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Outdoor Kitchens Ideas in Minnesota

Outdoor kitchens come in many shapes and sizes! They have become our highest demand outdoor elements over the past 10 years. Minnesotans have a very small window of time each year to spend outdoors, so being able to cook and entertain outside is essential!

Yardscapes Limestone Outdoor Kitchen Bloomington Minnesota

This charming “cottage feeling” backyard has a beautiful outdoor kitchen with mortared flagstone and bluestone countertop.

There is a lot to think about when you start designing your outdoor kitchen, especially in Minnesota!  Are you going to want to use it more than just the summer months? What type of stone or product suits the style of your home; so it ties in all of the design elements together? Do you plan to use this space to create more than food, what types of appliance will you need? How large is your space – do you have any space constraints? Will you need to incorporate a bar for guest to sit at?  Let’s dive into all these questions a little bit more!

Yardscapes Outdoor Kitchen and Firepit Saint Paul Minnesota

This home in St. Paul, MN lacked an entertaining space. Yardscapes was able to create it all with a large outdoor kitchen, pizza oven, gas fireplace, and gas fire pit.

Are you going to want to use it more than just the summer months? 

If so, then you will want to think about placement of your outdoor kitchen. Most likely you will want it closer to an access door so you can run out in freezing temperatures. You probably already shovel your front walkway and driveway and you probably don’t want to throw your back out shoveling to get to the grill too! If you don’t tend to grill in the winter (why not?) then placing it close to the house may not be as important but do keep in mind that you will be carrying a bazillion things out in the summer to entertain. I’d highly recommend hiring someone that is knowledgeable in constructing outdoor kitchens; you will run into city codes and building codes that will need to be followed to make your outdoor kitchen safe.

Yardscapes Custom Metal Outdoor Kitchen Eden Prairie Minnesota

This custom metal outdoor kitchen was constructed on a raised deck outside their kitchen door for easy access and it is aesthetically pleasing as well.

What type of stone or product suits the style of your home, so it ties all the design elements together?

We like to mix it up with materials used on outdoor kitchens, but we typically use a natural stone mortared over block footings with combinations of custom metal legs or details to make it unique to your property. Outdoor kitchens can get quite large in scale, depending on what your intended use is, so we really try to blend the outdoor kitchen into the architecture of the home.

Yardscapes River Rock Outdoor Kitchen and Fireplace Orono Minnesota

This beautiful river rock fireplace and outdoor kitchen are the perfect combination for this outdoor entertaining space.

Do you plan to use this space to create more than food? What types of appliances will you need? 

There are so many great appliances for outdoor use these days. Even if you only plan on grilling in your outdoor kitchen, you still must decide on your fuel source: gas, charcoal or both. If gas, then a gas line usually needs to be ran, unless you plan to change out propane tanks. I would suggest running a gas line for ease of use if you can find it within your budget. Other clients may want to use it more for entertaining and would like to incorporate refrigerators, freezers, or ice makers. Both woodfire and gas pizza ovens have become popular as well. My mouth is water talking about an outdoor pizza party! What about shelving and doors to keep utensils in? It’s as custom as your indoor kitchen! Now let’s start designing!

Yardscapes Wayzata Minnesota Outdoor Kitchen

The dark flagstone mortared on to this outdoor kitchen is a perfect balance against the light colored house and travertine patio surface. The contrast makes it pop.

How large is your space? Do you have any space constraints? 

We come across many clients that really want an outdoor kitchen but think their space is too small. That’s why you hire a professional that knows landscape design and construction. Most times we can find a space or the right tools to tuck one in somewhere. Whether your space is big or small, we will find a way!

Yardscapes Golf Course Outdoor Kitchen Edina Minnesota

This is the entertaining patio! It was large enough to place the outdoor kitchen in the middle of the action with a bar attached. We also created a custom metal arbor for detail and lighting for nighttime use.

Will you need to incorporate a bar for guests to sit at? 

Depending on the space you have and if it will fit into the flow and function of the space, it’s nice to have a space for guests to sit while you are grilling or cooking up your masterpiece. As you will see in some of the designs, we have created bar extensions or islands using metal for support. It helps make it feel more light and airy.

This artistic backyard already had great character. Yardscapes added a small outdoor kitchen with a grill and refrigerator for entertaining by the firepit.

