Thursday, June 29, 2017

What Is Equity and Why Is It Important?

You’ve probably heard people throw around the word “equity” when they’re talking about homeownership. You might have heard someone say that owning a home helps you “build equity” or perhaps you heard someone talk about “borrowing against equity.”
But what exactly is equity? And why does it matter?

What Is Equity?
Equity is what you own, minus what you owe. It’s the percentage of your home value that belongs to you free and clear.

If your home is worth $250,000 and your outstanding mortgage balance is $200,000, then you have $50,000 of equity in your home.

How Does Equity Grow?
There are three common ways in which your home’s equity can grow: market appreciation, forced appreciation, and debt reduction.

Market appreciation takes place when the value of your home rises due to factors caused by the overall local, state or national economy. If your home is located in a neighborhood that is experiencing a sudden burst of new jobs and population growth – and if that population growth is outpacing new housing starts – then there’s a likelihood that the value of your home may rise due to market appreciation.

Let’s return to the previous example. Your home is worth $250,000 and your mortgage balance is $200,000, meaning that you hold $50,000 in equity. Let’s assume that home values in your area start climbing steeply. Your home is now worth $300,000. Guess how much equity you hold? You now have $100,000 in equity. As the homeowner, you benefit from all market gains.
Forced appreciation is another common way that homeowners build equity. While market appreciation is based on factors outside of your individual control, forced appreciation is the direct result of your actions.

When you hear about people making upgrades for the sake of boosting resale value, they’re referring to forced appreciation. Imagine that you carefully plan and execute a kitchen remodel. You replace the 30-year-old cabinets with a new set; you replace the laminate countertops with builder-grade-granite; you replace the linoleum flooring with hardwood, bamboo or tile.
Assuming that you managed this remodel in a cost-efficient manner and made upgrade choices that are consistent with your neighborhood, the value of your home may exceed the cost of the renovation.

For example, if you spend $8,000 on the renovation, which results in a home that’s now worth $15,000 more, this means you increased your equity through forced appreciation.

Finally, you can boost equity through debt reduction, which means that you reduce the principal balance of your mortgage. Mortgages are amortized, meaning that a larger percentage of your payments apply to interest at the beginning of the term, while more of your payments apply to principal near the end. If you want to accelerate equity growth at the start of your term, you can make extra principal payments. This boosts your equity while also lowering the total interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

A combination of these factors can accelerate your equity growth. Since equity is the difference between “what you own” and “what you owe,” the 1-2 combination of boosting home value while also reducing the mortgage balance can be an effective way to rapidly build equity.

Why Does Equity Matter?
There are many advantages of holding equity.

First and foremost, equity boosts your net worth. The higher your equity, the higher your overall net worth. Your net worth can give you feedback on your overall financial health, and can help you make crucial financial planning decisions.

Secondly, you can borrow against your equity and, if you choose, invest this money. Some homeowners borrow against their equity to start businesses; others borrow to remodel their homes or to purchase investment properties.

The home equity loan, home equity line of credit, and cash-out refinancing are several options that homeowners can choose from if they want to borrow against their equity.

Finally, homeowners who decide to move can use the equity from the sale of their home to make a down payment on another home. This allows homeowners to “trade up” without needing to save cash for a down payment.

Furthermore, homeowners who downsize (meaning sell their current home and move into a smaller and less-expensive home) may cash out their equity – using some of their equity to purchase their less-expensive home and receiving the rest as cash.

What Should I Do?
Equity can be a form of ‘forced savings.’ Once this equity is locked into your home, you’ll have the advantages and opportunities that come from holding a high-equity position, without the same temptation to spend this money that you might have if it were liquid cash.

Assuming that you’re not planning any major projects that require a large cash outlay – such as starting a business, buying an investment property, launching a renovation or paying for college – you may want to focus on boosting your equity by accelerating your mortgage payoff, making strategic value-boosting upgrades, or both.

VICTORIA KEICHINGER Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending June 17, 2017

As Millennials get older and more established in their careers, more of them are
entering the housing market. Nationwide sales rose to the third-highest level since
the housing crisis a decade ago, while home prices also hit record highs. Although
increasing prices may push some out of the running for a home purchase, mortgage
rates remain low enough to lure potential buyers.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending June 17:
 • New Listings decreased 6.6% to 1,840
 • Pending Sales decreased 4.8% to 1,396
 • Inventory decreased 16.2% to 12,316

For the month of May:
 • Median Sales Price increased 5.5% to $250,000
 • Days on Market decreased 15.0% to 51
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.9% to 99.5%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 17.2% to 2.4

Publish Date: June 26, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016

Information gathered from MAAR

Friday, June 23, 2017

Happy Friday! Here are some fun things to do this weekend!

ENKI Brewing in Victoria is turning 4! Join them on June 24 and 25 for two days of new beers, great food, fun games, and live music! At noon on Saturday, they'll be tapping their special anniversary beer, IV ANNO ENKI Belgian Quad! They’ll also be releasing extremely limited beer infusions all weekend long. They are going to have food trucks there both Saturday and Sunday along with live music!

Cast & Cru in Excelsior are hosting a guided Look to the Stars painting class with their staff! A local artist will guide the group step-by-step through the featured painting and their staff will be around throughout the 3-hour painting class for one-on-one assistance as well. Food and beverages are available for purchase! They will have the room set-up by 3 PM so come early to socialize with your group while you enjoy light appetizers and desserts. Or come hungry and enjoy their dinner selections! Email for the full dinner and drinks menu (

This weekend is also the 44th annual “Back to the 50’s” car show at the State Fairgrounds. Voted in 2016 as "Best Car Show" by USA TODAY. There are lots of things for the whole family! This year they projected 12,000 hot rods, customs and classics, vendors and crafters. The fun continues with live 50's music both Friday and Saturday evening, a flyover on Saturday and a kids’ pedal Tractor Pull

Thursday, June 22, 2017

12 Trending Designs to Bring Into Your Home Today

Good design is all about the little things. A seemingly small decision or maneuver can pay off to create something big and captivating. Looking back on our articles for this week, we noticed design moves so clever that they make the entire room stand out. Consider including one of these ideas in your next project. And if something here grabs you, be sure to click the link to dive deeper into the story it came from.
1. Bold countertop and backsplash color. If you get inspired by colorful spaces, let this Australian home be your muse. You may not think that a vibrant green countertop would work, but one look at its combination with an equally vivid green backsplash and light wood cabinets, and you could become a convert.
Laminate countertops are making a comeback, and they’re an affordable option that you can customize in any color you want.

2. Disappearing dining table. Dining space can be hard to come by in some homes. In this 835-square-foot condo, a suspended and recessed compartment beneath the TV opens to reveal a slide-out shelf that extends to create a desk or table surface.

3. Accent wall to hide the TV. Despite some reports that feature walls are fading, interior designer, color specialist and Houzz writer Jennifer Ott argues that’s just not the case. “I continue to evangelize for accent walls because they are one of the quickest and easiest ways to inject your own personality into a space,” she writes.
A black- or dark-painted feature wall can make unwanted elements disappear, as is the case in this living room, where the black screen of the TV is virtually nonexistent.
4. Window wrapped in tile. Graphic tile is a great way to bring pattern and movement to an otherwise white kitchen. But another terrific tip is to wrap that tile all the way around a window on the backsplash wall to give the appearance of a wallpaper effect.
5. Black marble countertops. Interior designer and Houzz writer Yanic Simard showed us the versatile beauty of black marble with all the ways it can be used to bring drama and elegance throughout a home. One highlight: countertops. “A dark stone counter makes an excellent pairing with a deep cabinet color,” he writes. “You can break up the darkness with a light backsplash and some shimmering metallic accents. Nobody will want to eat in the dining room again.”
6. Field tile feature wall in the shower. Using encaustic tile to cover an entire bathroom could get costly. A more affordable option is to create a smaller feature section in your shower with a solid-color border. Keep the rest of the tile simple, such as white subway, and you’ve got a stunning, affordable design feature.

7. Decorative shower drain. In the same shower as the previous photo, move your eyes down from the graphic feature wall and you’ll find this decorative shower drain. It goes to show that no matter how insignificant an element is in your space, there’s always room to have a little fun with design.

