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An Artful Adventure
By Carol McGarvey | Photography by Jack Coyier, courtesy Ted Lare Design + Build
home :: home & garden :: featured gardens

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The dynamic partnership of metal and stone creates a WOW factor in a peaceful rural setting.

Kathi and Larry Zimpleman can’t begin to tally the number of times they have heard the word “WOW” in reference to their stunning backyard at their rural Cumming home.

“We truly turned Ted Lare of Ted Lare Design + Build loose,” says Kathi.

“Initially I only wanted a spa and a fire pit,” Larry explains. “Then I decided, hey, this is the last time I’m going to do this, so go for it. The results are amazing. This is Ted thinking outside the box.”

A decade before, the couple hired Lare to install tall metal palm trees by a Kansas artist as a focal point in their yard. Last year they decided to go for something even more dramatic.

Working with metal

“In the past year or so, I have been playing around with metal,” Lare says. “It complements stone beautifully and is a departure from wood. Plus, besides being artistic, it’s maintenance-free.”

In addition to the artwork, he added a fire pit, a hot tub, and an outdoor kitchen for entertaining. The couple has lived in their home since 2001.

The couple’s sloping yard, because of the home’s walk-out lower level, gave Lare the perfect opportunity for a dramatic pergola-style entrance, which looks like metal waves over a limestone stairway leading to the lower level.

Moving waves

The waves, fabricated from Corten, a weathering steel, and also stainless steel, play off the palm trees in the distance. “The waves look as if they are trying to break away from the pergola,” Lare points out. “In the wind, the waves move in a kinetic way, and there actually is a bit of sound. It’s pretty fun.”

“Ted doesn’t like things perfectly balanced,” Larry says, “so the whole scenario has a sense of movement.” Lots of natural space surrounds the installation. The Zimplemans have 3½ acres around their home and bought 28 additional acres so there wouldn’t be construction behind them.

Larry and Kathi were fascinated by the process during four months of intensive work. “Every piece of stone was cut on-site.” Larry says. “Ted lines up the right people for each phase of the work and they know how to do it correctly.”

A large rectangular table with wicker chairs, a smaller round one, and a pub table and four stools made by Ron Johnston from tumbled rock are perfect for entertaining on the stone patio.

The couple used to entertain large groups when Larry was chairman at The Principal. Now that he’s retired, they prefer to host smaller groups.

There’s an outdoor television for game watching. A curved, barrel-style steel canopy covers the outdoor kitchen, which has two grills and a granite counter. Six Boston rockers around the fire pit are just right for enjoying an outdoor evening.

Landscaping color

Lots of bright pink and purple annuals and perennials grow on the patio in tall, oversize pots. Other plants include black-eyed Susans, petunias, New Guinea impatiens, Japanese maples, climbing clematis, and ornamental grasses, which sway in the breeze, adding to the sense of movement. Underground sprinklers handle the watering. The whole area is lit at night.

Autumn brings festive mums to add seasonal color. “It takes on a serene look in the winter,” Kathi says. The patio has heated coils, so snow melts off in the winter. The coils also make it easier to enjoy the hot tub.

Earlier project

An earlier project in the front of the home includes a gazebo—complete with TV and WiFi—and a dock for fishing in the pond, which is stocked with bass and bluegill. It’s the perfect place to watch sunsets, Larry says. Around the house, daylilies and hydrangeas add beauty and color.

“I was so lucky to get the opportunity to help create the new patio space,” Lare says. “It’s fun to have clients willing to try something new.”

Larry would like to add a small barn to the back of the property. “When they are ready, I have the plans,” the designer says with a chuckle.

Kathi notes, “Ted’s work looks as if it’s always been there. We wanted a place that feels special and feels like home.”

They got it.


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