Yardscapes Chaska Minnesota Outdoor Kitchen

This small grill stand fits perfectly against the dramatic blue of the house and ready to use for entertaining.

Yardscapes Outdoor Kitchen overlooking Prior Lake Minnesota

What a view from this bar and outdoor kitchen overlooking Prior Lake!

Yardscapes Irish Cottage Outdoor Kitchen Minnetonka Minnesota

It’s hard to believe this is a new construction “Irish cottage on Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota”. The curved outdoor kitchen and bench feel like they have been like that forever. One of my favorite Yardscapes designs!

Yardscapes Farm Outdoor Kitchen Farmington Minnesota

This renovated farmstead is so quaint and beautiful. The detail of adding a planting bed to the outdoor kitchen is perfect!

Designer Clayton Johnson Wins MNLA Judges Choice Award!

Each January we gather at the Minneapolis Convention Center for the Northern Green Expo.  It’s a great convention that brings the Midwest Green Industry together with a huge trade show, educational classes, and renowned speakers.

This year was a big year for Yardscapes, Clayton Johnson’s, project not only won an award for his outstanding design, but he won “Judges Choice”.  It’s a huge accomplishment!

The project that Clayton submitted this year was a remodel in Bloomington, MN.  The landscaping had become tired and non-existant.  The front entry was uninviting and non-directive.  Now it’s a bomb of color during all seasons!


Bloomington Minnesota Award Winning Landscapes Design MNLA


Some highlights of the project:
*  New bluestone/paver walkway to accentuate the entrance
*  Mortared brick wall to support the soil for a new staircase from the sidewalk
*  Variety of new plantings to add color throughout the seasons
*  Concrete driveway with paver apron
*  Accent lighting


Award Winning Landscape Design Bloomington Minnesota

Yardscapes Wins THREE Landscape Design Awards

We are really excited to announce that at the Northern Green Expo / MNLA (Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association) Yardscapes was recognized by winning THREE awards for BEST Landscape Design and Installation.

Lake Minnetonka Bungelow

David Kopfmann’s Project: Lake Minnetonka Bungalow
This is a design and installation of a landscape project for a new home construction site in Excelsior MN. Some highlights of this project are: custom wood arbor and fence with clean lines, raised bluestone patio for easy access off of the living room doors, and paver driveway details.

Words from the designer:
“The client is very pleased with the landscape design and the installation of this project. They like how the three different areas lead to each other and all three have a purpose. The Custom Wood Arbor is one item they really like the details of and it gives direction to the front door (this was very important to them to figure it out). The plants along the south property screen the house on the next lot as you enter this space and when looking out of the windows from inside of the house. They already have had a Wedding at their new home and landscape areas. They are planning outdoor events already for next summer season.”

Golden Valley Modern Remodel Landscape Design

Clayton Johnson’s Project: Suburban Contemporary Remodel
Tucked away in the quiet neighborhood in Golden Valley, this newly renovated home needed a landscape design and installation to complement the architecture and complete the homeowner’s desire for a unified property. 

Words from the Designer:
“With just being completed late fall of 2016 this project is only going to grow in and improve over time.  The homeowner’s expectations were not only met but were exceeded.”

Landscape Design for Historic Residence in Stillwater, MN

Josh Rajdl’s Project: Historic Stillwater Home Overlooking St. Croix River
The client contacted us in the winter of 2017 with hopes of creating a multi-use landscape to match the historic preservation of their newly remodeled home. We had designed and installed a landscape for the client’s parents a few years back, so the client was familiar with our work and was very excited about the possibilities.

Words from the Designer:
“The client is extremely pleased with the final outcome of this project. From the multi-functionality, material selection, and historic preservation of the site; we were able to achieve the goals of our client and give them a space to enjoy for years to come.”

Historic Stillwater MN Home on the St. Croix River

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Front Entry Mortared Posts

Front Entry Before and After

This historic 1887 home in Stillwater, MN looking over the St. Croix River was really an honor to do the landscape design and installation for.  Even though this home had a facelift (Architecture by SALA Architects), when you arrive at this home it feels untouched. From the peaceful views to the enormous trees that have been on this property for years.

