A transformed landscape accents the authenticity of an ivy-covered Tudor.
This gracious 1926 brick Tudor in Wayzata looks right at home in its classic and timeless landscape, but it was not always so. When the homeowners began working with Meg Malde-Arnosti, a landscape architect at Windsor Companies of St. Paul, in the summer of 2006, they requested landscape assistance on multiple fronts.
Not only did the existing dual-entrance driveway take up space, it drained poorly, leaving pooled water on the surface and in side yards. The homeowners also wanted to create a greater sense of privacy by shielding their property from the street, transform a previously neglected side yard, and plant trees, shrubs, and flowers that would complement the house.
First order of business: that driveway. “We closed off one entrance and made a comfortable circle drive, enclosed by a row of thick arborvitaes,” says Malde-Arnosti. By using permeable layers of rock, she also addressed the drainage problems: “Layers of rock under the driveway and the grass circle are 3-feet deep, leaving plenty of air spaces for holding any water that falls onto the surface or melts from the snow. The water simply drains down into the driveway instead of pooling, as it used to do.” The new sweep of Chicago street pavers and rough brick cobblestones, installed by Meadowood Inc. of Plymouth, complements the home’s vintage face.
Malde-Arnosti also redesigned the front yard and entry. A once-awkward step up to a threshold of concrete steps was replaced by bluestone and elegant bullnose details. “Now the whole entry sequence is warm and inviting,” she says.
The home’s gracious terraces were ideal for entertaining and taking in the view, but overgrown shrubs previously obstructed sightlines to the lake. Malde-Arnosti turned her attention to creating flow among the outdoor rooms.
The pre-existing rear terraces were connected to the new side-yard terrace, located in a formerly eroded, forgotten area where air-conditioning units were stored. The new terrace blends with the original architecture of the house and includes steps leading to a garden path that wraps artfully around the house and eventually out to the dock on Lake Minnetonka. “The garden path winds gently through the side yard and creates a soft border for the lawn in back. We moved the dock to the side so as to not obscure the lake view,” says Malde-Arnosti.
Malde-Arnosti and the Windsor team carefully chose simple and understated hardscape materials—old brick, bluestone, and granite—to harmonize with the house. She used lush, tree-spaded arborvitaes to replace the old arborvitae hedge along the street and softened the driveway with graceful birch trees under-planted with pachysandra. Along the lake wall, a perennial garden blooms from spring through fall with peonies, phlox, allium, iris, lily, and Russian sage.
The emphasis on shades of green—arborvitaes, yews, pachysandras, hydrangeas, and climbing Boston ivy—makes for an intentionally spare plant palette. “The simple evergreens act as a backdrop for the colorful annual plantings and the big pots of flowers,” says Malde-Arnosti. “It’s like decorating a home’s interior with a neutral palette, which you accent with pillows and works of art.”
The result is a harmonious, elegant, and understated landscape that captured the attention of the judges at this year’s Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association competition, winning the coveted Grand Honor Award in the Residential Full Yard category.
Kate Crouse is an intern at Midwest Home.
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