spirit of brandtjen farm

Location: Lakeville, Minnesota | Client: Tradition Development  | Design team: Water in Motion, Inc. | Attributes: Stormwater Harvest & Reuse, Irrigation Design, Best Management Practices


Back in 1932, Henry Brandtjen bought a plot of land located in Lakeville, Minnesota. An open wilderness for his family to roam and call home, the Brandtjen Farm soon became the largest in Minnesota. Even after all these years, this cozy front-porch lifestyle continues to this day. Now known as Spirit of Brandtjen Farm, this historic landscape is a master planned community.

Embodied by strong historic character and a rich community culture, Spirit of Brandtjen Farm has become one of the most popular master planned neighborhoods in the Twin Cities. Residents enjoy spacious green areas, numerous walking trails, and the original Brandtjen Family’s barn which is used as the community center. Surrounded by an outdoor pool, basketball and volleyball courts, and countless other recreational amenities, the spirit of the Brandtjen Family lives on within these community neighborhoods.   

Tradition Development partnered with Water in Motion to design what is perhaps the largest landscape irrigation system in Minnesota, and more importantly, one of the most successful stormwater harvest & reuse projects in the Upper Midwest to date. With a total of 2,500 acres of development, the site is a work in progress, scheduled to be fully developed by 2022.

Irrigation as a Stormwater Management Tool (BMP)

Water in Motion is passionate and experienced when it comes to managing water in the outdoor living environment. Stormwater harvesting and reuse is a very water-efficient means to shrink the eco-footprint of the traditional planted landscape and save money. Spirit of Brandtjen Farm is a prime example of just that.

Stormwater Based Landscape Irrigation

At the heart of this design is a large trunk pipe running throughout the entire landscape. Stormwater is drawn from multiple interconnected basins, or ponds, that flow through the trunk. Along the trunk are many points of connection where the stormwater continues its journey, quickly reaching the sprinklers.

Stormwater used for irrigation purposes flow through three main trunk pipelines known as South Trunk, Northeast Trunk, and Northwest Trunk. These three pipelines originate from a centralized pump station where up to 2,100 gallons of reuse stormwater are delivered each minute. The entire irrigation system is managed via central remote control and scheduled with both weather and soil-moisture data.

Currently, stormwater is responsible for irrigating 81 acres out of the total 2,500. This covers the development’s common areas, a few local retail landscapes and Parkview Elementary School. When fully developed, Spirit of Brandtjen Farm will reuse stormwater for landscape irrigation on approximately 200 acres, dramatically increasing stormwater irrigation coverage for this community.

From a horticultural perspective, this sustainable system has the potential to harvest and distribute approximately 25,000,000 gallons of stormwater upon the site during the irrigation season.