When you drive up to this house we wanted it to feel like it was a step back-in-time. Imagine yourself arriving by horse and buggy.  The front yard mortared stone columns mimic the dramatic peaks on the house.  They also are what hold and support the front gate and front metal fencing.  The front gate and fencing is partial custom, along with stock fencing.  We wanted a dramatic curve in the fencing.  So we designed it and had a local metal fabricator, Metalsmith’s Designs, create it for us.

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Before Front

We arrived on site once the interior remodel was well under way. This was the blank slate of the front yard we had to work with.  The home is such a statement piece along with the views from the backyard of downtown Stillwater and the St. Croix river.  It was exciting to dream of what this home had looked like and the history of the families that lived there!

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Front Yard Mortared Post

The peeks on the front of the home were such a dynamic piece of the architecture that we want to pay homage to, but also not take your eyes way from them. We came up with a similar design with the two mortared stone columns – this would also be the place to install a mailbox, address sign, and the year the home was built.  To resemble a roof, we used cut bluestone pieces.

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Front Entry Mortared Posts Installed

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Front Entry Metal Curved Fencing

Here you can see the dramatic custom curved fencing that Metalsmith Designs made for us. It added a unique and custom addition to this custom historic home.

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Front Entry

For the walkway we used an old cobblestone paver to mimic what may have been there in the 1800’s.

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Front Entry with Metal Fencing

Most of the plant material is low-profile, not to take away from the home’s architecture, except for the two pink flower crab trees (Velvet Pillar) on each sides of the columns.  Velvet Pillar’s are a dramatic spring flowering tree.

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Front Entry Mortared Posts2

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Backyard Bluestone Terraced Patio

Backyard Before and After

The backyard and terraced bluestone patio were designed around the amazing views from the house. There is a blue-chip rock side walkway from the side yard patio that easily brings you from the front and side yard to the back. When you walk out the back patio door there is a wood deck which bring you down to a bluestone terraced patio. The bluestone patio and home are both retained with limestone walls and a variety of plantings. We chose the light color of the limestone walls to keep it light and airy.  The bluestone patio has varied earth-tone colors that complement the yellow on the home and the blue of the river.

It was also important for the backyard to remain open for the views and additional yard space for the kids to run around on.

We added bronze Gardenstone planters from Twisted Elements to add a pop of color on each column.  Once they are planted they will add some height to the low profile area.

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Backyard Bluestone Terraced Patio1

The view!

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Before Back of House

This shows the before image of the intense grade we had to bring up and retain with soils, limestone retaining walls, and the bluestone patio.

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Construction on Limestone Retaining Walls

Our crew installing the base levels of the retaining walls.

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Construction on Limestone Retaining Walls 1

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Backyard Wood Deck Installation

Walls and part of the bluestone patio are completed and now the wood deck and stairs are installed.

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Backyard Bluestone Installation

The rest of the bluestone is ready to go in!

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Backyard Bluestone Terraced Patio2

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Backyard Bluestone Terraced Patio 1

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Window Well Fencing

A before and after photo of the simple touches.  We added a matching fence and gate around the egress window well for safety.

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Before side window well

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Side Patio and Walkway

Side Yard Before and After

The side yard is what leads you to the garage, but we wanted to make it as important as the rest of the home since you see it from the entrance way.  We continued the use of the cobble stone street paver for the walkway and smaller bluestone patio off of the kitchen.

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Before Side Yard

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Side Patio and Walkway1

Historic Stillwater Minnesota Remodel Landscaping_Front Entry Balcony

This historic Stillwater home in Minnesota is revived and ready to take on another 100 years!

Minneapolis Rooftop Landscaping with Custom Elements

Rooftop Landscaping Minneapolis Rendering

Rooftop Landscaping Minneapolis Before

This is one of those jobs you dream about! Not to say it was an easy job to conquer, but we did it as a team, and learned a lot along the way as well. This rooftop landscaping project came to us as a referral from one of suppliers that we buy planters and outdoor furniture from, Twisted Elements, located in the lower level of the International Market Square in Minneapolis, MN. This homeowner went in looking for something out of the ordinary for his rooftop patio in Minneapolis. He really loved the custom metal designs that he saw in their showroom, but needed a landscape company to help conceptualize all the elements and bring it together as a whole. So, David Kopfmann went to the drawing board to create a functional space on this rather large L-shaped rooftop patio (approx. 500 square feet).

