Carving out a new backyard

This family of six needed to make the most of their Edina, MN backyard. Not much more than a sloping lawn and bare concrete patio, this uninspiring backyard had no room for dining al fresco or spending time together as a family. Furthermore, the kids all love to play sports – soccer, lacrosse, and hockey – and it's not fun (or fair) when the ball always rolls downhill.


Before: A sloping backyard and bare concrete patio.

After: A modern patio and level backyard for sports

Move the Slider to see the patio before and after.

This family's wish list was simple:

  • Create a large play space for the kids with ample room for sports
  • Create a dining area big enough for a farm table
  • Manage drainage using yard drains

The final result is an elegant and modern patio combined with a classic American lawn.

Starting with the slope

Regrading the lawn

First things first: to start this backyard overhaul there would have to be some major regrading. Tons of earth had to be removed in order to create a level canvas for the new lawn. Newly constructed mortared limestone retaining walls hold back the remaining soil.

Before: The elevation of the backyard dropped several feet from the back of the yard to the patio.

After: A level backyard is perfect for sports; hedges and a mortared stone retaining wall create an elegant boundary.

In urban and smaller suburban backyards special attention has to be paid to the perimeter of the site. Often, as is the case here, yards with different fencing styles present a challenge for homeowners seeking a cohesive look. The designer solved the problem with a row of evergreen hedges. Eventually, the hedge will obscure the neighbors’ fences and create a unified appearance.

Modern backyard patio in Edina with space for dining and seating

Patio & Garden

Simple Symmetrical Style

Once the yard was regraded, our crews shifted their focus to creating an outdoor room that this family would never want to leave.

Ms. Homeowner had already purchased furniture in a style she liked and the designer took that as inspiration for the patio and border garden. Guided by the principles of symmetry, repetition, balance, and clean lines – the final design was a perfect fit for the homeowners' sense of style.

formal backyard courtyard landscape design

The garden design is heavily influenced by a sense of order and symmetry. Matching potted trees mark the transition from the lawn to the patio. The patio border features quintessential plantings for any Twin Cities garden: hydrangeas, arborvitae, boxwood, nepeta, astilbe, and a columnar birch in the corner. The arbors along the garage will eventually fill in with clematis vines – softening the look and adding more color to the empty wall. Chunky hardwood mulch has a great visual texture and will add nutrients to the soil as it breaks down.

Another Inspiring Project

Outdoor great room in edina mn

An Outdoor Great Room

A modern & multipurpose patio

Constructed from large-format custom Bluestone pavers, each piece of this exceptional patio was individually selected for its color profile. With plenty of square footage, this patio combines the functions of a dining room and sitting area. Combining both functions into a single space creates a sense of intimacy and leaves plenty of space for a big lawn.

Custom bluestone backyard paver patio

Wicker armchairs and sofa offer plush and luxurious seating, the perfect spot to either lounge in the sun or unwind with friends and family. A slab style propane fire table with a generous edge serves as both a coffee table and a fiery focal point once the sun goes down.

Large contemporary backyard patio in edina mn

Potted plants punctuate the patio and soften the lines of the pavers and furniture. Eclectic planters add notes of whimsy and balance to this modern take on a formal courtyard design.

Working on your timeline

We'll work with you to plan ahead

This project took years from the initial conversation to the final walk through. When it comes to construction, landscaping, or any decision about our homes it's natural for things to take time. Whether you are ready to break ground from day one, or need help developing a master plan, we can help you navigate the process of creating an outdoor space tailored to your lifestyle.


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Outdoor Living

Design Inspiration • Before and After • Gardening Guidance • Seasonal Reminders • Sustainable Landscaping Facts • Entertaining Ideas


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