Celebrate Fall with Last Minute Garden Tips and Oktoberfest!

October 6th, 2016

Crunchy leaves, apple pie and pumpkins abound…it must be fall in Minnesota! It’s our favorite time of year – great to check out festivals around the area AND a good time to plant perennials for next year’s landscape. Here are a few options for festivals, as well as some guidelines for fall garden care.


Landscape & Garden To-do List

Plant: It’s a great time to plant summer-blooming shrubs and vines, trees in containers and spring-blooming bulbs. Bulbs like lily, hyacinth and iris will bloom in the spring if covered with mulch to protect them from frigid winter temperatures.

Divide and conquer: Now is a good time to divide perennials and replant in areas to keep plants healthy and thriving. Wait until they’ve finished blooming for the season, then cut back foliage and cover with leaves and/or mulch.

Aerate: Lawns can benefit from aeration this time of year. The extra oxygen helps give the lawn a boost.


Oktoberfest and other Fall Festivals

Here’s a list of some of our favorite fall festivals – enjoy!

Oktoberfest in Waconia!

October 8, 2016, 12:00 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.

Traditional fun, food and beverages and music. Sat October 8th Noon to Midnight at the Carver County Fairgrounds

Entertainment building

$7 advance $12 at door

Tickets also get you in for the main drawing.

Polka band the Jolly Huntsmen 1pm-5pm

Joe Deithelm strolling accordion 5-8pm

Mix It DJ 8pm-12am German food, Beer & Liquor

Pull tabs

Hammers Schlagen

Car show (roll-in)


Twin Cities Oktoberfest – Saint Paul, MN – Oct 7 to Oct 8, 2016

This Minneapolis-St. Paul Oktoberfest provides two days of live music, dancers, brats and Summit Oktoberfest beer.

New Ulm Oktoberfest – New Ulm, MN – Oct 7 to Oct 15, 2016

The 35th Annual Minnesota Oktoberfest will take place at four locations in New Ulm on the first two weekends in October. The four locations are the Best Western Plus, Downtown New Ulm, Morgan Creek Vineyards and Schell’s Brewery. This has been ranked one of the top 25 events in Minnesota for many years. The Best Western Plus has two indoor band stage areas with German-style polka and bands playing party favorites for dancing. Downtown activities include horse-drawn trolley rides, hometown bands and tours of various buildings including the John Lind House, Hermann Monument, Schell’s Brewery and the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame. Don’t miss the 45 foot Musical Glockenspiel which is setup in the downtown area. Morgan Creek Vineyards generally has a Grape Stomp on the first Saturday of the festival.


Add a Soothing Vibe to your Backyard with a Water Feature

August 24th, 2016

Water features are a great way to add beauty and structure to your landscape – and there’s still time to install one this season! With several options to choose from, you can find a structural element to fit your style and lot size. Here are just a few ideas:


Flowing Fountains
Water flowing is a soothing way to add peace and tranquility to your landscape. Boulder fountains are popular now, or you can go the traditional route. Birds love them and they make a fantastic focal point in  your yard or landscape.

Ponds – Big or Small – With or Without Fish!

Big or small, a pond is a great way to add a water feature. It can stand alone or serve as a gathering pool from an adjoining stream. Add a water lily, some koi and a small bench and you’ve got a pleasant spot to relax.

Retaining Walls

For an unexpected feature,  incorporate a running stream into a retaining wall!

Fix for a Slope

A sloping yard can prove challenging for mowing and yard maintenance. Why not eliminate the hassle and install a water feature? The natural slope is ideal for one or more streams, gathering at the bottom with a pond or disappearing beneath the stones (to be recycled again at the top).

For more ideas to improve your landscape or garden, visit our website or find us on Facebook!

What is a Rain Garden? And Why are they Important?

June 8th, 2016

A Rain Garden is a shallow depression in the ground that allows water to slowly infiltrate the soil during rainstorms. Water also gathers in the garden from  rooftops, sidewals, driveways and patios. The garden serves as a natural filter to prevent pollutants from entering our lakes, rivers and streams.

“I like rain gardens because they are a great solution for reducing water runoff and can easily be incorporated into the landscape design,” says Tom Hoese, owner of Magnolia Landscape & Design. “They can be as simple as a low area in the yard with plantings selected for the soil and moisture conditions to a drainage system designed to accommodate the roof water and runoff from a property.”

Rain gardens act as a sponges, drawing water into the soil and help replenish the groundwater supply. Native plants are ideal for rain gardens because they are beautiful, hardy and deep-rooted… and they help attract birds and butterflies.

For more information on rain gardens, check out the University of Minnesota Extension office or this guide from Better Homes and Gardens.

Rock Your Backyard with Outdoor Speaker Systems

May 11th, 2016

We saw an outdoor speaker system at the Northern Green Expo this winter that grabbed our attention. Essentially, it’s a high quality speaker system with a subwoofer that – get this – is buried in your yard, using the density of the soil to enhance the sound.  How cool is that?!

Subterrain woofers use the density of the soil to enhance sound.

The subwoofer, paired with 2 or 4 speakers, gives you a great outdoor sound system easily played via any Bluetooth device. And, you can design it to direct sound toward your entertaining space to avoid irritating the neighbors while you rock out (or just invite them to join you!)

Some outdoor speakers are built into "rocks" to blend easily into the landscape.

Once we started thinking about this, we looked for other ideas for backyard sound systems. Here are a few more – including floating speakers for swimming pools.

Designed to float along on the surface while you lounge in the pool, bath, or hot tub, the iSplash Floating Pool Speaker is a high-quality waterproof speaker that streams your favorite digital tunes from any Bluetooth-compatible device with a range of over 30 feet.

“I’m excited about the new technology that allows you to control features such as landscape lighting and irrigation with your tablet or phone,” says Alan Sanford, our foreman and project manager.

Studio Total (ST) is a small Scandinavian creative lab that’s working with experimental studio Pjadad to create the first loudspeaker that you can actually sit in. The AudioOrb is a large, spherical space made of Plexiglas that also serves to block out all outside noise. Inside, there are 18 mounted speakers ready to give you the ultimate audiophile experience.

3 Things to Consider When Planning Your Outdoor Kitchen

March 31st, 2016
Outdoor dining and cooking has become a staple in backyard entertaining spaces, and we love to design and install them!
Here are a few tips from Tyler, a landscape designer on our team:  ”The placement of the grill or outdoor kitchen deserves more thought than I think it typically receives.” says Tyler Wortz, landscape designer at Magnolia. “So often, the Grill Master is stuck in a corner somewhere with his/her back to the party.”
Here are 3 tips for perfect outdoor kitchen placement:
1. If the space allows, it’s great when a grill station allows the cook to face the dining area and be more included in the socializing that often comes with outdoor dining.  A built-in grill in an island with some counter or bar top space is a great solution.
2. Even without a full built in,  it’s important to keep the cooking area relatively close to the kitchen access (without putting it in any common window views). This placement will make those multiple trips to the kitchen (for meats, seasonings, plates and proper Grill Master refreshments), as short as possible!
3. Keep drinks close at hand by installing a refrigerator close to the cooking station, too. You can keep beverages, vegetables and meats cold and fresh until grilling time.
For more ideas on planning YOUR dream outdoor kitchen, visit our website or contact us for a free consultation!

Weddings, Graduations and Reunions, Oh My!

February 26th, 2016

It’s almost here… Spring is just around the corner, and with it comes lots of outdoor activity. Will your yard and landscape be ready? If not, we can help with that!

We love to transform backyards, front yards, decks and patios into beautiful outdoor living spaces. Whether it’s an outdoor kitchen, fire pit or swimming pool, we can make your landscape dreams come true.

Contact us now and let’s get started with planning. Then, when the frost is out, we’ll get started and you’ll be ready to welcome guests.

Move over Man Cave, it’s Time for a She Shed!

January 28th, 2016

Have you seen one of the latest backyard trends? They’re called She Sheds! Whether you clear out an existing, neglected shed or build a new one from scratch, She Sheds are a great place for women to read, craft, garden, nap or just hang out with friends.

You can add character and save materials from the landfill by repurposing windows, lumber, fencing and more.  Winter is a great time to dream about and plan your new landscape project. Need inspiration? We found lots of options online – here are just a few!

Embrace Minnesota Winter at the St. Paul Winter Carnival!

Going on now through February 6, the St. Paul Winter Carnival offers lots of fun and activities for all ages. For those of us 21+, enjoy a cool beverage at the Ice Bar sponsored by Summit Brewing Company and Cannon River Winery. Family events include the WinterSkate and Memorabilia Display, or zooming down the giant snow slide at Snow Park on the MN State Fairgrounds. Check the website for more details.

Come and see us at these Home & Garden Shows!

  • Saturday, Jan 30 - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Home Improvement & Design Expo – Canterbury Park, Shakopee MN
  • Sunday, Feb 21 - 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – West Metro Home Remodeling Fair – Eisenhower Community Center, Hopkins
  • Saturday, March 5 - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Home, Landscape & Wellness Expo – Chanhassen High School
  • Saturday, March 19 - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Home, Landscape & Garden Expo – Grace Church, Eden Prairie MN
  • Saturday, April 2  - 9 .m. to 2 p.m. – Home, Garden & More Show – Savage Sports Center, Savage MN
  • Friday & Saturday - April 8 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. / April 9 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Plymouth Home Expo – Plymouth Creek Center





Winter Tips for Paver and Outdoor Kitchen Care

December 30th, 2015

Winter has finally arrived, with cold temperatures, ice and snow. Protect your landscape investment by taking special care of your brick pavers and outdoor kitchens. Here are a few tips:

Brick Paver Winter Care:

You love your brick paver walkway, patio or driveway, right? But did you know throwing down salt for icy patches can damage and/or discolor the surface?

Here’s why:  Rock salt holds moisture.  When it seeps into the pores of the brick pavers, and eventually freezes again, it expands by 9%, causing pop marks and the possibility of the top layer cracking off. When a brick driveway is sealed, it will absorb far less moisture and will last a bit longer… but we still advise against the use of salt.

What’s the alternative? There are two:

1. Magnesium Chloride is an effective alternative, and when used properly will not damage concrete brick pavers or surrounding landscapes. Yes, it’s more expensive, but will be worth the extra cost in the long run.

2. Play sand is a natural, low cost solution that will give additional traction and lasts a long time, with relatively easy clean up in the spring.

Winter Care for Outdoor Kitchens:

Fridges, outdoor grills, televisions and other equipment requiring electrical input are very susceptible to extreme cold and freezing moisture. Here are some tips to avoid damage to your appliances and tech over the winter months:

  • Cover granite counter tops to avoid snow and ice accumulation, which may cause damge
  • Shut off water that goes to your outdoor living areas
  • Drain all water lines
  • Shut off power to electrically powered units
  • Thoroughly clean cabinets and appliances


Still deciding what to do on New Year’s Eve?

We found these ideas on TwinCities.com for outdoor ideas around the metro area:

  • Dakota County’s Lebanon Hills Regional Park, 860 Cliff Road, Eagan, will be offering candlelight hiking, snowshoeing and ice skating, sledding on a lit hill, bonfires, live animals, storytelling, magic and a ball drop at its New Year’s Eve in the Wild, 5-8 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door.
  • A New Year’s Eve Candlelight Walk is also being offered at Fort Snelling State Park, 101 Snelling Lake Road, St. Paul, 4-8 p.m., with bonfires and candlelit trails. Park permit required.
  • The Wells Fargo WinterSkate rink next to the Landmark Center, 75 Fifth St., St. Paul, will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. It’s free to skate, although skate rentals are $4 unless you have a Wells Fargo debit or credit card.
  • The Roseville Skating Center, 2661 Civic Center Drive, Roseville, will be open from 2:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday for a New Year’s Eve on Ice event. You can skate indoors in the arena or outdoors on the Olympic-size oval. Party favors and a countdown at 9:30 p.m. are scheduled. Admission is $7, or $10 for both admission and skate rental.
  • Afton Alps, 6600 Peller Ave., Hastings, is scheduled to be open for skiing until midnight on New Year’s Eve, with food and beverage specials and live music. The fireworks go off at 9 p.m. Lift tickets cost $56.
  • Or you can end the year on the run. The Running Room store in Apple Valley is putting on a Resolution Run 5K that starts at 5:30 p.m. at the store at 15052 Gleason Path, Unit 104, Apple Valley. Cost is $40.

Creating a Winter Wonderland in Your Back (or Front) Yard

December 1st, 2015

One of the great things about living in Minnesota is the opportunity to enjoy all 4 seasons. Turning the calendar page to December means parties, concerts, shopping, cooking, baking and eating!

Looking outside, you might be thinking about creating a cozy, inviting landscape for the long winter months. Here are a few ideas to inspire you!

Twinkling fairy lights at the base of containers or ornamental grasses create a dreamy landscape.

What a great idea for your backyard patio! Net lighting over an outdoor table, complete with a globe "chandelier" overhead.

Make these ice globes to line your sideway, driveway or backyard trails.

Use fairy lights at the base of containers, too.


No room for a fire pit? How about a fire bowl?

October 30th, 2015

Have you heard of a fire bowl? It’s a great alternative to a fire pit if you’re tight on space in your backyard. We can design and build a patio, like this one pictured below, with room for a fire bowl and plenty of seating.  With a flexible design like this, your space can be changed as needed. You can move the fire bowl out and bring in a dining set for larger groups, or keep the fire pit in place for s’mores on chilly autumn evenings.

If you’re interested in building one, give us a call and we can get you on the calendar first thing in the spring… or maybe even fit you in before the snow flies!

Update on Alan (aka Superman)

He’s doing well, continuing chemotherapy and is visiting the Mayo Clinic in November for more tests.

We’re excited for a fundraising event coming up for Alan & his family and we’d love to see you there! Waconia Brewing Company is hosting their Drink One Down for the Town event and we are matching $2 on each glass of beer sold. Alan & his family will get $4 for each beer – $2 from WBC and $2 from us! It’s on November 17 at the Waconia Brewing Company. Check out their Facebook page for more information.

You’ve heard about our beekeeping… now we’ve harvested the honey and finding all sorts of ways to use it in fall baking and canning. We love this cookbook, not because we’re against grains, but because she uses honey and almond flour in most of her recipes. We made the pumpkin muffins last weekend – healthy and yummy!

We found this handy chart on Pinterest (from the Pink Sprinkle blog) as a guide to substitute honey for sugar:

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