David met with the client back in August of 2016 and they discussed what the homwowner was looking for. His top priorities were:

  • Shade for certain times of the day
  • Protection from the wind
  • Colorful plant material
  • Seating area for entertaining
  • Low voltage lighting


Rooftop Landscaping Minneapolis Before

Rooftop Landscaping Minneapolis Before

Since the homeowner had been to the Twisted Elements showroom and saw the metal by MetalSmith’s Design, David started sketching some furniture designs and trellis, to bring to their production studio in Bloomington, MN. It was great that they work with designers, like David, and will custom fabricate really anything that can be built with integrity.

David’s thoughts when designing the trellis, that they would be for functional purposes, as well as an element of art. He wanted to have removable screens made out of an all-weather mesh that the client could keep up when it was windy or sunny and remove them easily when they didn’t need them.

Rooftop Landscaping Minneapolis mockup

Rooftop Landscaping Minneapolis

When choosing the planters, he wanted a very durable material that could with stand the harsh Minnesota temperatures and if needed could be moved more easily. We decided to go with 48” long x 18” wide x 36” high bronze planter from Tournesol, call the Wilshire planter. These fiberglass planters are lighter in weight and offer self-watering containers that fit inside, which is great for an area like a rooftop that wouldn’t have access to a water spigot or for someone that travels and doesn’t have the ability to water daily. This homeowner needed the self-watering containers because his career involves a lot of traveling and in most cases the containers only need to be filled up once per week.

Rooftop Self Watering Container

The Whilshire planters created a few different functions:

  • Privacy
  • Wind Protection
  • Plantings for Added Color
  • Hide the Lighting Wire


The other planter we chose from Tournesol was the Aquarian 48” diameter x 24” high in a royal blue color. We placed these on the narrow, but long area of the rooftop deck. It was a great place to add a pop of color and interest since it wasn’t very functional. Inside each of the planters we had a custom metal trellis made for climbing plants to add height.

Install Tournesol Planters

Install Tournesol Planters

Install Tournesol Planters

We installed low voltage lighting attaching one to each one of the curved trellis tops for entertaining and safety.

Rooftop Landscaping Minneapolis


Rooftop Landscaping Minneapolis Metalsmiths Furniture

The metal furniture was designed out of steel and clear coated for rust protection. David choose steel for the weight of it since this rooftop can have high winds frequently. The table has a steel base with a travertine table top, from Orijin Stone, cut at a curve to soften up the straight lines of the Wilshire planters. For the bench, David found a reclaimed piece off wood for the bench which was fastened to a custom steel base.

Aquarian Planter Tournesol

Install Metalsmiths Rooftop Patio Furniture

This close up shows the heavy-duty screens that we had constructed with toggles for easy installation and removal.

Rooftop Minneapolis Install Wind Screens

This bench brings warmth to the space and an earthy element, which was lacking.

Metal Wood Bench

This image shows the seating area with the wind and sun screens removed. It’s a much need option for those Fall and Spring days when you want to feel the suns warmth.

Install Removable Wind Screens

Of course, the homeowner’s condo is surrounded by glass, so we wanted to make sure it didn’t completely block his view of the city, but enhance it. Who doesn’t love to look out and see plants and trees!

Rooftop Landscaping Minneapolis Skyline View

Old-World Farmstead: An Interview with David Kopfmann

Top View Drawing - Farmington, MN

The landscape design for this home, located in Farmington, MN, was completed in June 2017. Below is an interview with David Kopfmann, founder of Yardscapes and the landscape designer for this project.

Q: Describe the first meeting with the client. 

A: The first meeting with the homeowner was in December 2015. She was referred to us by the architect and past clients. Her hopes for the landscape design was to make it feel like an old-world farmstead. When I first visited the site the home construction had already began. I walked and reviewed the site with the homeowner to give her some ideas.  The grading and driveway were an important part of the design for the home and how she wanted it to look and feel (in terms of size). The homeowners had lived in the existing home on the property for many years and still wanted the home and landscaping to feel connected to the barn and silo.

Q: What were some design challenges?

A: One of the main design challenges for this project was moving the water flow that collected under the back deck. To solve this, I created a walking path with a culvert under it to move the water away from the house. Another challenge was designing a driveway system to the barn, but separate from the circle.

Q: What were some design inspirations for this project?

