When Phil and Diana Hegwood moved to their Urbandale property 22 years ago, they began an
ongoing project to turn their yard into their own little corner of paradise. “It was just a deep, 175-foot lot with two pin oaks and an apple tree,” Phil
explains. “Nothing spectacular at all.” For the record, all that has changed.
“A year later,” says Diana, “we had a pool for our kids and a shed. There were two decks with railroad ties, which were so popular at the time.” Thus began their working relationship with Shane Miller, now the owner of Iowa Outdoor Products in Urbandale.
New to town, Diana called several landscaping companies. Some didn’t call her back, and others were reluctant to tackle a pool. “I walked into Iowa Outdoor, visited with the owner, and talked to Shane, who was newly out of college. When I told them my plan for a pool, Shane immediately said the company could do that. Working with Holiday Pools, they did.”
The couple has worked with Miller over the past two decades to develop the yard in stages. From plantings to upgrading the concrete decking around the pool to removing the ties and adding sophisticated hardscaping, the yard has evolved.
“Besides getting a nicer look throughout the yard, Phil and Diana now have a more attractive and low-maintenance yard,” Miller points out. “A brick sidewalk and a couple steps from the gate entrance lead visitors into the yard. The three-level tiered deck now is set off with mortared limestone for a sophisticated look.” With last year’s mild winter, the company was able to work through the season.
New pool decking
For a classier look around the pool, his crews added random-design clay pavers in three colors over the concrete. Those extend into a ground-level patio area, where comfortable seating and a portable fire pit with a tabletop cover extend entertaining space. “Most people don’t realize that it’s a pretty easy process to go over concrete decking with another material,” he says. He points out that it is amazing how a plain look can be transformed into a much more sophisticated one with relative ease.
“And the really cool part is the mini golf putting green where kids’ play equipment used to sit,” Miller says. “That is a really, really fun touch.” Diana says the younger grandchildren like to put towels on the turf to sunbathe because it’s soft.
A large metal sun shape on the big stone wall acts as a focal centerpiece between the pool and the tiered decks. A light behind it adds a glow in the evening. To repeat the theme, the far end of the 8-foot-deep pool also has a sunburst shape imbedded in the brick under the diving board. The pool measures 16 by 38 feet.
As you can imagine, the pool and yard are magnets for the Hegwoods’ three children and seven grandchildren, who range from 5 to 18. “We love it that they all want to bring their friends here for parties,” Phil says. “The grandkids start at age 1 with water wings in the pool. It’s great. We definitely built all this with our family in mind. Literally, if you build it, they will come.”
“We absolutely live out here,” Diana points out. “We eat all our meals outside and enjoy music with the sound system. In the winter we come to the hot tub on the top part of the deck directly from the house. It’s literally one step into the tub.” A pergola over the hot tub area helps dapple the sun in the summer. To balance the look of the pergola, an arbor stands at the far end of the pool, and it is soon to be covered by deep purple clematis.
Phil, a semiretired pharmacist, works a couple days each week and has interests in two Medicap pharmacies in Dallas Center and Audubon. Diana retired from Joseph’s Jewelry downtown.
Plantings in the ground and in pots and baskets add bright pops of color in the yard. Around the perimeter fencing are
numerous hanging pots. Drip-line irrigation on the fence makes watering easier. Huge black pots rest on the limestone pillars
around the deck. Diana has filled them with plants such as Japanese forest grass, lobelia, wispy Diamond Frost euphorbia, and calibrachoa. Carolina lupine with its yellow flowers climbs trellises on the back fence. A gazing ball adds some shimmer, and a birdbath with a cherub decorates one corner of the property.
It was a gift from Diana’s mother.
Around the now-tall pin oaks are hostas and wedges of colorful impatiens. Around the yard are bee balm, daylilies,
hydrangeas, balloon flowers, Knock Out roses, and golden spirea. In big half
barrels are bright begonias, vinca vines, and
asparagus ferns. Large trellises on the deck add privacy and shield the afternoon sun.
Are they done? No way. Miller
already has incorporated the footings for the next phase, which will include a roof over one part of the deck, along with a
fireplace and an outdoor kitchen setup.
“We have friends with properties at various lakes, and that is wonderful,” Phil says. “But this is our lakefront property, and we love just walking out the door to it and using it every day.”