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 - more specifically, this project is currently on year 10 (2017) out of a predicted 15. 

Irrigation as a Stormwater Management Tool (BMP)

Water in Motion is passionate and experienced when it comes to conserving water. Becoming more and more popular, stormwater harvest and reuse systems are a very water efficient way for horticultural landscapes to shrink their eco-foot print and save money. Spirit of Brandtjen Farm is a prime example of just that. Take a look for yourself!

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 connections 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 pipes are held in a centralized pump station where 2,100 gallons of water are delivered each minute. Additionally, the entire irrigation system is managed via central remote control and scheduled with both weather and soil-moisture data.

To ensure this development is as water efficient as possible, best water management practices are used within the horticultural irrigation. 

At the current state, 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 even Parkview Elementary School. However, when fully developed, Spirit of Brandtjen Farm will receive stormwater from up to 194.5 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.