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Jumanji Drums

Rosetta Outcropping in Slate and Rosetta Dimensional Flagstone in Slate

Elegance in Simplicity

Dot this beautiful lake front property just north of Minneapolis and St Paul. The owner of this home had visited several Landscape suppliers in the area and at PatioTown came across a catalog that featured one of our projects on the cover. Later that week he called the manufacturer and my phone rang soon after. He wanted to get the project moving last fall but my schedule was tight so I initially referred him to a very credible installer with the ability to fit his schedule. Fortunately for me, the retaining wall plans he got from that company were a bit over complicated for his taste.

I was starting to hear the Jumanji drums in the back of my mind and I knew I had to re arrange my schedule to start this undertaking.

The structural retaining wall design I presented was simple but functional and our client came from the same common sense Midwestern background that I do. We saw eye to eye throughout the whole design process and like any large project, we discussed a few changes along the way. One thing we agreed on was the aesthetic we hoped to achieve. The surrounding landscape of old oaks and light forest cover set up an environment that felt rustic and using a straight faced traditional block did not seem to do the background justice.

I quickly discovered little was as it seemed on the surface. As we started digging an access route we found that this lot must have been the chosen place for a farmer’s rock pile years ago. Digging into hard clay laced with four to eighteen inch rocks would be par for the course here. We also found that the lake must have been much higher at some point because we found hard clay shelves abruptly turning into fine beach sand. This presented a problem when trying to build structural retaining walls. We had to dig down into the sand and clay then mix the two together and compact the mixture in order to create a uniform substrate. The logistical challenges mounted as we built roads to access specific areas then built over our roads and created new ones to avoid being painted into a corner. Battling with site conditions and logistical challenges, by mid November mother nature had a few tricks up her sleeve as well. By the time we had built the lower walls and started on the upper level the lake was beginning to freeze and multiple snowstorms threatened to end our season.

We did manage to complete Phase 1 before the season was ended by the big freeze. The drums are beating and I cannot wait to see the completion of this project in our next season!

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