It’s rare that an opportunity presents itself to work on a historic property where landscape features such as oak trees have been maturing for more than 100 years. It’s even rarer to have the chance to continue in the footsteps of the great 19th century landscape designer Frederick Olmsted — and work side by side with renowned water garden designer Anthony Archer-Wills.

All of these elements came together on this 35-acre lakeside estate in the upper Midwest.

To get the desired results, we needed to develop the perfect shape, scale and placement of a waterfeature, one that would provide views, destinations and reflections — all with the illusion of it being a natural occurrence.

Moreover, we had to construct this project from start to finish in only eight weeks so it could be ready for the client’s annual birthday bash.

Some of the most dramatic elements of Archer-Wills’ design were the steppingstones across the streambeds, the adult-size grotto within the largest of the waterfalls, and the unusual boardwalk built across one of the ponds.