Summer Staycation

Backyard design promotes relaxation and family time


Turkish Sunset, a natural stone that resembles slate, highlights the pool deck, which is nestled into the landscape by the natural topography of the property. 

With a towering woodland as his backdrop and environmental restrictions dictating the footprint of the project, landscape designer Peter Kudlata created a resort-worthy backyard for an Ozaukee County couple.

“There wasn’t really anything there besides the house and some shrub beds,” he says of the five-acre parcel near Lake Michigan.

The couple’s first wish was to put in a pool, but they expanded the project to include a pool house and a substantially larger pool, Kudlata says.

Kudlata designed the stone pool house, which includes a kitchen, dining and recreation spaces and a bathroom. His Flagstone Landscape Design team constructed the European-influenced structure — a first for the firm. Kudlata worked with Sup Design on the cabinets and an interior designer with fabric selections, but did all the rest of the design work. “Now it’s a huge family hangout,” he says. “The kids use it all year-round.”

The yard also includes a large play space, grilling and eating areas, and the pool. Using the natural topography of the property, Kudlata designed the pool into the hill, with retaining walls surrounding it for extra seating. The pool area includes a sun deck and hot tub with waterfall.

In order to accommodate Department of Natural Resources restrictions, Kudlata designed a dry river bed that facilitates drainage to Lake Michigan. Bold, colorful plantings ring the entertainment areas, and include a mixture of timed perennials and annuals.

Flagstone’s Peter Kudlata likes Karl Foerster feather reed grass (pictured above) for its upright, wheat-like appearance in the summer and white plumes in the winter. “Winter interest is the best part of ornamental grasses,” he notes.