It may not be the baseball diamond of Kevin Costner and Field of Dreams, but the Hassel backyard has been known to host a game or two. Wiffle ball, kickball and more have been played there across nearly two decades.
Brenda Hassel and her husband, Steve, owner of Hassel Landscaping, first came across the home as part of a landscaping job. It was actually a lakeside home that the owners were looking to sell. The Hassels took advantage of the opportunity and moved the home off the lake to its current location, poured a basement and set it down where it has now sat for 19 years.
“There was nothing out here at first. No pond, no YMCA, it was like being in the country but really close to everything,” Brenda Hassel said.
Upon setting down the house they knew they would have a walkout basement and Brenda says that Steve always knew what trees he wanted to plant.
Trees along the southern fence line are original but all the others have been planted by the Hassels including crab-apple, birch and more that have grown in through the years.
Over the course of time the area has developed more and more, but the Hassels and their three children, now ages 20, 18 and 11, have retained the space and privacy they love.
It helps that they have two acres through which they can spread out. Whether it’s four-wheelers, dirt bikes or snowmobiles, the Hassel family is an active group and their outdoor spaces suit them perfectly. Tank, the family’s five-year-old labrador retriever, enjoys the yard as well with plenty of room to chase after tennis balls.
“We love the outdoors and feel really fortunate here. It’s so great especially for our active family,” Hassel said. “There is still a sense of seclusion. The kids have always been active and it’s great to have lots of room to run and watch them have fun.”
A new addition not planned by the Hassels themselves is the pond maintained by the city to help with storm drainage.
While not ideal for a dip during the summer heat, it adds to the nature of the space with cattails and prairie grasses lining the stream and a bridge for easy access to a tree house in one of those original trees on the property.
The pond also serves as a target for golf balls hit from a grassy area atop a rock retaining wall near the house that sometimes serves as an impromptu tee box.
The teebox is just off the deck that runs the length of the top floor of the house. Grilling and outdoor meals are commonplace on the deck and the table commands an expansive view of the yard, pond and fields beyond.
Underneath the deck rests a hot tub just off the walkout basement. Just a few feet away from the bubbling water a wooden bench swing offers a shady spot to sway while looking out across the yard.
With plenty of space, it’s been a natural fit for family gatherings including a recent family reunion that saw more than 150 people enjoy the wide open space the Hassel home has to offer.
And, on occasion, that wide open space has been mowed into a baseball diamond for a Hassel family game or two of wiffle ball.
Looking into the distance — just past the fence line and cornfields — conjures an image of that other ball field made famous in film.
From the August 2016 edition of Okoboji Magazine.