Bob Gruendyke and Chrissy Kruger-Gruendyke didn’t let the fact that they live in Milwaukee deter them from wanting a Southern California–style, modernist-inspired landscape. It’s true their yard spends much of the year under a blanket of snow, but these homeowners envisioned summer nights spent lounging around the fire pit roasting marshmallows in a clean-lined, no-fuss landscape. “We knew we needed to partner with a talented designer and project manager,” says Kruger-Gruendyke.
After browsing ideas on Houzz, the couple realized that many of their favorite projects were by designer Jim Drzewiecki of Ginkgo Leaf Studio, a landscape design firm close to their home. They hired Drzewiecki, who designed a landscape that highlighted the home’s bold and unique architecture and created the functional outdoor living spaces they desired.
Yard at a Glance
Who lives here: Bob Gruendyke, Chrissy Kruger-Gruendyke and their young daughter
Size: 4,900-square-foot (455-square-meter) front yard and 5,800-square-foot (539-square-meter) backyard
BEFORE: The couple bought the house three years before they decided to renovate the yards. “It was love at first sight as soon as we walked through the front door,” says Kruger-Gruendyke of the updated ranch house. The previous owner had transformed a 1952 rambler into this two-story home. The landscape hadn’t gotten the same renovation treatment.
The yard had been prepped to sell, says Kruger-Gruendyke, but it was hardly the outdoor oasis they envisioned for their home. The driveway was cracked and uneven, the front walk didn’t invite you into the house, weeds filled the flower beds, and the sod was dying. By the following summer, they were ready to tackle the landscape.