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White Birch Project

Location: Cedar Lake. Traverse City, MI.

 Phew. This beauty is one for the books...
We were initially reached out for inquiry on a designed putting green and landscaping right on Cedar Lake, in Traverse City, Michigan. With it being only their second year of owning the home they were catching up on interior renovations and were starting to think more about their outside space.

We scheduled the onsite consultation and realized the opportunities with a blank canvas like this one. What started as a putting green and landscaping design quickly turned into a full exterior home renovation!




Where we started


When it comes to the property, and what our client wants, it is important to come up with  goals  and plan together.  The husband envisioned himself taking his breaks outside of his office and stepping into his own sanctuary for some peace throughout his day.  The wife was looking for a bit of landscaping on the steps since they definitely needed some love. She envisioned a natural landscaping design with wild flowers and grasses.


The Design

We first started off with a full 3D design to physically show our clients our vision and the potential the outside of their home had. We ended up going from a putting green to a full exterior home renovation! 

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Full 3D Design of property.. 

We began by solving problems the homeowners had.  Every project comes with a plan and the first step was beginning back to front to ensure a beautiful masterpiece with only a one entry-way backyard.


The Process

When we start a project we divided it into individual work areas. This is often done when a project is completed in parts than as a whole. Below we will go into each feature and show you from start to finish. 

Lake & Beach Front 

Step one was beautifying their lake entry way and extending it out further/getting it cleaned out. What started as a lake entry way for them to simply hop in and out of their boat, quickly transformed into their own beautiful private beach oasis. We added two step entry ways on either side, natural boulder retaining walls to help with the longevity of the beach area, and filled the space in with beach sand.

Irrigation & Soil Issues

The next task to overcome was the water issues that caused puddling that prevented grass from growing in their backyard. Of course, the tons of (gorgeous) birch trees shading their backyard didn't help, but keeping as many original natural elements in the space as possible was crucial. Regardless, we were determined to make it happen. We first started by installing french drainage, properly connecting gutters and leading the water to an appropriate area and properly leveled the entire backyard and used TONS (literally) of drainage stone to allow for proper drainage. We created a wonderful environment for their gorgeous grass to finally absolutely flourish!

The Drive

There was also constant soil erosion on their only access way to their backyard, which was approximately a 50 ft drop. During the rainy season this hill would quickly become a mound of mud and dragged all of that down hill to their backyard. They wanted an ATV driveway that could easily get them down but wouldn't have to be maintained (like a gravel driveway) each year and looked appealing to the eye... We designed a unique driveway with tons of draining stone, boulder retaining walls, and Techobloc's aqaustorm paver that was created for spaces much like this. Spaces that require anti-flooding and would suit the natural aesthetic they have going on.

Outdoor Patio

We moved and redesigned a practical fire pit space, inbetween a circle of trees in their backyard.
We also added grass detailing inbetween to bring a pop of color to the space.