minneapolis landscape pergola

The Ground One team is thrilled to be recognized with two awards from the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA). We received the MNLA Award for Excellence in Landscape as well as the top honor: the Judges’ Choice 2018 MNLA Landscape Award.

This marks Ground One’s 14th Excellence in Landscape Award and our very first Judges Choice Award. We are especially proud of the Judges Choice award, which is presented to the project the judges believe to be the best example of excellence in landscape among all award winners statewide. What an honor!

Ground One named Judges' Choice Winner

Criteria for the MNLA landscape awards are quite comprehensive. First and foremost, judges evaluate how well the project meets the client’s goals. Other criteria include overall visual appeal, functionality, relationship to the existing architecture, plant and material selections, complexity and quality of installation, fit with the client’s maintenance expectations and overall effect. We are delighted that our project was recognized as meeting or exceeding all criteria.

A few of the judges’ comments include:

  • Beautiful small project that is transformative to the owner.
  • Very thoughtful and restrained choices of materials and use of space.
  • What a great design of a small space, creating real ‘old-world’ and timeless design.
  • It is it’s own little world. Very charming.
landscape architect Nate Anderson receives award
Landscape architect Nate Anderson receives the awards on behalf of Ground One


The award-winning project was completed in fall of 2017. It represents a complete transformation of the client’s side yard, garage, and walkway. Our client, a busy Minneapolis family, dreamed of an outdoor oasis that incorporated elements of old world Tuscany while complementing their home’s architectural style. Their wish list included an outdoor fireplace, grill, dining area, and pergola.

Most important, the family wanted to create a usable space for private relaxation and entertaining. However, the existing conditions were far from ideal. Space was tight, plantings were overgrown, the door adjacent to the space was non-functional and circulation was neither logical or practical. Working with existing conditions and space limitations to deliver the landscape of their dreams required thoughtful design consideration.


Ultimately, we created a flexible courtyard that united the house and a rejuvenated garage with the new landscape. The new courtyard is perfect for dining and relaxing, and the plumbed gas grill makes it ideal for grilling as well. The cozy fireplace is a warm spot for gathering on cool nights. A stone seat wall provides built in overflow seating for larger gatherings.

Minneapolis landscape design courtyard
Courtyard with pergola, fireplace, and stone seat wall

The real showpiece of the project is the weathered barn wood pergola. Reclaimed barn wood creates a rustic, weathered pergola that frames the entire courtyard.

Plantings are simple, low maintenance solutions providing orderly green edges to the space.

Low voltage lighting was added to uplight the aspens and a glow across the patio was created with LED-strip lights under the cap of the stone wall.  Both the lighting system and irrigation are controlled via an app on the homeowner’s cell phone.

minneapolis landscape design courtyard

The entire landscape comes together as a beautiful and functional respite in the city. The design process allowed us to unite disparate parts of the property into a unique whole that the family will embrace for years to come, as they enjoy their “Tuscan” landscape in Minneapolis.

ground one award winning project
MNLA signage shows project highlights.

Thank you to the MNLA for recognizing this project among other top Minnesota landscape projects  and honoring Ground One with these awards!

landscape architect Nate Anderson
Landscape Architect Nate Anderson proudly displays the awards.