conley6.gif (2529 bytes)


Defined spaces
Mequon landscaping project combines function, style and formality

Photos by Jim Charlton

April 2016


Little Quick Fire hydrangea bushes and a variety of colorful plantings and greenery surround a patio, and a barnwood pergola and stone wall mimic the home’s French country exterior. David Guthery of LandCrafters Inc. guided the formal flow to the yard’s natural settings.

A landscape project completed during a new home construction in Mequon achieved a twofold purpose: providing necessary drainage for a structure designed without gutters and downspouts as well as crafting attractive, multifaceted outdoor living spaces.

David Guthery, a designer and sales manager for LandCrafters Inc. in both Wauwatosa and New Berlin, was hired directly by the homeowner. He says being involved with construction onset is a rare advantage.

"In working with a builder, we look at the project from a different point of view," Guthery says. "In this case, where the home was built without gutters, it was essential."


A row of Fond du Lac Silver slabs bordered by Germantown pavers lead down to a patio of bluestone pavers extending to several formal living areas. Living room and dining areas are set off by red permeable brick pavers, which promote drainage to the subsoil.

With a special drainage system, LandCrafters devised runoff-friendly landscaping that included a maintenance strip of gray slate chips, compacted subsoil and perforated PVC pipes. The approximately 800-square-foot courtyard facing south on one side of the house includes a partially permeable strip of red pavers, providing drainage that can pool within the short walled-off area and creating a natural delineation between outdoor areas.

A pergola set over the dining area and functional outdoor furniture further define the two spaces, which share a large patio.

"The idea was to define the spaces and make them more intimate in the large space," Guthery explains.

Extending a half-story down from formal to rustic settings, a stairway is spiced with a base of orange gravel and lavender catmint spikes followed by yellow daylilies. The well-manicured lawn leads to a fire pit area, natural pond and several preserved white pine and spruce trees.

The formal courtyard contrasts the backyard’s natural setting. Large stone slabs step down to a grassy area, leading to a pond and a seating area perfect for a fire pit.

Throughout, Guthery took great care to provide simple, green shrubs and colorful bursts of perennials. Trees, including magnolia and pine, frame the overall yard and landscaped regions.

LandCrafters’ previous work attracted homeowner and client Dan Kanitz, an anesthesiologist who had landscaped other homes and wanted something unique.

"I wanted something that had a lot of texture with green on green and calm colors," says Kanitz, who instructed the builder to stay clear of the existing pines on the property.


A front door pathway of bluestone bordered by Germantown pavers is stylishly lit with LEDs, accentuating both the homeowner’s desire for simply elegant plantings and the home’s exterior.

Kanitz says the formal outdoor spaces provide a nice living and dining room extension during the warmer months, and the pond and other natural elements are a family favorite, as they attract a variety of wildlife.

"We have a multiacre conservancy to our west, and our landscaping is perfect because it looks like it’s been there a very long time," he concludes. M



This story ran in the April 2016 issue of: