was a way to add some color,” explains Cassie. It goes without saying that the 6-by-6-inch ceramic squares were worth the 12-week-long wait.
In addition to bringing in new soil for the garden, Nicholas built the four beds from scratch (two for flowers, two for veggies). The family can easily browse the rows of lavender, gardenias, cosmos, roses, and hollyhocks thanks to his addition of the gravel walkways, which sit slightly on a slope, making its construction trickier than expected. “I still am in awe with how much work that took and how beautiful it is,” says Cassie. Picking is more enjoyable when there is some order to it.
Unlike the front of the house, which had been spruced up with fresh paint by the previous homeowners, it was clear the back deck had gone untouched for years. “It was this really ugly orange color,” Cassie recalls of the pressure-treated wood boards. The couple updated it themselves, sanding it down and replacing sections with hardy redwood before staining everything a natural tone. The railings got a coat of white to further brighten things up. “It really complements all the trees and plants and roses we have back there,” she says. Now it’s the perfect place to sip a botanical-infused cocktail.
The Recipe: Strawberry Rose Petal Margarita
- Juice from 2 lemons and 1 lime (freshly squeezed)
- A generous tbsp strawberry jam
- 2 oz tequila
- Pinch of organic dried rose petals
Add the mixture to an ice-filled glass rimmed with rose sugar or rose salt. Garnish with a strawberry or an organic edible flower. See more recipes in Floral Libations.