Architectural Landscape Design Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Hardscape’

A Quiet Corner: Outdoor Living Spaces

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

There was a time in many parts of America, where using the outdoors for the dual purposes of dining and entertaining just wasn’t done. In rural America many people working on farms often stopped for a mid day “dinner” under the shade of the trees. But it was more for gaining the sustenance needed for the rest of the day’s work, not entertainment. You worked outdoors and you rested and lived indoors.

Now the garden can mean more than a vegetable or flower garden. It is a place or space to spend time on patios, pools, and decks, too. Now the term “Outdoor Rooms” has come to mean spaces that people use as outdoor living rooms.

If you have a good sized yard or a small suburban backyard it can be absolutely delightful to find a little nook and make it in to an outdoor living space. Our MN landscape designers and architects can help with a little landscaping to make a place for you to wander, reflect and gather for quiet chats or full scale entertaining.

Is there a space in your yard that you find yourself drawn to? We can create an outdoor “room” by enclosing a lawn with plantings, and adding some hardscapes; like pavers and patios, or stone retaining wall built into a bank, to gain more level space. If a European-style water garden or fountain is one of your ideas we can incorporate it and your other ideas into the plan.  Soon, it’s a table and chairs for dining or reclining, a built-in stone barbecue or fireplace and fire pit, for easy cooking, and a gazebo to sit and listen to the rain on the roof. You can add stone or brick walkways that lead to the different areas. Or add paths that direct you to more rooms with a pool, a birdbath, an arbor, or a rock or flower garden.

Call ALDMN today on 952-292-7712 to plan a pleasant backyard refuge.



Boulder Landscaping: Retaining Walls, Waterfalls, Cascading Pools

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Landscaping with boulders opens up a world of possibilities. Using only natural stone you can transform a landscape or solve many problems in a yard. When you use natural stone boulders you are designing an accent or landscape feature that will be a life long thing.

We have all seen landscapes where it appears that boulders were just taken off a truck and placed in the yard. Our landscape designers and architects will develop a specific plan with your yard in mind. They will place the boulders in such a way that it can look like Mother Nature did it herself. Or if you’re looking for a dramatic look boulder can be used to create stunning designs and applications.

What are some of the uses? Natural looking boulder retaining walls are one of the most popular retaining walls. They provide a great backdrop for brightly colored perennials, annuals and trees. You can also create planting beds or pockets in the boulder wall or you can make it a boulder bluff and keep going up a hill.

One of the most dramatic uses for boulders in a yard is to create a waterfall, a series of waterfalls, or a series of cascading pools. The placement of the boulders and the color really dictate how natural it will look and will emphasize the different colors of stone. Another common use for boulders is the railroad timber wall replacement; when timber means timber and the wall is literally falling down! When it’s rotting and white gray in color its time to replace it. Boulders work great! Plus they don’t have any of the arsenic that railroad timbers have had that can leach into the soil and be unsafe.

Our MN landscape design group would love to come to your house and plan your landscaping with you. Boulders can add to any yard, call us today to talk about how we could introduce them in your yard, 952-292-7717.

Great Curb Appeal Welcomes Family, Friends, and You!

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Curb appeal…does your house have it? It’s that charm that makes people take a second look and welcomes family and friends. If your front yard is inviting it will help guide your guests on how to enter your house, and even park their cars. Create a winding or straight hardscape walkway or sidewalk from the curb to the front porch with stepping stones, concrete, flagstone, pavers, or brick. Add a stone or brick courtyard for a place to meet and sit with family and friends. Color, texture, fragrance, and even a little whimsy, can make the trip to your welcome mat a pleasurable trip.

There may be some similar styles of houses in your neighborhood, or common rooflines, driveways and garages. What’s in front of your house can keep it from being lost in the sameness. By repeating your house’s colors and textures in retaining walls, driveways, sidewalks, you can blend your house and yard together like in a painting. Color draws the eye so you can use it in your building materials to redirect attention from garage doors and other areas you want to de-emphasize.

Your house can be individual with a well-designed plan to create year around appeal. Our MN landscape designers and architects will design a yard with you that makes people passing by take a second look. An interesting front yard also pays off monetarily as it increases the property value of a house. Great curb appeal is often what makes buyers take notice of a house and keeps them coming back

Planting flowers and shrubs that bloom throughout all the seasons will ensure that there is something that always draws attention and provides beauty for you. You can plant flowering border plants for spring, shrubs with red berries or red branches will brighten up the fall and provide a show all against the snow.

