This client approached our company with a specific goal in mind: to create a sitting area near the lakeshore where their family could enjoy bonfires and a beautiful lakeside view. Maintenance of the steep grass hill was another concern for the homeowner, who experienced difficulties mowing the steep slope. Our designers worked with the county to develop a solution that would increase functionality and positively impact the habitat for wildlife as well as the water quality of the lake.
Many people don’t realize the negative effects of turf lawns near lakes. Water flowing over lawn surfaces picks up more dirt, pesticides, toxic chemicals, pet waste, and other pollutants than a naturally vegetated shore. Our lakes, wetlands, and streams need healthy shoreline buffers to reduce and filter rainwater runoff. Natural shores not only reduce runoff but also help stabilize lakes and riverbanks, reducing erosion and sedimentation. A natural shoreline is more than an aesthetic buffer for the water; it is a complex ecosystem that provides habitat for fish and wildlife and protects water quality for the entire lake.
For these reasons, we came up with a much more natural design to replace the turf on the hillside. We planted native trees, shrubs, perennials & prairie grasses that will eventually spread across the hillside and help filter rainwater runoff while preventing erosion with their deeper root systems. We placed outcropping boulders and wood mulch to fill in between the native plantings in the meantime. Natural stone steps were also placed down the hillside to provide direct access to the new paver patio and fire pit. The end result: a lakeshore that is not only more functional and attractive, but also more eco-friendly.
After completing the landscaping for the front of this client’s home over the previous couple of years, it was time to move to the backyard this past year. The homeowner requested a unique water feature along with some patio areas for grilling and family gatherings.
In order to carry on the theme from the front yard, natural stone was used as the main building material as pictured with the retaining walls, outcropping steps and pondless stream water feature. Paver walkways connect the large lower paver patio and fire pit to the stone steps parallel to the water feature and up to another small patio next to the garage.
The next step was adding a variety of plant material to compliment the hardscapes. Large trees were spaded in to create some instant shade around the lower patio. Several types of shrubs, perennials & ornamental grasses are colorful accents throughout the landscape. Low voltage lighting along the water feature and walkways was the final touch to complete the landscape.
Not Your Average Sidewalk
This was a rewarding project to work on for both the designers and the crew. We were approached to come up with a way for a young lady in a wheelchair to safely get in and out of her home unassisted. Our designers got right to work, using a computer design program to help lay out the dimensions and elevations of the project. Construction began with removing the existing concrete sidewalk and step. Next, the crew built a small retaining wall in order to raise the grade of a portion of the yard to the same level as the door. This allowed them to install a new paver ramp smooth enough and wide enough for easy access from the driveway up to the door. A flowering hydrangea tree accents the new planting space created between the sidewalk and driveway along with a variety of colorful shrubs and accent boulders. It certainly made our day when the homeowner sent us a picture of his daughter, after the project was completed, grinning from ear to ear as she made her way into the house all by herself.