A striped brown cat looking into a rocky dry creek filled with grasses and blooming red flowers.
  • Location: Longfellow, South Minneapolis
  • Property Type: Residential
  • Year: Summer 2020
  • Project Size: 2240 sq. ft.
  • Services: Design, Installation, Maintenance

About The Project

This blank slate backyard was a typical turf lawn with a perimeter of overgrown perennial beds. The client dreamed of a dynamic back garden oasis with playful gathering spaces and wanted moving through the space to feel like a journey with “pausing and stopping” spaces along the way. They asked us to remove the entire turf zone in favor of a fully planted yard with fruit trees. Pooling water from the sump pump needed to be redirected a safe distance from the house. Additionally, the client wanted to provide a stimulating space for their cats to explore.

Inspired by the pace and flow of Japanese tea gardens, we designed curvilinear gravel paths that meander through the space, connecting the existing deck to rustic gathering spaces in the garden while flowing gently through the changing vegetation and past serene niches designed for quiet contemplation. A mix of native flowering species and patches of low-mow fescue lawn provide a soft understory for the shapely shrubs and fruit trees. Existing turf was removed and repurposed on-site to create the undulating berms that give the flat site topological interest. A sculptural dry creek redirects water to a large rain garden that provides a visual centerpiece for the space.

Three seasons in, the barren backyard has been transformed into a vibrant oasis, buzzing with visiting pollinators while providing an engaging gathering place for people and prowling felines.



© Light Dark Landscape, LLC. – Minneapolis, MN