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Outdoor living at its finest for family, friends

The backyard at the Redmond home is plush with naturally existing trees. Submitted photo1 / 2
The outdoor fireplace is used all summer long. Submitted photo2 / 2

One of the yards on the Soroptimist garden tour this summer is the home of Brad and Stephanie Redmond. In the 3 ½ years that the Redmonds have been in their West Fargo home they have changed their landscape from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Taking note of the existing rock facing on the lower part of the home, they hauled in field rock from a friend's farm to edge the curving border all around their house. This serves to hold in the wood chip mulching around the shrubs and flowers.

Brad and Steph enjoy spending their free time outdoors and entertaining their friends and family there. They have created an outdoor living space in their backyard that is ideal. Their four children often have friends over to soak in the hot tub. The hot tub is available year round and Brad has a picture of Steph with her hair covered in ice crystals last winter.

The design of the entertainment area began with a garden hose. Steph laid it out and Brad rented a sod cutter to remove the grass. Steph said it would have been bigger, but she ran out of hose. The couple has done most of the work and they have no fear in trying new projects after researching them. Although there is something to look at everywhere, what first caught my eye was the beautiful patio floor. It is cement that they acid washed giving it a rich burnt umber color and sealed so that it gleams and the color pops.

The first structure they built was the large fireplace with its back to the yard. It is faced with flat field rocks that were cemented in. They filled the spaces around the rocks using a cake decorator like bag. Rustic chairs and a side table are arranged in front of the fireplace which they use from May to late October or when the snow flies.

The grill is set into a counter that is topped with a cement slab that Brad made. He poured cement into forms made with Masonite, and acid washed it once it was cured. The bases of the counter are faced with rock. The backsplash behind the grill is covered with a metallic looking tile. Steph troweled on a texture and stained two pillars on the sides of the backsplash. Lovely candle lamps sit atop these. Across the patio they formed a curved bar topped with another cement slab. Everything is shaded with colorful umbrellas.

Next to the house, Steph has created a cozy sitting area with a couch, chairs, table and rug. There are many flower-filled containers throughout the patio. Surrounding the living area are flowers, shrubs and art objects set in wood chip mulch.

From the patio, there is a nice view of the sunny backyard. The house is set in among large naturally existing trees and the Redmonds have added many of their own, such as a weeping willow, lindens and more. They have a vegetable garden, but the rabbits have newly arrived and are helping themselves.

Since they are not far from the river, wildlife is abundant. There are birds living in their martin house, but so far, the martins have not moved in. They enjoy feeding birds and chipmunks and Steph is trying to get a chipmunk to eat a peanut from her hand. However, Brad has a war going against the squirrels who have taken up residence in their attic.

Three Yorkies and two Golden Retrievers are also part of the Redmond family. They inhabit a large kennel on the north side of the house, although the Yorkies are allowed indoors. The kennel fits naturally inside shrubs and perennials. The dogs have a doghouse inside the kennel and even have their own containers of flowers to enjoy.