SOUTHWEST METRO MAGAZINE | September 2011

Tricky Terrain

At the Hahn home in Eden Prairie, designer Josh Koller was facing an all too-familiar landscape challenge – a steep hill that didn’t offer room for homeowners to entertain and made access to the home difficult.

“They were doing a remodel on the inside of their house and wanted a nicer-looking driveway along with their landscape. One of the bigger issues was they entertain a lot and needed good access from the driveway into their house,” says Koller, who worked on the project with a crew for about three weeks.

The team set off by first building modular retaining walls in the front yard to create an upper and lower yard with stairs in-between and large enough for two people to climb side-by-side – perfect for houseguests.

“After we built the stairway, from there I designed a unique walkway from the driveway to the front door so the family and guests didn’t have to go through the garage to get into the house,” notes Koller on the functionality of his design. Koller used Anchor Holland pavers and a couple of inlays in the driveway itself. The crew softened the hardscapes with plantings and mulch but used landscape rock around the foundation of the house to push water away. Low-voltage lighting was installed throughout the entire project.

“We wanted low maintenance and were looking to enhance the front of our house. Obviously, Josh is a great designer and was able to accomplish that,” says Tim Hahn. While tremendously satisfied with Southview Design, Hahn also remarked that being given options and the company's flexibility added an element of ease to a daunting project.

Rather than DIY, Koller strongly recommends using a design company that knows how to get the job done right. “Make sure you feel comfortable with a designer and that the design plan is done in complete detail including construction documents,” Koller says. “Pay the money to get a design done properly and do the research to get price points up front. Paying that extra money means you won’t hire a landscape company that cuts corners.”