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Hardscape Solutions: Small sanctuary

October 28, 2020 -  By

Company: LandCrafters
Location: Bayside, Wis.

The client wanted a Japanese-style garden in her backyard. LandCrafters gained the project from a referral and now maintains the property with weekly mowing, landscape care, spring and fall cleanups and snow removal.

A major challenge, says Michael Manke, landscape architect for LandCrafters, was access to the small 150-foot-wide by 90-foot-deep backyard. LandCrafters used a New Holland skid-steer loader
and hand labor. Crews used slings and a Bobcat mini excavator to move larger pieces like ornamental boulders.

Features include an imported Natsume granite basin and Kotoji stone lantern, a 10-foot by 12-foot tea house designed by architect David Miller and a rock garden. The patio, porch and walkway feature irregular bluestone. Aqua blue granite boulders and a gravel dry stream bed create the illusion of water. Manke says color is subtle and isn’t always used in an authentic Japanese garden. “You have to structure the plant material so only certain plants are blooming at certain times,” he says.

The homeowner entertains guests frequently, so LandCrafters installed the FX Luminaire Luxor system with 65 fixtures.

LandCrafters addressed drainage issues by redesigning the pitch of the backyard and connecting downspouts and a sump line to drainage tiles and creating swales.

This project earned LandCrafters a 2019 Silver Award from the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Awards of Excellence program.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

A new driveway and walkway highlight the front of the house. The front yard was also renovated with new plantings and FX Luminaire LED lighting. Existing paper birch and oak trees remained.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

This photo shows the north side yard prior to renovation with overgrown plants and drainage pipes.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

The double gate allows small equipment access to the side yard. Gravel beds along the foundation and an irregular bluestone path reflect the Japanese Zen garden theme.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

This before photo shows overgrown plants and a basic stoop and walkway.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

Natural edges highlight the bluestone walkway. Aqua blue boulders and lush green plantings keep with the overall theme.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

Barren strawberries, boxwood and a weeping Snow Fountains cherry tree are focal points of the front garden.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

The south side yard is the main path into the Zen garden. LandCrafters incorporated the old apple tree into the design because of its sculptural qualities. The path is custom granite steppers.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

A 48-inch tall Kotoji stone lantern bridges the dry stream bed area. A Caesar’s Brother Siberian iris and a Bloodgood Japanese maple frame the view to tea house.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

Prior to renovation, the back patio was a simple. LandCrafters kept the ash trees.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

Hostas, pachysandra, sedges and boxwood surround the main patio.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

A bubbling water feature in the foreground runs year-round to attract birds, which the client loves.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

Two existing mature willow trees provided a backdrop for the tea house placement.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

The bluestone patio, bridge and stone steppers direct you to the tea house. Fu dogs on the bluestone pedestals flank the entrance to the deck.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

The imported Natsume cleansing basin, arching wood bridge, dry stream bed and plants with rich green textures accent the tea house exterior. An existing willow hangs overhead.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

A natural-looking dry stream bed with perforated drain tile under it controls the backyard drainage. A weeping Norway spruce, Hesse cotoneaster and perennials add details to the Japanese garden.

Hardscape project (Photo: LandCrafters)

Photo: LandCrafters

An FX Luminaire Luxor system downlights the stone garden. Raked gravel represents ripples in water. Custom bamboo fencing creates walls to the garden.

Christina Herrick

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