If you are interested in increasing your curb appeal call us today on 952-292-7717.

Retaining Walls Offer Solutions For The House on the Top of the Hill and the House At the Bottom of the Slope

Monday, June 20th, 2011

A hilltop house that is situated at the top of a hill can have a commanding vista: a gorgeous view of the surrounding properties, their landscape and gardens. But a potential downside due to the height and due to the exposure may be a lack of what many people want in a house…Privacy! A solution: Build retaining walls!

On the flip side of the coin, a house at the bottom of a slope, can share a similar problem with the lack of privacy. However, since water runs down hill there can be additional problems with surface drainage and a lack of light. A solution: Build retaining walls!

At Architectural Landscape design we will work with you to design the retaining walls that offer the best solution for your landscape and topography. We have experience with both types of landscapes and everything in between.

In the hilltop house we might create a flat, open space through excavating land, and constructing a retaining wall to hold back the soil and create flat sitting areas on a land platform. The probable outcome: The building of retaining walls creates a sizeable terrace with a flight of steps connecting it to the land below it.

In the house at the bottom of the slope we may design a series of retaining walls, which result in several shallow terraces rather than one high wall, so you won’t feel hemmed in. The probable outcome: The building of several retaining walls has helped open up the garden area, by shedding more light and making it feel welcoming.

Our Minnesota design team will do the design, the excavating and grading, and the installation of retaining walls. We are experienced and will help you design walls that meet your needs. Call us on 952-292-7717.


One Step, Two Steps, Three Steps, 4: Capitalizing on Small Inclines and Slopes in Your Landscape

Monday, June 20th, 2011

One or two steps in a sloping pathway or even a small incline can make an eye-catching design feature. Imaginative landscaping with steps can make a sloping lawn or incline into useable space. Obviously, adding more steps continues to call out that space. It may require stone or concrete work to create steps or decking to turn problem space into a practical garden space. In addition, adding some broad shallow steps can make an area that was difficult to use user-friendly for children and adults.

While steps are usually thought of as rectangular and positioned in a straight line, there are numerous variations that can be very interesting to the eye. For example, you could create curved steps coming off a circular terrace or the lawn. A truly dramatic stair would be to use a fan of wedge shaped steps going down in different directions to create a “grand double” staircase. Wedge steps can also be used simply to accommodate a change in direction. There is no magic for the number of steps to use, what you want and the space can indicate the right number.

We can work with you to tie in existing architectural details from your house or yard, or just add decorative details by edging the concrete with bricks, or adding vertical or horizontal stone pieces with the concrete. We are experienced Minnesota landscapers that have installed numerous hardscapes including sidewalks, stepping stones, decks, staircases, driveways, walkways, and paths with all of the different natural and stone materials available. A sloping lawn or small incline that can typically be regarded as a problem site offers many opportunities in our view. We’d love to talk with you about the possibilities and give you some new useable outdoor living space in your yard. Call us, Architectural Landscape Design in Minneapolis, on 952-292-7717.

Create Patios with a Sense of Place and Escape; MN Architectural Landscape Designers

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Walking out of a door into your yard provides a momentary picture or entryway to your landscape. A patio adjacent to your back door can create a powerful entry to your backyard providing people witha respite from the daily indoor chores. Using beautiful bluestone with a curved stone bench on a patio right outside your backdoor can create a powerful sense of place and escape.

Entrances to outdoor spaces have an effect on how they are viewed. Let’s say you are planning a patio some distance from your back door. Your interest in this location may be to bring family and friends further into the yard so you use all your space. As you walk on stone or brick steppers on a narrow winding pathway lined on each side with shrubs with large urns planted with annuals and grasses on stones along the path you might feel that you’re on a journey. That the end location is going to be mysterious because you can’t see the patio until you get there. At the end of the path there might be a natural stone patio or a red brick patio that looks like it’s been there for years. A sense of quiet may exist because of the physical location, different materials, and sense of being separate from your house.

Our skilled Minneapolis landscape design company can make your patio convey the “feel” you desire whether it’s a backdoor patio or a destination patio. We can effectively assess your property’s own physical conditions and make hardscape recommendations of bricks, concrete, or natural stone taking into consideration traffic, wear, weather, and drainage so you have a patio that adds to the sense of place in your yard. Call us today at 952-292-7717.