Minimalist backyard with patio and stone steps

A minimalist backyard, featuring a limestone patio and ample green space.

Modern Meets Minimalist

Designed in partnership with John Kraemer & Sons and featured on the 2021 Artisan Home Tour, this modern masterpiece made a bold transformation. Nestled atop a small bluff overlooking Tonka Bay, the location was unbeatable. However, densely packed trees and brush blocked the views of the lake.

The homeowners envisioned panoramic views with a manicured, lush green lawn. For the builder, this meant a modern home design with an open floor plan and large windows throughout. For Southview, this meant a minimalist design, one that focused less on specific landscape elements and more on the natural beauty of the lake. Together, we worked to bring the homeowners' vision to life.

Before: An overgrown lot with obstructed views

After: A clean landscape design with open views of the lake


The project presented many challenges. Tight deadlines meant that Southview needed to work quickly and efficiently, a difficult feat considering the numerous city approvals required for the job. Furthermore, the original site was in rough shape and needed considerable remediation. Extensive grading was necessary to create more usable backyard space. In the process, Southview hauled away over 100 truckloads of excavated soil. In addition, the shoreline was in desperate need of restoration and required new riprap to prevent water runoff and erosion.

Lakeshore backyard with tiered boulder retaining walls

Glacial boulder retaining walls were installed to provide structural support, prevent erosion, and enhance the landscape's aesthetics.

Deliberate Details

To fulfill the client's vision, the landscape elements were carefully designed to maintain open views of the lake. Stairs run along the edge of the property to keep the lawn space uninterrupted. Under the American flag sits a patio, the perfect place to relax and enjoy the view of passing boats and glistening waters.

Limestone steps and patio

Limestone steps lead the way from the upper deck to the lower patio.

Two-Tier Living

The home features two tiers of outdoor living space. The upper deck includes a fully-equipped outdoor living room and dining patio. Ardeo limestone steps pave the way to the lower level, which features a matching limestone patio. Minimalist plantings are low-maintenance and complement the home's modern vibe.

Dog run with synthetic turf

The dog run features artificial turf, offering a low-maintenance solution to keep the area green while preventing dirt from being tracked into the home.

A space for Fido

The clients wanted a dog run, a designated place for the dog to do their business and safely explore the outdoors. This customized space features a private doggy door with limestone steps and plenty of room for exploration. Synthetic turf keeps the area green and prevents dirt being tracked into the home.

Lake Minnetonka backyard design with tiered boulder walls and intimate lighting

When storms and waves attack the shoreline, riprap prevents erosion.

The finishing touch

Adjustable landscape lighting was the perfect finishing touch to this luxurious lakeshore design. Under the night skies, the illuminated home is showcased in all its glory.

Interior view of Lake Minnetonka

The interior view offers panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka.

A Million Dollar View

Through good teamwork, the homeowners' vision was brought to life.

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