Exclusive: Lea Michele's Inspiring Backyard Transformation

What's in for spring? Statuary poodles and garden salads, of course.

When actress and singer Lea Michele asked us to help transform her outdoor space, we jumped at the chance. "The two things I wanted were to add color and to make it more comfortable," says Michele of her idea for an outdoor space better suited to hosting in LA's near-perfect weather. With that in mind, our own Estee Stanley and Mat Sanders reimagined spring's palette in fresh Sunbrella fabrics, plopped concrete poodles from LA's Inner Gardens on the poolside, and transformed Lea's space into an outdoor wonderland using mixed pieces from Crate & Barrel's spring outdoor collections. Read on for Lea's tips on nailing the looks she loves most in your own backyard.

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Create the feeling of escape with outdoor fabrics: "I really love the curtains that we added around the pavilion. Now I look into the backyard and see these dramatic striped curtains and blue cushions. It's just so much more beautiful."
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"Canvas Mineral Blue" (#5420-0000), Price Upon Request, Sunbrella Regatta Lounge Chair, $679, Crate & Barrel "Solana Seagull" (#32008-0000), Price Upon Request, Sunbrella

Know your signature flower power: "Indoors, my favorite flowers are Mums. And I really love Gardenias around my house."

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Vintage Textile Pillow, $268, Nickey Kehoe Galvanized Bucket Small with Leather Handles, $13, Crate & Barrel Poodle Garden Sculpture, Price Upon Request, Inner Gardens

Robin egg blue is in for spring: "I really like the girly elements Estee brings in. I probably would not have picked the robin egg blue at first sight, but now that it's there, it's perfect."

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Khadi Cloth Napkins, $47 (Set of Four), Nickey Kehoe Celena Midnight Stripe Pillow, $60, Crate & Barrel Geometric Serving Spoons, $25, Kate Spade Saturday

With the scene set, Michele welcomed friends for Pimm's Buck cocktails and a garden dinner expertly prepared by Jeff Nimer of Haute Chefs LA. Friends, including Switch Boutique's Jennifer and Julia Cohen and actress Aubrey Doller, gathered around a farm table adorned with a garland of freshly cut flowers by Meinshatz. According to Michele, there are only two hostessing prerequisites: "If everything around you feels rich in color and super comforting, people will always feel like they are home."

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The best ice-breaker is a cozy floor plan: "Make the environment comfortable with lots of places where people can move around and sit. They will feel like this is their home too, not that they are in someone else's space."
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Kruger Black Loveseat, $499, Crate & Barrel Topiary, Price Upon Request, Inner Gardens Fish High Back Woven Arm Chair, $466, Crate & Barrel
Spring's "it" drink: a Pimm's Buck with edible flowers for garnish: "The key to hosting the perfect outdoor party is a great drink. Our Pimm's cocktails had beautiful flowers in them -- both inviting and delicious.
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Roy Cocktail Picks, $15 (Set of Four), Crate & Barrel   Pimm's, $20, Liquorama Fish Glasses, From $8, Crate & Barrel
Simple, garden-fresh dishes keep the party casual: Chef Nimer served crispy chicken cutlets and a fresh bibb lettuce salad with roasted garlic buttermilk dressing. Click through for the recipes below.
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Diamond Pillow Cover, $68, Serena & Lily Jett Five Piece Placesetting, $56, Crate & Barrel Screen-printed Tablecloth, $45, Kate Spade Saturday
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real-deal

Cabana Curtains International Silks & Woolens Topiaries Inner Gardens Cabana Pillows Hollywood at Home
Black and White Block Print Pillows Nickey Kehoe Black Diagonal Stripe Pillows Serena & Lily Blue Tufted Cushions International Silks & Woolens
Flowers Meinschatz Events Drapery and Cushion Fabric Sunbrella  Poodle Sculptures Inner Gardens
Photographs: Justin Coit
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