Small Backyard Landscape in St. Paul

French Quarter Courtyard

New Orleans, Minnesota 55116

St. Paul homeowners, Jan and Bill, have lived in this 1929 Highland Park home since the late 80s. In all that time, they managed without a usable back yard. While they were definitely looking for more functional space, they wanted it to feel like their favorite travel destination – New Orleans. Every year, they go to relax, kick back, and immerse themselves in the music, food, and culture – so why not bring a little of New Orleans to Minnesota?

This Cajun-style landscape is a winnter of the 2016 CoTY Award from the MN chapter of NARI, as well as a 2016 NALP Grand Award and a 2017 MNLA Excellence in Landscape Design award. 

Did you know, in 2016 Southview Design was honored four times by the NALP? See three more award-winning projects – Vermillion Vista, Lakeside Jewel, Private Lakeside Paradise

St. Paul Yard with a Cajun Soul

The designer’s biggest challenge was bringing New Orleans style to an odd-shaped, urban-sized St. Paul yard – without moving the garage or expanding the back yard. Time spent researching the New Orleans landscapes paid off. The design concepts were a hit with a combination of clay brick and Bluestone.

Saving and Savouring the Bluestone Patio

The existing landscape had 670 square feet of cut/patterned Bluestone which was reused. Some new Bluestone was added to veneer the front entry stoop, widen the walkway across the front, and add a sidewalk leading to the front door. The front walk extends around to the side yard where the Bluestone transitions to red clay brick.

Red brick backyard fireplace and patio in St. Paul MN

Tucked between the house and the garage (in just 780 square feet of irregular space) are TWO seating areas – one in front of the fireplace and another in a more private corner nook with a cedar roof.

Private corner seating nook in small urban landscape design

Corner Nook is a Favorite Spot

Like trying to choose a favorite child, it’s hard to decide which spots they like more…the front patio, the fireplace seating area, or the private corner nook. And the winner is….the corner nook. “It’s like an addition on our house! We spend every moment we can in there. It’s cool and comfortable…a nice place to relax, read, and nap,” said Jan.

The paver walkways and patio in the back yard slope toward plant beds on the other side of the cedar fencing so water does not puddle in the seating areas.

Authentic Details Delight

The custom-designed cedar fence/gate with wrought iron embellishments creates intimate conversation spaces without being claustrophobic. Cedar fencing/gate with fleur-de-lis wrought iron accents completes the project by adding the much-sought-after privacy…an urban sanctuary in a busy neighborhood.

The glow of Bevolo (out of New Orleans) gas lamps add the touch of New Orleans flair the clients were looking for. “We never had a back yard before and now we have choices!” said Jan.

French Quarter-inspired backyard water feature design

The water feature/fountain is patterned after a similar fountain in New Orleans. It has a copper weir and concrete-mortared brick. The homes in that street are less than 10 feet apart. The sound of the splashing water serves to muffle the sounds of the neighborhood. Positioned close to the corner nook, you can also hear the fountain while sitting in front of the fireplace as well as from inside the house.


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