Cedars of Edina: Large-scale Remodel and Landscape Redesign

A sensational landscape redesign enhances one Edina rental community.

A summertime stroll through a park or along a forested trail relaxes the body and renews the mind. But getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life is a luxury many city dwellers only experience on vacation or during a weekend getaway. Unless you’re a resident at Cedars of Edina, a beautifully landscaped property that sits on 21-plus wooded acres in the heart of Edina’s shopping district.

This well-appointed rental property has been a Peterson family investment for more than 30 years and the clubhouse underwent a complete renovation in 2010. Central to the interior overhaul is a two-level state-of-the-art workout facility bathed in natural light from enormous windows that overlook a large pool area and tennis courts, Cedars Falls and a Koi fish lagoon.

Clubrooms have been outfitted with Cambria countertops, Wolf appliances, flat-screen televisions and leather club chairs. These new communal rooms are perfect for resident events, cooking classes, movie clubs, game clubs and book clubs. An annual resident art show and festival of nations are two of the Cedars’ notable events hosted in its renovated central space. These are just a few examples of the exceptional living experience Cedars of Edina provides residents.

A Central Sanctuary
The indoor improvements at Cedars of Edina are impressive. But step outside and behold an amazing transformation of the grounds into a serene, park-like setting reminiscent of a north-woods vacation destination. Where once there were blankets of grass stretching between residential apartment buildings, a reforested, landscaped environment stands, designated as a wildlife habitat. And it is all just steps away from the convenience of shopping, dining healthcare, and the 9 Mile Creek trail.

Managing director Mark Peterson’s family conceptualized the entire landscape design. With many hours of painstaking labor and the help of his father, David Peterson, (who along with the Peterson Group partnerships has been a Cedars investor since 1977), Peterson’s vision has come to life. Wisteria and ivy drape over pergola-covered walkways. Flower-filled rain gardens wind between tall trees to capture and filter water. Stone pavers and patios are nestled into lush cedar mulch. And teak Adirondack chairs beckon residents to sit back and relax.

“I wanted the landscape to be beautiful but also create a sense of privacy,” Peterson says. “Residents look out and see trees, flowers and wildlife instead of their neighbors across the courtyard.” The new design means less mowing and fertilizing and more deer, owl and eagle sightings. Birdbaths, fountains and statuary heighten the visual interest around every corner.

A large stone Buddha refreshed by a constant trickle of water seems to smile his approval on passersby. A majestic carved eagle with wings outstretched stands like a stately sentry over the pool area. Quiet places with benches under trees make perfect spots for reading or meditation.

Billion-year-old Backyard Boulders
Along every pathway, lodged into hillsides and bordering flowerbeds and water features are magnificent stones the Petersons acquired from a mine in Virginia, MN. “Nobody had been buying these rocks,” says Peterson. “So we decided to incorporate them into our landscape design.” Peterson had up to 75 semi-trucks of boulders brought down from the Mesabi range.

Glacial scarring has smoothed parts of the rock surfaces and enhances the boulders’ blue, gray and green. Peterson incorporated the rocks, many of which are thought to be around 2.5 billion years old (weighing up to 22 tons), into elegant signage, stacked them under waterfalls and aligned them along creek beds. He was delighted to later discover that stones from the same mine are on display near the entrance of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural history in Washington, D.C. “I am in awe at the age, beauty and majesty of these stones,” Peterson says.

The sense of wonder and awe is enhanced by the creative use of the stones all over the property. Varying sizes are meticulously arranged to create a large pond with a waterfall. Fish, turtles and waterfowl make themselves at home in the pond. It’s a joyful place of exploration for residents with young children. Peterson laughs about some of the pond’s frequent visitors, including egrets, heron and the occasional owl that seem to enjoy dining on hundreds of dollars worth of stocked Koi fish. On occasion during the summer months, a screen is set up for residents to enjoy outdoor movies by the pond.

“We have 600 apartments and more than 1,000 residents,” Peterson says. “Our goal is to provide our residents a community of beauty and wellbeing. We want everything we do to be a positive contribution to the environment and the lives of people.”