Backyard landscape design at night in Minnetrista, MN

Night lighting makes it possible to enjoy the backyard all day and into the night

More Than A Swimming Pool

This family loves to entertain. By design, the adult-end of the landscape includes the fireplace, kitchen, dining area, and water features (other than the pool). The kid-friendly end of the back yard includes the pool, fire pit (s’mores are a favorite), and a putting green.

This project is a five-time award-winner - one from the MN Chapter of National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) for Residential Exterior in 2012, the second, in the same category, from the Regional NARI, a 2012 MNLA Landscape Design Award, a Gold Award from Professional Remodeler Magazine-Design Awards 2013 and the most recent is a 2013 Recognition Award from PLANET (Professional Landcare Network).

Before: The cantilevered pergola was a design and engineering challenge.

After: Its unique design creates more open space in the living area


Landscaping Wish List

  • Pool, fire pit, a hot tub and outdoor kitchen (which was a surprise for Mother’s Day)
  • Water features, putting green, and well-manicured landscape with trees
  • Fireplace with pergola
  • None of it could interfere with the view of the lake.

Another Inspiring Project

Construction Challenges

  • Due to the property setback, the fireplace/pergola had to be positioned where it currently sits
  • The designer’s vision was two support columns. Several engineers insisted on four, putting two of the columns close to the pool’s edge – in the flow of traffic, curtailing the living space in front of the hearth.
  • Poured concrete footing is 6-10 inches larger than the footprint of the fireplace and 5 feet deep with enough rebar to “cage a bear”.
  • Craned the steel pergola and support columns into the back yard, lifting the 1800 lb structure around the house and into the back yard – a distance over 100 feet!
  • Overhead structure is welded to the support columns, surrounded by natural stone. From 5 feet below ground to 14 feet above, it’s all one structure.

Landscape Design Details

  • Flagstone inlays to break up the monotony of concrete
  • A full wood-burning fireplace with gas starter
  • Low-voltage lighting highlight the seat wall, planters, pergola, and water features
  • Outdoor kitchen with grill, plenty of storage, refrigerator, and granite countertop
  • Architectural details/engineering
  • The fireplace is scaled to the house. It is 9 feet wide and 14 feet tall
  • Stone on the fireplace matches the stone on the outdoor kitchen, seat wall, and home exterior
  • Radius of the hearth, firebox opening, and the sides of the chimney reflect the radii of the eyebrow window, in the upper deck wall, the main deck floor and railing-even the furniture has a radius
  • The fireplace pergola ties in with the small pergola over the home’s bay window
  • Pergola support columns on either side of the fireplace match the deck’s support columns
  • Private putting green

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