The challenge: Homeowners Steve and Heidi Hamilton requested a new backyard patio that would prevent rainwater runoff into nearby Lake Nokomis and their neighbors’ yard, while also creating an inviting place to relax and dine in warm weather.


The landscape designer: Daryl Melquist, Bachman’s Landscaping, 612-861-7646,


The starting point: The Hamiltons bought their south Minneapolis home in 1996 and later enclosed and remodeled a porch on the back of the house. But next to it was a concrete-slab patio that Steve considered “an eyesore and not very welcoming.” As a result, it was rarely used.

During rainstorms, the couple also were concerned about contaminated water flowing into Lake Nokomis a few blocks away, as well as into their neighbor’s yard.

“We also had water problems in the basement,” said Steve. The best solution was to put in a new eco-friendly permeable patio made of bluestone.

Leveling and layers: First, Melquist’s crew dug out the old concrete slab and leveled off the backyard. Then he laid landscape fabric, a layer of clear limestone base, followed by a layer of trap rock. The top layer is irregular-sized bluestones.

“The bluestone fits in nice and tight with minimal joints,” said Melquist. “We swept trap rock between the stones to absorb the water.”

Now rainwater filters into the permeable stones rather than flowing off the land and into the lake.


Bluestone beauty: The circular patio was designed with different-sized stones. A limestone called Desert Bronze was used as an inset to create interest, said Melquist. Patterned bluestone, 12 inches wide and of random length, on the outer border defines the outdoor room.

“We picked bluestone that complemented the home’s brown and stucco exterior and garage,” said Melquist.

The circular part of the patio is 12 feet in diameter to create room to navigate the table and chairs, he said.

Finally Bachman’s landscaped the backyard using pet-friendly plantings, such as dogwood and evergreens.


The result: The new patio is pretty as well as Earth-friendly. “They can feel good about not creating problems downstream — or in the neighbor’s yard,” said Melquist.


Best part: The Hamiltons entertain a lot more, and you’ll find them grilling and eating dinner on pleasant summer nights in the outdoor room, said Steve.

“It makes the backyard look classy,” he said. “Before, it was like sitting in a parking lot.”



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