8. Ceiling treatment. Just as looking down at the shower drain can spark a little creativity, so too can looking up to the ceiling. The homeowners of this Florida home hired a custom artist to paint a scene depicting the night sky.
9. Outdoor furniture indoors. This little design trick is worth repeating time and again. If you live by the water, have kids or pets, or are involved in any activity that may cause abnormal wear and tear on your furniture, consider upholstering your pieces in outdoor fabric. It’s easier to clean and holds up better to active use.
10. Old shutter as a display board. If you have a home office, chances are you have some sort of display board for mementos, notes and reminders. If you prefer not to drill, hammer or pin anything into your walls (hello, renters), consider leaning an old shutter against the wall behind your desk, and use clips to secure things.
11. Wall-hung storage system. Sometimes a bulky storage case or bookshelf can take up a lot of visual and physical space. To keep the floor area free and clear, try a customizable wall-mounted shelf system like the one shown here. You can get creative with the size and location of each shelf to create a functional configuration that can work around almost any fixed element.

12. Mirrors behind shelves. Every designer has a bag of tricks to bring life and style to a room. Here, a designer used antique mirror to add a reflective element to a richly hued living room in London.
Houzz Contributor, Mitchell Parker

Monday, June 19, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending June 10, 2017

New buyers wanting to make their first home purchase are finding that they would
have to spend more of their monthly incomes in order to do so. Higher prices during
the busiest months of the selling season are giving some buyers pause, which is
partly due to low inventory and the slow-moving pace of new home construction. In
addition, some would-be sellers are staying put instead of trying to find a
replacement home in a competitive environment, which can further stall inventory

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending June 10:
 • New Listings increased 2.3% to 2,102
 • Pending Sales decreased at 1,442
 • Inventory decreased 16.1% to 12,107

For the month of May:
 • Median Sales Price increased 5.5% to $250,000
 • Days on Market decreased 15.0% to 51
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.9% to 99.5%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 17.2% to 2.4

Publish Date: June 19, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016
Information gathered from MAAR

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Happy Father’s Day Weekend!

Here are some fun events going on this weekend:
23nd Annual Stone Arch Bridge Festival. It’s a weekend of art & music on the Minneapolis Riverfront. There will be 250+ Artists, 4 Performance Stages, Family Art Activities, Art of the Car Show and more. Best part is that it’s free. For more details visit:

It's the 4th Annual Kid Fest at the Lake Harriet Bandshell in Minneapolis on Saturday. It will be a fun summer day of music and activities. It’s free as well. There will be Kids’ yoga and the Teddy Bear Band among other activities. For more info visit:

Shakopee and the Three Rivers Park District are hosting a Wild West Weekend. Meet lawmen and gunslingers of the 1800s, hear tall tales of the frontier, and experience reenactments of popular western legends. Watch cowboys and cowgirls crack whips and spin ropes, yodel with a cowboy, and enjoy a stage presentation by the River Valley Theatre Company. Horse-drawn trolleys provide transportation through the site. They also have food concessions available. Tickets are $5 – 8. It’s on Saturday, June 17- 10 am—5 pm and Sunday, June 18- Noon—5 pm.

If none of those suit you there is always the Twins game. They are playing the Cleveland Indians tomorrow (Friday) at 7:10, Saturday at 1:10 & 7:10 and Sunday at 1:10. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

