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Extended potential
Blending a home's exterior architecture with its outdoor space

Photos by Westhauser Photography

June 2016


Connected outdoor spaces become rooms subtly defined, with seat walls made of lannon stone in an ashlar pattern capped with bluestone and surrounding warmer-toned plantings.

Any residential landscape is potentially a feast for the eyes, especially in its blend of color and texture throughout hardscapes and plantings.

That thought was put into practice when Jim Drzewiecki of Cedarburg-based Ginkgo Leaf Studio extended not only a Fox Point home’s outdoor living potential, but also paid homage to the home’s architecture and history.


The existing updated tennis court becomes a place of relaxation for those viewing the action. The adjoining stone-lined hot tub eases into the rest of the hardscape.

Extending the centerpiece of an aging tennis court in the large, double-lot backyard, Drzewiecki designed a series of "rooms" with specific personalities that practically connect to the court, the house, natural areas at the far reaches of the property and with each other.

Drzewiecki says he drew from his architectural background and took cues from the home’s English Tudor style.

"There were a lot of Old World details to work with," he says, noting wood carvings over the fireplace, leaded glass windows, exterior lannon stone and a slate roof. "The owners wanted to establish a patio area in the backyard, and they wanted to work on the front yard. They also felt the front door wasn’t prominent enough."

Circular bordered bluestone makes the perfect transition from driveway to walkway. A plethora of textures and colors embodied in more bluestone are lined by colorful pops of summer flowers on one side and boxwood evergreens on the other.

The multifaceted work included creating diverse backyard spaces ranging from quiet seating and viewing areas to those lending themselves to grilling, dining and hot tub soaking. Pathways around a distinctive crab apple tree lead from the front door around to the backyard.

Drzewiecki carefully selected hardscapes and plantings to provide the perfect ambience. Lannon stone walls provide definition, while bluestone and slate pavers, stone chip and mulch add texture.

He says creating color and texture balance is part science, part client satisfaction. The result here is an array of elements, including orange yarrow, yellow black-eyed Susans, purple cones, impatiens and geraniums.

Landscape designer Jim Drzewiecki of Ginkgo Leaf Studio consulted with his client’s interior designer to extend the natural outdoor elements to wood and wicker furnishings throughout the exterior spaces.

Drzewiecki says he also incorporated colorful bark and berries that shine through gloomy winters and add to Wisconsin-friendly evergreens.

The project has helped restore the home’s legacy, says homeowner Jim Davis. The attorney, who purchased the property a few years ago, is researching the history of the 1936 residence. Davis has discovered far more than the fact that the home originally was owned by Ralph Evinrude, who served as the CEO of the outboard motor company his father founded.

Evinrude’s wife, Frances Langford, was a singer and entertainer with strong Hollywood ties.

"Apparently there was a photo of Frank Sinatra in the house at one time," Davis says. He added that the neighborhood grapevine has passed down an unconfirmed story that someone once heard "Ol’ Blue Eyes" singing happy birthday to Ralph.

Gardening and Landscaping Trends

Current gardening and landscaping trends reflect an interest in sustainability and personal history as well as finding new ways to incorporate color and texture.

Anne Marie Adams, customer service specialist of Ebert’s Greenhouse Village in Ixonia, points to three current trends:

Edibles in the Landscape

"Many people are now adding vegetables and herbs in their flower beds and gardens to create interest with fragrance, color and foliage," Adams says. She adds that "grow your own" food is

a rising trend, and some people with small yards are replacing front lawns to create those landscapes.

Planters on wheels and colorful ceramic pots add an attractive element.

Nostalgic Gardens

"You can grow plants in just about anything, including old sinks, suitcases and even bicycles," Adams explains. "You can take a favorite item from your grandmother and use it as a planter."

Nostalgic favorites such as foxgloves, begonias, peonies and hostas, she says, "remind us of earlier garden eras" that can become today’s memories.


Plants like cacti that "exhibit color and quirky texture" are intriguing to gardeners, Adams says. "In our climate zone, they can easily be over-wintered indoors and planted outdoors again in the heat of summer," she notes. M



This story ran in the June 2016 issue of: