Designer Portfolio: Outdoor Renovations

Filed in In This Issue, Landscaping by on December 27, 2016




By Jackie Jenson


With a slogan like, “Creating an Environment Beyond the Basics,” Marie and Rick Jacobson’s Outdoor Renovations Landscape and Nursery has been in the business of creating stunning, functional and multi-purpose landscaping options for more than 25 years. Starting with three employees in 1988, today they utilize a staff of eleven to accomplish their many landscaping projects. In 1999, landscape architect and horticulturist Matt Hoen came on board, helping the earth moving company grow in different directions, incorporating form, space and sustainability efforts into their work.


Based in Underwood and servicing Northwestern Minnesota, Outdoor Renovations provides a whole host of landscaping services such as walkways, patios, driveways, retaining walls, irrigation systems, shoreline rip rap, design work and much more. They also have a full service nursery, offering a large variety of plants and décor. Some of the items they carry include trees – shade, evergreens, and fruit; shrubs; perennials for every season; colorful annuals; fresh herbs; vegetables; bedding and water plants; potting soil and various mulches. They also have outdoor furniture, fountains, arbors, unique pottery, gardening books, birding supplies, seeds, tools, and gift items.




Q & A with Matt Hoen


Who are your clients? The majority of our customers are lake home owners. We do a small amount of residential and commercial work too. On average 80 % of our work is lake properties, 15% residential and 5% commercial.


What surrounding areas do you service? We service all of Otter Tail, Grant, Douglas, and Becker counties: along with some work in North Dakota, the Minneapolis metro area, and the Brainerd lakes area.




What landscaping services do you provide? We really do anything associated with landscaping.


We do design work; paver and flagstone patios; driveways including permeable pavers; natural stone and pre-cast retaining walls; planting; skid steer and backhoe work. We also do irrigation, lighting; pergolas; outdoor kitchens, wood and gas fire tables and pits; edging; as well as hydro-seeding, sodding, drill seeding.


How has your business changed through the years?


Our business has grown from a crew of three to a full service nursery and 11 landscape employees. We have found many of our customers love the fact that we can facilitate all of their needs without having to find any other subcontractors. Many of our projects have grown substantially in size over the years.




How has the addition of and architect / horticulturist enhanced your business?


Design work has allowed us to provide more unique and creative options for our customers. We now can address space, form, sustainability, and aesthetic solutions which are just a few of the overall concepts we can offer that are unique to our company.


What are the trends in landscaping today versus a decade ago?


Size and scope of the projects has been the biggest change. People are spending more time in their back yards. They are also are putting the investment into outdoor spaces they can use and be proud of. Things like outdoor kitchens and fire pits are popular. Permeable paving stones are also growing in popularity too due to impervious surface regulations.




How can a homeowner make a big splash with their landscaping?


Homeowners can get a great bang for the buck by simply re-doing edging and plant material around their home by using creative bed liners, boulders, mulch, rock, and plant material.


What are some of the mistakes homeowners make when landscaping a new home?


One of the most common mistakes is not letting the soil around the foundation settle before installing walls and patios. Not understanding the mature size of plant material and using too much plant material is another issue. Also, not taking advantage of house’s “fresh slate” to do something creative can be a mistake.




What are some of the newer landscaping materials your company is utilizing today?


Larger pavers are definitely in now. We have also been using a lot of tumbled pavers. I also believe the trend is moving toward natural stone walls versus precast walls. Fire tables are very popular today. What goes into crafting a distinctive one? Unique fire tables would have colored glass and possibly be surrounded in natural stone.




What goes into creating a functional as well as fashionable outdoor kitchen?


Outdoor kitchens would have a built in gas grill as well as a charcoal grill (Primo grill) and possibly a wood-fired oven. Other appliances include a trash area, side burner for the grill, lights, beverage station, stainless steel drawers, and granite counter tops.



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