10 Things in Your Bathroom You’re Probably Forgetting to Clean

If you’ve showered yourself with good intentions about doing some spring cleaning, there are a few spots you don’t want to miss.
Routine bathroom cleaning means hitting the fixtures and the floor with a good once-over. That’s a terrific start, but for a deeper clean, consult this checklist for 10 things you don’t want to skip.
Bath Mat
It would be great if only clean feet hit the clean bath mat. Since the whole family is in and out of the bathroom all day long, it’s pretty likely your bath mat needs attention. Start by giving it a safety check to see if it is losing its no-slip backing or if it no longer lies flat, as both are trip hazards. Most bath mats can go in the washing machine. Some can be air-dried and others put in the dryer. Check your rug’s tag and follow manufacturer directions.
Organizing Tip: When you buy a new bath mat for a frequently used bathroom, buy two. This way you can routinely throw one in the wash and reach for a clean one to put down in its place.
Shower Curtain
Shower curtains don’t need to be cleaned often, but spring cleaning is the perfect time to take care of this task. Most fabric curtains can be taken down and washed—again, check the tag and follow the directions. As for waterproof liners, inspect them to see if you find mold and mildew forming along seams or areas that often stay wet. Replace with a fresh liner or remove the soiled one and clean it.
It might be time to toss that toothbrush. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should switch to a new toothbrush every three to four months or when bristles become frayed. The ADA does not recommend any cleaning methods as a substitute for a new brush.
Organizing Tip: Buy a multi-pack of toothbrushes so you have extras available as soon as you need them.
Toothbrush Holder
The spot where you store your toothbrush typically has an accumulation of drippings and toothpaste. Use some hot soapy water to clean your holder. A small scrubbing brush is good for reaching into tight spaces.
Cleaning your hairbrush and combs should be a regular task. After all, dirty hair and a buildup of products is not something you want to brush back into your clean locks. Clean your brushes by first removing any hair from the bristles. (A comb and a pair of scissors are helpful with this task.) Then shampoo your hairbrush in warm water, rinse well and allow to dry.
You may not have given much thought to the pores in your loofah, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, they can be a breeding ground for bacteria that can even lead to skin infections. They recommend to weekly soak it in a diluted bleach solution for five minutes and then rinse thoroughly. The Clinic also recommends replacing your loofah every three to four weeks.
Grab the bathroom trashcan and banish the germs. Give it a good cleaning inside and out. Allow it to dry well. Add a liner for easy maintenance.
From floor vents to bathroom fans, these often-forgotten spots definitely need a spring cleaning. Those on the floor have dirt and hair fall into them, while ones on the ceiling can collect dust. To clean them, first remove the vent cover. Then use the brush attachment to your vacuum to clean the top and underside of the cover. Use your nozzle attachment to vacuum up debris, then replace the clean cover. For fan vents, a wet sponge is useful for collecting dust that has accumulated on the cover.
 Drain Stoppers
Why wait for a clog? Now is the perfect time to fish out any accumulation of hair and prevent buildup. Remove the drain stoppers from your sink and shower. Give them a scrub and return them to the drain.
Medicine Cabinet Clutter
Do a bit of spring organizing and reclaim storage space by purging your drawers and cabinets.
Jose Zuniga of MakeSpace recommends sorting through everything in your medicine cabinet and vanity drawers. “Throw out anything that’s expired, including old medication. Only keep the items that you use on a regular basis, such as your toiletries and grooming supplies, in your bathroom,” he says.
“Now that you’re left with only the items you use on a regular basis, look to your walls. They’re prime real estate for storing your bathroom supplies without hogging any floor or counter space. For the extra items that you don’t use often—like first aid supplies and spare rolls of toilet paper—put them in a labeled basket or clear storage container and store it on a closet shelf,” he recommends.
As you organize, give shelves and drawers a quick wipe to ensure you’re starting with a clean slate.
Armed with a fresh eye for attention to detail, your bathroom will not only look clean, but it will feel clean, too.

Lea Schneider -

Monday, June 12, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending June 3, 2017

Whether or not new listings or total sales are up or down in week-to-week
measures, there are two universal truths in residential real estate across the country
at the moment: the market is quite active, and, thus, overall inventory is still
trending downward compared to last year. That will likely be the case for the
entirety of 2017, especially at the pace that homes are coming off the market.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending June 3:
 • New Listings decreased 2.2% to 1,971
 • Pending Sales increased 2.4% to 1,306
 • Inventory decreased 16.0% to 11,870

For the month of April:
 • Median Sales Price increased 6.3% to $245,500
 • Days on Market decreased 20.5% to 58
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.2% to 99.2%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 17.9% to 2.3

Publish Date: June 12, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016
Information from MAAR

Friday, June 9, 2017

It’s Art on the Lake Weekend!

This year is the 37th Annual Excelsior Art on the Lake. It will be Saturday June 10th and Sunday 11th, 2017. Excelsior Art on the Lake is an engaging creative event that connects the artist's personal story with a vibrant lake community, while showcasing an array of outstanding artistic work from multiple disciplines. Local musicians will entertain and regional food vendors will be onsite throughout the two - day event.

