ick and Wendy Brown both grew upin Minnesota, went away to college,and returned home convinced that the cliché was true: There’s no betterplace to raise a family. They knew they wanted their kids, Oliver, 3, andEmmett, 6, to run free in their neigh-borhood, to kick a ball around theiryard, and to eat healthy, deliciousfood that they grew themselves.Having already enlisted the architecture firm RehkampLarson and interior designer Alecia Stevens to remodel theirsouth Minneapolis home, the Browns were looking for helpwith the yard when they met landscape designer Ron Beiningby chance at a fundraiser. The Browns’ house is situated on alarge lot with plenty of open play space and, as they explained to Beining, they hoped to add a small kitchen garden. What thisgarden lacked in square footage, it would have to make up for inproductivity.Beining suggested raised beds, widely used for home gardensin his native California. The geometric boxes are well suitedfor vegetable growing, as they contain the plants in a neat,orderly manner, ensure that drainage is excellent, and give thegardener good control over the soil. But they also wouldn’t be too obtrusive. Since the neighbors’ yards all flow into each other,it was important not to disrupt the space’s open, communal feel.The Browns were drawn to Beining’s streamlined, yet functionalapproach and added him to their team.Today, the yard’s pretty flowering shrubs—among them awhite-flowered clematis, an Arctic willow hedge, an allée of‘Ivory Silk’ Japanese lilacs, yews around the foundation, multi-stemmed magnolias, rhododendrons, hydrangea, and a rosecalled
with long canes that sway in the breeze—earn their keep by screening an eyesore or preventing the boysfrom dashing into the driveway at an inopportune moment.Beining’s design also incorporated eco-friendly touches, such as agrassy strip running down the center of the driveway to preventrunoff and a state-of-the-art irrigation system that allows theBrowns to precisely control their watering habits.The kitchen garden sits tucked away on an upper terrace,
ABOVE Raised bedsare perfect for growingvegetables because theygive the gardener goodcontrol over the soil. Theneat, geometric boxescontain the plants andgive the kitchen garden anorderly, structured look.ABOVE, RIGHT SapphireBlue Oat Grass and IvorySilk Japanese Tree Lilacscreate a regal allée intothe spacious yard.RIGHT Oliver, 3, is learningto grow his own foodby helping his motherwith planting seedlings,weeding, and gatheringthe harvest. Fresh cherrytomatoes are a favorite.