A: Most of the inspiration came from the architecture of the home, as well as the farm setting — the barns, silo, and fields have long views in all directions. I worked with the long, existing driveway as you approach the house to not to block the tresses (detail).  I wanted the limestone slabs to be visible from the long driveway, but it is also there to support the circular portion of the driveway as well.

Front Entrance and Driveway Drawing Farmington, MN Rear Patio Drawing Farmington, MN

Before Photos – During Home Construction

Driveway Circle Before Front Entrance Before Street View Before Side Patio Garage Before Barn Before in Farmington, MN Barn Before in Farmington, MN

Completed Photos

To creating an old world feel to the driveway we used tumbled pavers.  We used just one size to give the illusion of old street pavers (cobblestone). Limestone and boulder wall was built for aesthetics and function. It is what is supporting the circular driveway, but gives interest as you drive in to the home entrance.

Street View Farmington, MNDriveway Lamp Post Farmington, MNDriveway Circle Farmington, MN

The front sidewalk is fond-du-lac limestone slabs. They are dry set over a clean rock base.  The front walkway bends and compliments the stone on the front terrace and home.  I designed a slight curve to the walkway because of the length to move you through the courtyard hedges and plants that will create a natural fence for privacy, but not feel closed off, once they fill in.

Front Entrance - Porch and Path - Farmington, MNFront Porch Farmington, MNFront Porch and Gate Farmington, MNStone and Metal Gate

Travertine was used for the back patio/terrace to match the stone on the porch. Travertine is very smooth and light in color, so was a perfect choice on the south facing patio when the sun hits it will not get as hot as darker stone. I designed the outdoor kitchen small, but functional, so that it would not block the views from the porch and terraces.

Back Patio Terrace Farmington, MNBack Patio Terrace View Farmington, MNOutdoor Kitchen Farmington, MN

The landscaping added to the barn was planted with assorted perennials and ornamental trees similar to the planting around the home. This makes the barn feel more connected to the home. We also chose specific plant material to attract and feed the birds.

Barn Landscaping and Path

The side patio is located off of the master suite. I created a private outdoor sitting area, which is surrounded by small ornamental trees and a perennial garden.

Side Patio and Garage Farmington, MN


Professionals Involved

Landscape Designer: David Kopfmann, Yardscapes, Inc.

Interior Designer: Stephanie McKenna (Stephanie helped with all aspects of design)

Builder and Architects: The homeowners were general contractors
Behr Design
Treasured Spaces

Irrigation – Twin Town Irrigation
Masory – Nelson Masonry
Large Tree Installation – G & M Tree Moving
Pavers – Belgard Pavers
Plant Material – Bachmans

Success at Minneapolis Home and Garden Show 2017

Still one more weekend to come and talk to the Yardscapes Designers


Friday, March 3rd from 10am – 9pm
Saturday, March 4th from 9am – 9pm
Sunday, March 5th from 9am – 6pm

Click HERE for Show Information

Minneapolis Home and Garden Show 2017

Yardscapes is at the Mpls Home and Garden Show 2017

Visit Our Booth #1455!

Minnneapolis Home and Garden Show:  February 24-26  & March 3-5, 2017

Designers: David Kopfmann, Clayton Johnson, and Lincoln Danforth will be there to help answer any questions you have about an existing or upcoming project!

This "Redesigned Pool" had an Existing Shell that We Carved Away at to Create This Beautiful Pool/Spa Combination.

Artisan Tour Look Book Just Arrived!

The 2016 ARTISAN TOUR Look Book Just Arrived!

All the images are stunning and we wanted to share it with all of you!  These are some of the most talented Builders, Architects, and Landscapers in Minnesota and we were honored to work with Hendel Homes and Twisted Elements on this project! If you get a chance, check it out!

For more project inspiration, check out our galleries

Artisan Tour Look book 2016

Faces of Landscape Design / Build Minnesota 2016

We are excited to be part of the FACES issue in Minnesota Monthly this summer!  You can find all the FACES OF Minnesota in the June 2016 issue. It’s an honor to be with such a great group of Minnesotans!

  • Yardscapes is dedicated to your projects success
  • Yardscapes stands behind its work
  • Yardscapes is creative
  • Yardscapes listens to your visions


Faces of Landscape Design/Build Minnesota Monthly 2016

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