Five Years In The Making

Five years after the first meeting with the homeowner, realtor, and Southview’s landscape designer – this Prior Lake estate is finally complete. Sited on a wooded point with incredible views, this lakeside paradise has it all: privacy, a swimming pool, and enough space for the kids to run around. However, building on this site presented significant engineering challenges that took three years of planning and two years of construction to overcome.

Homeowners’ Landscaping Wish List

  • Swimming Pool
  • Decks
  • Retaining Walls
  • Green space for the kids to play

Storm Water Control Works Behind The Scenes

There is more to this front entry than meets the eye. Just off the driveway, a 7’ deep collection well filled with sand and rock connects to a retention-swale to effectively capture most of the storm water. It was originally designed to be a bio-swale but the soil was too sandy. The difference? A bio-swale is a water-collection point that can be planted. A retention-swale is a depression in the ground that channels storm water away from the foundation but keeps the water on the property rather than allow it to flow into the lake. It allows water to percolate down through the soil, reducing erosion and keeping pollutants from washing into the lake. Water coming off the south side of the house is directed toward the plants, trees, and sod.

Landscaping front entry gardens in Prior Lake landscape design

This friendly entry garden is planted with a mix of perennials and evergreens. The result is a garden that is easy to care for and looks great in every season.

Set Back Swimming Pool

Because of required setbacks from the shore, fitting the swimming pool into the landscape design meant there would be only 8’ of pool deck between the house and the pool. By designing the patio as an extension of the home, what could have been too close for comfort instead feels like a perfect fit. Sandy brown pavers blend in with the facade of the home to create a seamless transition between the interior and exterior.

The backyard swimming pool is set flush into the patio, which gives it a decidedly upscale look. Furniture around the pool deck is bolted in place so that it won't blow away in a storm.

In ground patio swimming pool in Prior Lake MN

Tough Site Pushed Designers and Crews to the Limit

Before any construction could begin, the team needed to create a plan to control erosion and stormwater drainage that met environmental protection standards. The final plan included using erosion blankets, silt fencing, and an inflatable barrier around the entire point during construction; as well as the installation of a bio-swale to collect stormwater and allow it to percolate through the soil. The City and state DNR inspected regularly to make sure we maintained erosion control throughout the installation of this ambitious landscape.

Erosion Control Plan

  • Install erosion blankets
  • Leave the old timber wall by the lake temporarily in place
  • Add silt fencing and logs
  • Add inflatable lake barrier around the entire point
  • Install massive boulder walls first to create a level space
  • Redirect storm water from the house and property to catch basin and bio-swale
  • Put the retaining/seat wall on concrete footings with rebar for stability in sandy soil
Prior Lake landscape design erosion control

The site was leveled to accommodate a pool, and extra measures were taken for stormwater drainage and erosion control.

Burly Boulders

All of the boulder walls had to be installed before the house could be built. Specified by an engineer and approved by the state DNR and City of Prior Lake, these burly walls hold back the tons of backfill needed to raise the grade of the back yard to accommodate the swimming pool and control runoff. The terraced design allows for plantings that will mature to add privacy and a more natural integration with the surrounding woods. Metal fencing provides security around the yard – keeping kids in and lake pirates out. A gravel path outside the fence provides access for maintenance and repair in years to come.

Tiered boulder wall created with tons of rock, black fence and plantings

Controlled access to the lake blends into the stony beach

Low maintenance plantings will quickly establish roots and grow into a natural privacy screen.

Evergreen and native grass plantings on the boulder wall

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