Case Studies

A Rustic Retreat

The existing home is built in the style of a Colorado Mountain lodge. It combines elements of rustic and rural with a contemporary, organic flow. Our charge was to add a pool, spa, pool house and pond in keeping with the home’s aesthetic.

In order to avoid the formality of fencing in the yard, we opted for an automatic safety cover for the pool, which necessitated a rectangular shaped pool. Although a rectangular pool is rather formal, we employed several strategies to diffuse the pool’s formality and maintain the rustic and organic environment sought by the client. Stamped and stained concrete was chosen for the paved area around the pool. To avoid too much focus on the shape of the pool, we did not use coping around the pool. Instead, special concrete forms were employed to pour the concrete right to the pool’s edge and give it a bull-nose finish. Control joints (or seams) are an important part of a concrete patio. Again, we avoided the straight, formal control joint lines one typically sees and special forms were built to allow for radial, or curve-linear control joints.

Of course, the architectural style of the pool house perfectly mimicked that of the original home. We also employed boulders and natural stone treads as well as clay-colored concrete stain to maintain the rustic, natural look. Plant materials were selected to further the look and feel of a western lodge resort.

Another hurdle to overcome on this project was that all of these features had to be built within a drainage swale on the property. To allow the water to continue to drain properly; we built an elaborate system of catch basins and 8” subsurface tiles to carry water from the back of the property, under the pool deck and pond, and out to the front drainage basins.

The final challenge to come was excavating for the pool. Around 6’ down, we hit bedrock. A large excavator had to be brought in to finish digging the last 3 ½’ feet to reach the correct depth for a diving pool.

In the end, you can see, despite the design and construction challenges we faced, the rustic retreat appears perfectly situated in the home’s rear yard—as if it had always been there. It is truly a retreat for the clients, their family and friends.


Custom Water Feature with a Unique Challenge

Pushing the envelope on what could be done with a water feature took on a different meaning with this project. Not only did the client want the sound of water, they also wanted the upper pond to come right up to the patio’s edge. This was accomplished by excavation and installing a massive concrete retaining wall underneath the patio to hold up the 2,200 sq. ft. patio. To provide a different element to this Landscaping and Construction for Fine Outdoor Living

The outdoor structure provides the client with outdoor entertaining space as well as a cooking area. Our client requested an outdoor area where they could entertain in various weather conditions. They also wanted to feel nestled into the back yard space, but open to the pool area of the back yard. The covered structure was designed to incorporate a two-sided fireplace that can be enjoyed from within the structure as well as on the outside of the structure near the water feature. The design of the structure’s roofline and arched elements were pulled from the existing home in order to complement its architecture. The flooring inside the structure is mortared bluestone to provide a visual separation from the main patio and pool areas. The kitchen is fully functional with a built-in grill, cabinetry and a dry sink. The client has furnished the outdoor living space with area rugs and comfortable furniture for three-season enjoyment!


Commercial Property Landscape Design and Build with LandKeeping

Landscape design-build and management began on this 130-acre property in 2007 with the installation of over two thousand woody and herbaceous plants. The client is Aileron, a unique organization that provides inspiration and guidance to entrepreneurs of privately-owned busineses.  All of the grounds, including turf, landscaping a sixty-acre prairie two miles of walking trails, and an island, which requires a boat for access, are the responsibility of Grunder Landscaping Company. The client’s desire to maintain a creative and contemplative environment for visitors, using a theme garden, prairie, and gently meandering woodland trails requires meticulous attention.

The greatest challenge is that the majority of the maintenance must be completed after 5:00 PM and on weekends. It is the request of the client that there is no noise or distractions during the business hours so that their visitors may concentrate on learning.

As part of the landscape management schedule, this property receives a spring clean up, which is comprised of edging all beds and applying a balanced fertilizer to all applicable planting areas. At this time, plus two additional times per year, the mulch is turned to promote aerobic activity and improve appearance. If necessary, additional mulch is added to maintain a depth of two inches in accordance with industry standards. No formal shearing is performed; instead all ornamental plants are selectively pruned by hand to provide a natural appearance. A local certified arborist is on call to administer the pruning of trees, which is supervised by Grunder Landscaping Company. The turf area, except for the grassroad pavers, receives five nutrient applications annually and is aerated in the fall.

The unique solution to overflow parking was the installation of a two-acre parking lot constructed of grassroad pavers using a blend of tall fescue ideally suited to the region. The restricted root zone and unpredictable traffic pattern requires continual monitoring of moisture, nitrogen, and other nutrients in order to maintain the desired lush green appearance. The irrigation system is fed by a pond and a wetland stream helps to filter the water. The sixty-acre native prairie is now in its third year of development. A regional restoration company provides guidance for the continued management and improvement of this area. These are a few elements that support the client receiving the distinguished certification of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

The Passion Garden includes more than 40 plant species. These plants have red foliage and/or red flowers to fuel the passion to become a leader. Walkways give the visitors an opportunity to spend time considering their personal goals. Perennials are inspected continuously and any necessary cultural practices are performed at this time.

Wildlife continues to be a challenge at this site. Environmentally friendly pest control is used as well as the enthusiastic efforts of a Border Collie named “Blue.”