Klement – Re-working a problem area with too much slope
Initially, they were thinking turf. In the end, a dry creek with landscaping to stabilize the bank became a more plausible answer. This dry creek bed handles hard rains, channeling excess water through both turf areas and landscaped sections.
Lee – An after picture
In this case, our customer had purchased a home and was left with some challenging problems. The prior home owner had built a wall that didn’t fit into the new home owners game plan. We were commisioned to take out the old and bring in the new. The wall was failing in spots and re-building it with out having a source for additional stone to match, was not an option. This renovation involved adding natural Limestone snap steps, pavered walkways, a patio, a pondless water feature and landscaping. The customer wanted rock instead of mulch to lessen maintenance. I’m still a mulch fan, especially when boulders are being utilized. The mulch adds contrast to the boulders and really allows them to stand out. For customers that are after reduced maintenance, this maybe the way to go. In time, proper placement of plantings will allow for nice contrast as they mature and fill in the river rocked areas.
Milbourn – Upper pond with Cranes
Here is one of my first ponds believe it or not. We used Windridge boulders as our stone, this is just a portion of the pond, in all we used some 70,000 lb’s of boulders.
Nice dry creek bed
The key to a truly natural look is to use a proper mix of stones. One doesn’t see only river rock in a creek bed. An assortment of small to large stones rewards the customer with a pleasing, excellent representation of a real creek bed. Placement of stones is important as well, one needs to have an eye for it. It’s taken us a lot of years to develop that eye for detail.
Our first clay bottomed lake project
Where do I begin? Well back in December of 2010 my wife and I purchased the acreage you see to the left. It encompassed some 3.5 acres which consisted of both semi wooded areas and large expanses of turf. Campbell’s nursery had done all of the landscaping up to that point and I must say they did a nice job on many of the trees. I quickly realized the true potential of this property and have made it my goal to turn this acreage into my own garden paradise. In the spring of 2010, we set about tearing out all the foundation plantings and hardscaping which surrounded the home. We broadened the beds, introduced a small water feature and installed new larger areas of pavered patio’s and walkways. We reconfigured the outdoor lighting and added new. We added a fire pit, a bridge over a dry creek bed and cleared pathways through the wooded areas for the kids.
Yet something was still missing…
Alas, after tactful communication and a great deal of begging, I convinced my wife that a pond, make that a small lake was in order. I’ve always wanted my own little fishing hole and I just don’t have the patients to fish, so it needs to be close and I need to get results! We also didn’t care to mow, and we definitely didn’t care to water all that grass. The planning encompassed installing a 1 acre lake with surrounding wild flower and native grasses in addition to some more naturalistic landscaping. This lake would allow for us to harvest rain water which we would irrigate the remaining turf with.
Prior to excavation, We hired Hampton Enterprises to move some of the largest trees so as not to kill them. We rented a large excavator from Murphy equipment to handle the primary excavation work. I have quite a few years now on excavators and have always felt quite comfortable behind the controls. Over the course of 3 long days we displaced roughly 3,000 yards of soil to other locations on our acreage. If we were to buy that amount of soil and have it brought in the bill would be a fortune!!! Yet, the excess soil was but a by product of the lake. The large berms which we built with the excess soil allowed for greater privacy and added interest in the landscape. The lake measures roughly 200′ by 100′ by 20′ deep in places. I was worried that I might have to line the lake with a rubber liner but at present I feel the lake has a high enough clay content that it will hold water quite nicely. We created terraces and sunk various natural elements to provide fish habitat. We laid the lake out so it would catch most of our rain runoff and we connected a portion of our downspouts to the lake to conserve that water as well. We have since added some 30 or more trees around the lake and have plans for more this spring. This will be an ongoing learning experience in keeping the lake as clear as possible. The trees will add shade to help combat algae. I plan on dying the water as well to help with that cause. An aeration system will also be added to help keep the lake as healthy as possible. In some of the best swimming areas, I intend to add sand for a better feel when walking across the bottom. I would be happy to discuss my thinking and or planning with anyone interested in adding something like this to their acreage. I will continue to make additions and post them here as our project continues to unfold. We have some wild ideas for a zip line that you will want to see. Stay tuned.
Pergola – Lighted with water feature
Outdoor structures add so many options to the outdoor environment. Here we have a covered structure with lighting and a water feature. Lots of interest, what a great way to whine down at the end of a hectic day.
Pergola as part of an outdoor room
Today the trend is to bring the living space outside. Here a pergola was used in conjunction with outdoor furniture and other amendities. As one can see, a classy yet comfortable look and feel is well within reach.
Poolside – Projects
As I said before, pools make our job easier. Look at the color and interest, couple that with the reflection off the water and you have a recipe for success.
Rose – Project before and afters
Well what do you think. We gutted the pond and built an entirely new one. Tree’s were added for shade and dimension. Plantings were changed to better fit the design and mood we were shooting for. Boulders and contours were added as a backbone to this landscape. Finally, lighting was introduced, which tied the whole project together and extended the use of this special area.
Tennity – A beginning… there was turf?
Here is what we started with in July. A basic back yard with a large expanse of turf and limited landscaping. The Tennity’s had quite the check list of needs. Our plan covered most of them, and we added a few additions along the way to bring the entire project together. To date this has been my toughest back yard renovation and most rewarding. I’ve learned a great deal from this project. Namely, with the right equipment, planning, and motivation, anything is possible.
Tennity – After pictures.
Here are some after installation photos. Note: the color both in bloom and foliage. Contrast is everywhere, and bold distinctions abound through this landscape. We installed a retaining wall for the elevation changed to accommodate the pool. As you can see we added a dry creek bed to eliminate trapped water. Then we installed a flagstone path to the golf course.
Water Feature Lighted
All water features look better under lights. Here the feature continues to add enjoyment into the evening hours.
Williams – Project before and afters
Privacy was gained through the installation of large trees, some topping out at 4″ caliper. We also utilized grade change through berming and boulder work to elevate our plantings. Elevation change also aided us in providing our customer with a nice water feature. Hardscaping in the form of pavers and castle wall added additional usable space to the back yard. A natural gas fire pit was installed to take the chill out of those cold Nebraska nights. Lastly, we installed lighting on both the landscaping, hardscaping, and the house itself. Here we did our best to better life for this uprooted Mizzu fan. May your ship sail strong on this ever present sea of red.