This homeowner grew up in this house, her parents installed a swimming pool in the 80s for their kids. When she was in high school her parents bought the lot next door to move to and retained the original house to rent out. When the homeowner got married and moved back to MN she and her husband rented this house while looking for a new home; they ended up buying the house from her parents and decided to renovate. The exterior was neglected over the years and everything was overgrown, ill-kept, and not useful. She wanted to revamp the exterior landscaping so it would be more useful for her and her family, keeping basically the house foot print and the old swimming pool but starting over with everything else.
Her goals were fairly simple: in the front she wanted a "European-style" courtyard for her mother and her to have coffee at in the mornings (both her parents are from Belgium so that influenced the landscaping), she wanted to update the pool, and have lots of space for entertaining as well as safe play spaces for her young son. They have a lot of parties of multiple people and love to grill so they wanted a huge kitchen that people could sit around as well as a wood-burning fireplace.
The front was modeled after older European courtyard spaces with a tiered fountain and a herringbone patio with two complimentary colored stones. She loves hydrangea and white and pink so the plants in the front are dominated by hydrangea, boxwood, and pink flowers. We built new entry monuments to create a stronger front entry presence. The grades between the house and the driveway were slight so in order to channel water out we had to create a series of catch basins and drain tile to insure that the front patios and walkway are well drained.
The back yard was restricted previously by badly placed timber walls and a fence close up to the pool that forced everything to be cramped in the space. The hot tub and hammock were right up against the house as was all the other furniture. The use of stone retaining walls expanded the space greatly to allow for adequate furniture around the pool as well as accommodate the fireplace and kitchen areas. The retaining walls were also used to create a lower "play" area that would offer a separate space from the pool for their young child and dogs to play in the grass. The hot tub was placed in a niche in the retaining walls built specifically to hide the exterior of the hot tub from the upper space.
This project began in mid-November with masonry construction going through the winter requiring heated tents. The project was made more complicated due to the amount of underground conduit needed for lighting wires, irrigation lines, and electrical and gas runs. The existing gas meter on the house was undersized for the new loads on it so we not only increased the size but located it on the other side of the pool by the pool equipment; it was previously located in the middle of the pre-existing retaining walls, right about where the new hot tub is now.
The biggest impact on the project is definitely the pergola and kitchen area and the fireplace. The pergola was built in a cabinet shop off site and installed on site in less then three days which required precise measurements at the kitchen and footings. The kitchen is used all the time - they love ribs - and the available bar top sitting space allows for 12 guests at the kitchen. The homeowner requested that the fireplace be placed so from inside the great room of the house where the kithcne is they have a clear shot directly across the pool to the fireplace, right in the middle of their view.
- Landscape Award Winner 2017
Mom's Landscaping & Design, LLC