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Link side oasis
A koi pond and beautiful landscape create the perfect place to relax at this North Prairie home

Photos by Doug Edmunds

April 2013

Adirondack chairs are strategically placed to capture the vista of the Broadlands Golf Course.

There’s a hidden oasis next to the ninth hole of the Broadlands Golf Course in North Prairie. Golfers have nicknamed it the Blueberry House in reference to the exterior color, but the real attractions are the large water feature and beautiful flowerbeds on the property.

Bob and Sally Sytsma moved into the home in 2009 and have been working diligently ever since to beautify their landscape. Both are graduates of California Polytechnic State University in California, with degrees in horticulture and landscape design, respectively.

The pond and several of the garden beds were there when they moved in, but the couple have spent countless hours adding, replacing and enhancing the existing landscape. Sally Sytsma has planted close to 2,000 flower bulbs in the yard.

Although the work has been a labor of love, it has also been an educational process. "Even though we are well-versed in horticultural, the biggest learning curve for us was working with a koi pond and pond science," she says. "Working with fish, plants and water is very challenging, especially in this climate." They installed a heater and aerator in the pond so the fish can remain in their habitat year-round.

Beyond the water is the golf course. They planted mature trees and created a berm for privacy. A few "peak-a-boo" vistas were designed into the scheme to allow views of the course from their home. 

A curved pergola completes the sitting area next to the pond. An ash tree provides shade from the late afternoon sun. A large brick patio extends from the home to the water’s edge.

There are close to 10 different varieties of Irises surrounding the water feature, including one that Sally Sytsma’s grandmother hybridized by hand. "I have native and ornamental irises in the pond," she says.


Soothing sounds from the nearby pond provide background "music" for those gathering at the table.


This story ran in the April 2013 issue of: