ROSEVILLE, Minn - The KARE 11 "Share Your Backyard Tour" takes us to the home of Ken and Shari Ljung in Roseville, where 40 years ago Wednesday, they closed on this beautiful property.
The Ljung's backyard started with open grass but their house did not have the greatest eye appeal. The relatively large yard caught the Ljung's eye, but they knew they would have to eventually rebuild their home to make it livable.
Shari set out with a goal to create a yard that she would be able to enjoy for years to come. She was on a mission to create enough landscape and planting areas so she could mow the large yard with one tank of gas, and to design all the area edge-lines to be mower friendly; easily negotiable in one pass, no trimming, and little weed control. Shari takes care most of the labor herself; she has even placed 100' of hand-placed stone retaining wall along the driveway. Ken is not far behind when Shari needs assistance. Ken moves dirt from time to time, per Shari's direction, and he designed and built the deck and grilling exclosure. He utilizes the grilling station several times a week, year-round, as he gets to make dinner all the time since he retired 5 years ago.
The gazebo is one of the Ljung's favorite feature; it is the result of a tree disease, but has been utilized for numerous gatherings. There was once a beautiful mature Sugar Maple in the location of the current gazebo, and Shari had hung a chair, which was used for her quiet reflection time, off of one of the tree's limbs. The tree got sick and had to be cut down, but parts of the tree trunk are still incorporated into the landscaping. Ken was able to reuse parts of the tree to make some tables and miscellaneous items.
After the Sugar Maple was cut down Shari needed a new place to hang her swing. A gazebo seemed to be the best solution. The Ljung's purchased a gazebo kit from Mendards, but improved the overall design by pouring a concrete floor and installing a plexiglas sky-light. The gazebo has electrical wiring, lights, and a ceiling fan. The Ljung's use this gazebo for the place to eat lunch and dinner almost every day in the summer, and enjoy their afternoon coffee in the sky chairs just outside.
In the quest to include many shaded areas in their yard, the Ljung's incorporated a magnificat blue "shade-sail" that hovers above the main deck. They collaborated the design and construction; the whole project cost less than $25 as the material came from a remnant outlet, and the support pole is a section of pipe from the Ljung's old well.
The Ljung's house was originally just 565 sq. ft., with a leaky flat-roofed cottage. Some of that structure is still in the present house, but the Ljung's gutted, rebuilt and put on the two-story addition and built a new garage. Ken and Shari designed, built, and constructed the framing, finishing, plumbing and electrical themselves with a little help from their friends.
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