Check Out This Oakland County Backyard Greenhouse

As Mother’s Day nears, this gardener cherishes Mom in her backyard retreat.
Photograph courtesy of Brett Mountain

An Oakland County rose aficionado had dreamed of having a rose garden on her property year-round. Determined to create something great, she and her husband did a lot of research before landing on a specialized greenhouse firm called Wisconsin Greenhouse Co., based in Wisconsin. Interior designer Rachel Nelson of Detroit-based Concetti was the designer of choice. She previously worked with the couple on their home, which they moved into in 2017.

For design inspiration, Nelson suggested her client, who wishes to be anonymous, close her eyes and share what she saw, smelled, and felt for her green-thumb haven.

“We understood quickly that this greenhouse should have whimsy and a feminine touch with appealing colors, patterns, and textures,” Nelson says. “This was going to not only be a place to enjoy her gardening hobby but also to connect back to her mom. So, we wanted it to feel nostalgic and homey.”

The homeowner/gardener’s mother, who also cultivated roses, died in 2020. The greenhouse is a special way to remember her. “I grow a Neil Diamond rose in her honor because she loved Neil Diamond,” she says. This variety features a strong, classic rose scent and is red, pink, and white striped.

Here, we share how the seeds of design creativity were planted for this gorgeous retreat.

Variety’s the spice

Photograph courtesy of Brett Mountain

The gardener’s roses bloom in various luscious colors, including purple, red, white, peach, orange, pink, and rose.

Guiding light

Photograph courtesy of Brett Mountain

The homeowner’s favorite element is the chandelier lighting, a replica of the Heracleum style from Dutch interior design company Moooi. “We were after whimsy,” the designer says, “so the light fixture appears like dancing leaves and rose petals.”

This works

Photograph courtesy of Brett Mountain

The homeowner wanted a workbench that looked old but was also practical. Concetti sourced a 1900s antique from e-commerce site 1stDibs.

“We modified the existing workbench to include plumbing, lighting, and shelving for a fully functional replanting center,” Nelson says. Once the design was solidified, Concetti brought in Hamtramck’s Woodward Throwbacks to execute the concept. “She can display her vase collection there but also cut and arrange flowers.”

It’s in the details

Photograph courtesy of Brett Mountain

Turquoise chairs by Tidelli Outdoor Living complement the palette, while a cozy rug from Jaipur Rugs is underfoot. The coffee table, from Four Hands, looks like concrete but is hollow.

Book it

Photograph courtesy of Brett Mountain

The gardener refers to the book Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion often. “It helps explain things like water supply, heating, and glass,” she says. Wisconsin Greenhouse crafted the glass walls, while DiMartino Landscaping of Rochester Hills designed and built the stacked stone walls.

Other local companies, including C&G Cement Contractors of Clarkston and Brock Mechanical Plumbing Contractor of Howell, also contributed to the construction of the greenhouse.

Her cuppa tea

Photograph courtesy of Brett Mountain

The gardener grows mostly hybrid tea roses. “I have 20 different plants and 10 varieties; they bloom most of the year,” she says, adding that hybrid tea rose breeders focus on long stems that are ideal for cutting.

Climate control

Photograph courtesy of Brett Mountain

The wood raised flower beds sit above a heated blue stone floor. Indoor temperatures are electronically regulated, so if the couple travels, there’s no need to worry about the air temperature becoming too hot or cool.


Photograph courtesy of Brett Mountain

The HVAC system — installed by Center Line Heating & Cooling in Center Line — is housed in an area that looks like an old shed. There’s also a small powder room made of reclaimed Michigan barnwood within the shed.

Nelson procured a teal concrete sink for the space from Kast, an English company that specializes in contemporary concrete basins and sinks. “That set the groundwork for the palette of peachy pink with teal,” Nelson says.

Zen zone

Photograph courtesy of Brett Mountain

Beyond tending to her greenhouse, you may find the gardener reading or enjoying a glass of wine with her husband in the space.

“We sit out there and watch the weather; sometimes we have breakfast there,” she says. “You can be a part of the surrounding terrain — the trees, forest. It’s my Zen time.”

This story is part of the May 2023 issue of Hour Detroit. Read more in our Digital Edition. And click here to see more metro Detroit interiors.