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Perfectly Peaceful
By Carol McGarvey | Photography by Jack Coyier, courtesy of Ted Lare Design + Build
home :: home & garden :: featured gardens

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For grilling a dinner for two or hosting a festive party for 250, their backyard is the go-to spot for a Glen Oaks couple.

A West Des Moines couple who built their home in the Glen Oaks development 12 years ago felt it was time for a bit of refreshing last year. Bushes and plantings were in need of updating, and hardscaping needed a new look.

“This area is special for us,” the wife says. “Here we enjoy a relaxed and stress-free place. We come out here, and the rest of the world melts away.”

Her husband agrees. “When people come down the steps into the backyard, the word they always say is WOW. You can count on it.”

The original patio had a sand base, and stones had become uneven in spots. Plus, it didn’t drain properly. Enter Ted Lare Design + Build for the win.

The couple talked to Ted Lare about working his magic. By putting stone pavers on a concrete base and adding drainage tubes, the result was a most pleasing look with practical underpinnings.

“We used honey gold stone pavers for redoing the swimming pool decking and smaller spa pool, along with new pavers for the front driveway,” Lare explains. His crews also refreshed the stairway down to the pool area and the sidewalk pavers along the side of the house. The wife worked with Artistic Ironworks to design a distinctive gate.

Special quiet spot

That quiet spot along the side of the house is special to the wife. “It’s my favorite quiet spot in the whole yard. Features include a restful metal bench from Lare’s garden center shop, along with a metal tree sculpture from the former Wicker and the Works and a colorful painted peace pole from a special friend. Nearby is a red metal stylized rabbit, which the couple produced with the late George Hans and his shop, the Pear Tree of Des Moines.

Along the rear foundation on the home’s walk-out lower level, Lare updated the plantings and added full-flower hydrangeas. Around the pool ornamental grasses sway in the breeze. Large pots and urns of colorful annuals add punches of color around the patio and pool decking. They are by Wright Tree Service.

Adding sparkle

For parties, the couple adds twinkle lights to the mature trees that provide a wall of privacy behind the patio, cutting off views from the nearby golf course.

Large market umbrellas add color and shade around the patio’s sitting areas. Two large wicker tables, each surrounded with six chairs, provide plenty of seating. “That’s the perfect size for a party,” the wife points out.

The wide-open, expansive view from the deck above the patio showcases the peaceful and serene setting below. It is the couple’s “happy place” after busy days.

Near the pool end is a special spot, an inviting guest house. The husband calls it his “Tommy Bahama” house. Inside are a seating area, a bar area, a full bath, and a guest bedroom, perfect for visitors. It’s not surprising, says the couple, that guests never want to leave—they feel as if they’re out in the woods.

Entry area

Lare also worked on the home’s front-entry area. “There’s a berm in the half-circle driveway. We removed older juniper trees, which allowed the Sargent crabapple trees with their colorful red berries to be seen. We also added numerous Knock Out roses. In the fall we plant bright mums and in the spring, colorful annuals, such as begonias and impatiens. It offers a lovely welcome to the home.”

“The whole thing turned out beautifully,” the husband says.

“We just love being out in nature,” says his wife. “It really is a special spot for us.”


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