Finding a lake property with two boathouses – one wet and one dry – does not often happen! This property was overgrown and neglected, and our client envisioned its true potential. The client purchased the property, assembled their design team and planned to raze the existing home and rebuild, with hopes to have their new house as close to the lake as possible. Before construction began, the landscape architect assisted in acquiring the necessary state and local permits, and developed a landscape plan that included all of the client’s requests. The client wished to have all of the landscaping completed as the construction on the home was completed, which presented unique challenges.

With a tight timeline and working in conjunction with the builder, the landscape architect focused on the client’s numerous needs. They requested a spacious lakeside patio, complete with fire pit, to accommodate their Adirondack chairs and guests relaxing on a cool summer evening. Additional needs included a fenced lakeside yard to contain their dogs; a family friendly yard for their children; ample parking space for guests; preservation of the existing mature shade trees; stabilization of the shoreline; and an unobstructed view of the lake from their home. As they were building a screened outdoor kitchen and dining area five feet above existing grade, they also requested an adjacent patio for the occasional larger gathering – and screening of this space from the neighboring yard was essential.

Permits were granted for land disturbance and grading of more than 10,000 square feet, as well as for shoreline restoration. A failing concrete seawall was replaced with fieldstone boulders. A detailed grading and tree preservation plan was implemented to manage storm water runoff and protect the existing mature trees. The boathouse renovations required that rooftop rainwater be captured and contained. This was accomplished by installing two rain gardens. The upper level of the existing dry boathouse was completely removed and decked over, resulting in an unobstructed view of the lake. Exposing the lakeside lower level created some challenges along the side yards. With a local restriction of three-foot high retaining walls, a terracing approach was designed to accommodate a kitchen patio five feet above existing grade.

Meticulously navigating through the permitting and construction process, the landscape architect and design team were able to make this Delafield lake property a unique destination for this out-of-state client.

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