Saturday June 10, 2017 • 10 am - 6 pm
Sunday June 11, 2017 • 10 am - 4 pm
For More information and to check out the vendors click here:

Carver County is hosting Log Rolling Day at Lake Ann in Chanhassen
Experience Minnesota History firsthand! Hop on a log and get those feet moving for a fun exercise in balance, agility and core strength. Minnesota-made Key Logs are made of plastic, filled with water and have training equipment that help keep the roll-speed appropriate for people of all ages and abilities. Come prepared to get wet; water shoes or secure sandals recommended. This activity is a partnership between Carver County Parks Department and the City of Chanhassen Parks Department.

Lake Ann Park, Chanhassen
Ages 5+ (youth must register and participate with an adult)
$12/Family Chanhassen Resident; $14/Family Chanhassen Non-Resident (max of 5 per family)
$5/person day-of
Min/Max: 6/20

Registration: online at

The 9th annual St. Paul Summer Beer Fest takes place Saturday, June 10th, 2017 from 2-5pm (Early Admission at 1pm) at the MN State Fairgrounds in beautiful St. Paul.

This outdoor craft beer festival features unlimited sampling from 100+ breweries in a commemorative tasting glass, live music, tasty food, educational seminars, and a silent auction benefiting the Midway YMCA of St. Paul.

Visit to learn more.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Leaving on Summer Vacation? Be House-Smart.

Simple steps can avoid complicated and costly headaches when you’re not home.
Vacation is a time to leave your worries behind, but a nagging thought that you forgot something at home can ruin the best of vacations. Take these simple steps to prevent things from going awry while you’re away from home.
Two weeks before heading out, says you should:
  • Arrange for lawn service and pet care.
  • Check your outdoor sprinkler system.
  • Stop all routine delivery services and arrange for final trash pickup.
  • Check your alarm system.
Also, remember to make arrangements for your mail. The U.S. Postal Service can hold mail safely at your local branch until you return. You can notify the USPS as many as 30 days in advance or as early as the next scheduled delivery day by signing up for Hold Mail Service.
Trust a friend, advises, by giving them a key and contact information in case of an emergency. Also, many police departments offer vacation house checks, so check with your local precinct for details.
So, the suitcases are packed, the gas tank is full and you are heading out for that long-awaited respite! The day you leave, don’t forget to set your thermostats. If you have a manual one, set your air conditioning system to 80 degrees for homes and townhouses; 77 degrees for condos and apartments. For a programmable thermostat, set it at 72 degrees for two hours each morning before sunrise and at 88 degrees the rest of the time. This will help prevent mold by removing moisture from the air during the cooler hours.
Other last-day checklist items:
  • Run the dishwasher
  • Unplug nonessential appliances
  • Turn off water to washing machine and toilets
  • Set timers and lights
  • Check window locks
  • Throw away food that might spoil
  • Get rid of the trash
  • Set the alarm
Finally, give the house a last once-over before you lock the doors. Make sure everything is safe and then have fun!

From Coldwell Banker Burnet Blueprint

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending May 27, 2017

The current situation for residential real estate is the ongoing situation for residential
real estate. The market is active, and the trend lines are showing nothing out of a
long-standing ordinary. There may not be as many homes for sale as one would
like, and price increases are starting to make one look more closely at affordability,
but real estate professionals are busy, and buyers and sellers are dancing in
mutually beneficial transactional pairs.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending May 27:
 • New Listings decreased 2.7% to 1,689
 • Pending Sales decreased 13.9% to 1,439
 • Inventory decreased 17.0% to 11,850

For the month of April:
 • Median Sales Price increased 6.3% to $245,500
 • Days on Market decreased 20.5% to 58
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.2% to 99.2%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 17.9% to 2.3

Publish Date: June 5, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016
Info from MAAR

Friday, June 2, 2017

What’s Happening this Weekend?

The Chanhassen Farmer’s Marketing is returning! It will be at City Center Park from 9am – 1pm Saturday, June 3rd. For more information check out their facebook:

If you can make it to St. Paul the Flint Hills International Children’s Festival is hosting The Whale’s Tale. It’s An interactive outdoor performance spectacle by multi-award-winning Australian company Born in a Taxi. Immerse yourself in The Whale’s Tale as you watch from the shore, or submerge yourself in this underwater playground full of surprises. Tickets are available through the Ordway. For more information click here:

Navarre is having their Rib Fest this weekend. You can buy a rack of ribs or sample just a few at Rib Fest 2017. All proceeds are going to the Orono Baseball team to pay for new equipment and uniforms. They have Big Green Egg Cooking Classes at 11:00am, 12:00pm and 1:00pm. If you contact the store at 952-471-9100 or with your RSVP you’ll get a FREE gift at class.

