Creating Family Time in Your Own Backyard

A Maple Grove family renovates their backyard patio, and the result is an award-winning space.
A lovely patio like this one in Maple Grove can expand options for family time and entertaining.

When Ed Reichow landed new Maple Grove clients in 2012, he had no idea he was starting an award-winning project. The family wanted a new outdoor space, and as leader of the Task Masters landscaping team, Reichow is an expert in the field.

Task Masters focuses on outdoor projects like patios, driveways and full landscaping jobs. The Maple Grove family came to him with an idea for turning their plain backyard patio, “a blank canvas,” they said, into something great. They moved to Maple Grove from California and wanted something for the outdoor living they loved (yes, even here in frigid Minnesota).

“They had a patio, but it just wasn’t functional,” Reichow says. “It was just a square patio, and they wanted a destination space for entertaining.”

The family pitched ideas for what they wanted, highlighted by a majestic fireplace. With three kids, they specifically wanted a fireplace instead of a fire pit to keep things safer—something enclosed and off the ground.

Reichow, who graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and then studied landscape architecture, takes the design aspect of his job just as seriously as the construction work. “Landscaping is one of the only professions where you can make a huge impact in a short amount of time,” he says. “You can transform the backyard into something that is completely different.”

The goal was to make it a go-to space for everyone in the neighborhood; a place where, if the neighbors smell smoke, they come running—in a good way.


Beyond the fireplace, Reichow worked his magic and created a beautiful, functional space. The patio itself, which took just over a month to complete, offers privacy, room for plants and for entertaining. Between the amount of time spent there and the great views it offers from inside the home, the patio has become an extension of the home. Even in the dead of winter, the patio makes its mark.

“I always preface what I tell people with the fact that it has to be functional,” Reichow explains. “Function takes precedent over design.”

Even so, it’s nice when the design stands out. The patio won Best Design from Belgard, a company that produces pavers and other building materials. Every year, its sales representatives nominate projects that use their products (unbeknownst to the contractor) and the best of the best are selected. The winner gets a trophy and inclusion in Belgard’s catalog.

“I’ve always known we do unique projects, and it’s nice to get recognized,” Reichow says. “But I don’t care about awards. They are nice when they come, but more importantly, it was a great project with great clients.”

Even without the award, the patio would have been a standout. It has become the perfect space for one Maple Grove family, and that’s award enough.