North Shore Stream and Pond – Minnesota

Up North Inspiration

On this project the homeowner wanted to bring some of the Northern Minnesota vibe to their suburban backyard.  This South facing backyard has a North facing slope with mature tree cover, making this one of the most difficult locations to plant.  Taconite boulders and slabs were brought in to recreate iron range geology as a base for this babbling stream and series of small falls.


Private Residence – Plymouth, Minnesota

Sights and Sounds

We place a great deal of focus on creating an experience.  We wanted this project to bring the homeowner to a different place and help wash away the noise and stress of big city living. A large initial spillway from the stream berth makes a nice rumbling sound while the chirps and bubbles of the stream as it meanders to the pond make a peaceful melody.  Woodland plantings along with some sunnier loving species cover this entire hillside with native plants and cultivars.  Something is always in bloom.

Aquascape / Environment

Northern Minnesota inspired, it required us to bring 20+ Tons of fieldstone and Taconite slabs to build this pond and stream.  Native plantings dot every inch of this backyard space to recreate that North shore aesthetic.  Iris, marsh marigold, and other aquatic plants provide filtration of the water.

System Function

Starting at the main 2000 gallon pond at the bottom left, water enters through a skimmer to remove leaves and other large solids. From the skimmer, an energy efficient pump moves the water through solid pvc piping to the top of the waterfall.  A hand built boulder weir is used to spill water almost two feet into a secondary small pond, no plastic weirs for us.  From the second smaller pond, water flows around 40 feet through the stream as it wraps around the patio and firepit to return to the main pond.  This cycle filters the pond once per hour.


Due to the challenging nature of the lighting on the site, from bright full sun to full shade made for some trial and error with some of the plants. After removing and replacing a few of the plants and some tweaks to the stream and falls, the whole project is developing wonderfully.  A peaceful north shore retreat in the city!

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