6Smith is hosting a June Craft Cocktail Class tomorrow, June 3rd from 2pm – 3:30.  Classes are a combination of hands-on participation and demonstration. You’ll be able to shake, stir and enjoy your libations along with a selection of bar snacks as Hanson demystifies the art of the craft cocktail. You also receive detailed recipes so you can recreate the cocktails. Cost is $40 and inclusive of drinks, tips, snacks, printed recipes and instruction. Click here for tickets:

Thursday, June 1, 2017

17th-Century Tricks That Add Formal Grandeur to Your Garden

Our gardens may seem a long way from the well-tended acres surrounding Italian villas and French palaces, but we can take many features directly from them to create our own gardens of formal grandeur. Formal garden design has its roots in Italian Renaissance gardens. These spaces influenced the 17th-century French gardeners who created great gardens of formal grandeur, including André Le Nôtre, who designed the gardens surrounding the Palace of Versailles. These had a formal layout with terraces and parterres, long, straight avenues, water features and topiary, all set within a strict geometric layout.

Translating 17th-century formal grandeur into 20th century modernity is about interpreting the main historical design features of the era: the parterre, allées, clipped evergreens, treillage and water features. Simplicity within a carefully controlled geometric plan is the basis for this style of garden. In contrast to many minimalistic gardens of today, the plants, both in topiaries and parterres, are at the forefront.

Start with a parterre. 
A parterre is vital to contemporary interpretations of formal gardens. In 17th-century gardens, parterres filled the flat areas immediately surrounding the house. The parterre developed from the Tudor knot garden, becoming more exuberant with stylized designs created from low boxwood (Buxus spp) hedging. Sand or gravel surrounded central beds that were filled with either low plantings or colored gravel.
This front garden in London features round boxwood parterres surrounding textural shrubs and herbs. A taller hedge encloses the garden, which sits on a gravel base.
The simplest parterre designs can be the most effective, especially in smaller gardens or outdoor rooms within a larger garden. The plants’ carefully maintained, strictly geometric shape brings great style and simple grandeur to the landscape.

Create an allée. 
The allée, a path bordered by trees or shrubs, was a central feature of 17th-century formal gardens. We can use allées in our contemporary gardens to bring formality to the smallest spaces.
Straight lines can be as effective in compact gardens as they are in the wide spaces of Versailles. Here, a simple narrow gravel path bordered by lavender leads to a quartet of clipped English Yew (Taxus baccata, zones 5 to 7) and a Lutyens-style bench.
 Furnish with topiary. 
Topiary was originally an expression of man’s control over nature, so it’s not surprising that it was a central feature of formal gardens, where nature was primped and preened into elaborate parterres.
In its simplest form, clipped topiary can highlight the geometric nature of a garden’s design, ensuring a feeling of formality through the precise shapes.
Geometric formal garden designs can seem two-dimensional, but the use of topiary shapes, whether spheres, pyramids or cubes, brings the third dimension into play.

The clean lines of this small formal layout have been heightened by the clever use of blocks of clipped evergreens on the steps and adjacent to the water feature.

Asymmetry can also bring formality in garden design. Blocks of topiary boxwood balls take the place of low hedge-lined beds in this modern parterre.

Add a touch of treillage. 
Treillage, the use of wooden trellis, has been a feature of gardens since medieval times and was popular in 17th-century formal gardens. The obelisk trellis, also called a tuteur, gives a garden height and dimension. Obelisks were often used in 17th-century gardens as a focal point or to mark the center of an open space or meeting of pathways.
In contemporary gardens they bring an atmosphere of formality, especially when used among informal plantings. These garden features can be used to support climbers and roses or for growing fastigiate conifers, but the simplicity of an unclothed obelisk can add a more formal appearance, especially within a looser design.

Make room for a water feature. 
Water features in the grand gardens of the 17th century tended to be lavish and expansive. A favorite was the canal, where pleasure boats floated on long stretches of reflective, still water. This contemporary rill might be the closest we can get to including a canal within a modern design. Its simple formality and reflective qualities emphasize the garden’s clean, geometric layout.

Houzz Contributor, Frank Organ