Schmechtig Landscapes is proud and honored to announce it has received the Best of Houzz 2018 Service award.  This is the 4th consecutive year we have been awarded The Best of Houzz in Customer Service and the 6th consecutive year Schmechtig has received a Best of Houzz award.

The companies who receive this recognition represent some of the most talented and customer-focused professionals in our industry and Schmechtig Landscapes is extremely pleased to be given this recognition and the Houzz platform to showcase its work and expertise.

The Best of Houzz 2018 badge helps homeowners identify top-rated home professionals who work in Chicago’s North Shore and Northwest Suburbs. “We are proud and honored to be the recipient of this distinguished Best of Houzz award. Our 58 years of successful practice comes from dedication to building long-term relationships with our clients and this is why the majority of our work comes directly from referrals,” says Michael Schmechtig President of Schmechtig Landscapes, “I am very proud of my staff who are some of the most talented and customer-focused professionals in our industry.” 

Published in Landscaping

Schmechtig Landscapes was awarded Best of Houzz 2017 for Customer Service. This is the 5th year in a row we have received an award from Houzz. The customer service award is based on the number and quality of client reviews received in 2016.  This is an honor for all of us at Schmechtig Landscapes since we are all about improving our clients’ lives by providing superior landscape services.  We send a special thanks to those clients who took the time to write a review and let us know how they felt about us.
Check out our Houzz profile at and start some ideabooks of your own and visit



Landscape Maintenance and Design Project by Schmechtig Landscapes in Winnetka, Illinois


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Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 14 September 2016 17:23

10 Tips for Using Outdoor Fire Bowls

Now is perfect time of year to sit outside late into the evening, and nothing makes that better than the cheeriness and warmth of a fire, says Pangaea Interior Design.  They continue, if you don't want to spend megabucks on an outdoor fireplace and don't want to spend hours stacking bricks and slathering them with mortar to build a permanent fire-pit, what are you to do?
Fire bowls are the answer. They can be as low-tech as a big fireproof bowl for burning real wood or they can be fueled by propane, natural gas or clean-burning gel. Either way, instead of spending your time on installation, you get to spend your time enjoying the ambience. Here are a few ideas:
Courtesy of and Pangaea Interior Design

Published in Landscaping

Here's a very useful list of what pro landscapers do in the fall for their properties and their clients, which you should steal and tackle between now and the end of November from House Beautiful and Beth Kaufman.  We couldn't agree more with HB and Beth!

1. They give their lawn one last cut.

Continue to mow your lawn until it stops growing - yes, even if it's cold. "If grass blades get too long, they shade the other blades around them," says Scott Olivieri of Michael and Sons Nurseries in the New York City area. "Also, at snowfall, the too-long grass will get packed down and promote snow mold." The general rule of thumb? Keep grass around three inches tall - all year - so there is enough surface area for the sun to hit.

2. They test their soil.

This is good time to apply grass seed, but there's a crucial first step: "The soil should be tested to determine pH and nutrient availability," says Matt Owens, president of the Landscape Contractors Association. "Necessary deficiencies need to be corrected or you're just wasting time and money." Sending a soil sample to a professional for testing will cost about $15 - and it's well worth it. "Soil plays such an important role in the landscape, yet it often gets overlooked."

3. Then they reseed the lawn.

Once the soil is tested - and any deficiencies are corrected - it's time to aerate and seed the parts that are stressed from the summer's sun or trampled from foot traffic. It depends on the condition of the lawn, but you typically need about three pounds for every 1,000 square feet of lawn, says Josh Kane, president of Kane Landscapes in Northern Virginia. "I like to use certified seed, which means it's almost purely grass seed with very little weed seeds and no fillers."

4. They fluff up the mulch.

Officially, it's called turning the mulch. Fluffing it up gives flowerbeds a fresh look and cuts down on (or even eliminates) the need for more, fresh mulch. If you end up adding new stuff, keep the pile around two to three inches thick, Owens says. More than that, and the mulch becomes a hiding place for insects and plant diseases, and water could have a harder time being absorbed.

5. They make their own mulch.

If you find that, after you turn the mulch, you still need more, try making your own. There's no shortage of fallen leaves this time of year. "Run your lawnmower over your leaves a few times and use them as mulch for your flower beds," says Owens. "This is an excellent source of organic matter that your plants will love you for."

6. They do some planning and planting.
"Fall is a great time to plant," says Kane. "See what plants need to be divided or re-spaced (especially perennials like Hosta plants and daisies) and what areas of the landscape need to be filled in to make next year look even better." If you have summer annuals, swap them out for fall-appropriate mums and pansies.

7. They give their driveway and walkways some TLC.

Your lawn's overall look includes your driveway and walkways. "The fall is an important time to fill cracks in asphalt or concrete, and apply a sealant to help prevent water penetration damage from freezing and thawing," says Kane. Any time water gets into cracks and freezes, you are at risk for even more damage.

8. They water their evergreens.

"Make sure all evergreens are sufficiently watered in September and October to reduce the possibility of dehydration in the winter," says Kevin McHale of McHale Landscape Design in Maryland. How much water do you need? That depends on the recent weather. "If it's starting to be a rainy fall, no water is necessary. If it's less than four inches for the month, you'll need one or two thorough hour-long waterings once a week for up to three weeks."

 9. They do some pruning.
Trees and shrubs typically need a heavy pruning before the cold winter. "Some may need it to help prevent damage from snow and ice storms and some just for looks or to control size for next spring," says Kane. Just don't prune certain flowering plants like hydrangeas, lilacs and viburnum, because it could spoil the spring bloom.

10. They pack up for the winter.
When your chores are done, bring in all of your tools, sprinklers and, especially, hoses. "Water in the hose will expand when it freezes and damage the hose," says Olivieri. "And don't forget to have all irrigation lines blown out so lines, heads and valves don't crack."


Courtesy of's lifestyles home and garden section, House Beautiful and Beth Kaufman

Published in Landscaping

Cooler evenings are approaching and thoughts of fire pits come to mind.  If you are thinking about installing one, decide what type you want - wood, gas, ecosmart and will this be a built in or one that you can move around your property or take with you if you move.  Here are 6 Fire Pits to inspire from's lifestyles home and garden section:


Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, Illinois Fire Pit Design



Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 16 August 2016 09:40

12 Tricks to Make the Most of Your Yard

See how to get more out of every square inch of your outdoor space with ideas from Lauren Dunec Hoang, a houzz contributor. Hoang says, with a few strategic choices to expand views, hide storage and maximize vertical surfaces, you’ll get the most out of every inch of your yard. These gardens all offer smart space-saving solutions and prove that less is often more. Read and see more:


Side Yard Design using blue stone and crushed blue stone pattern, Schmechtig Landcapes, Glenview, Illinois



Fire Pit in Side Yard for Intimate Converstaion Gatherings, Winnetka, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes



Walkway with Trellis's and Blue Stone Connecting Sunken Historic Garden Restoration to Main House in Wilmette, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes



Side Garden with Garden Path and Garden Art, Winnetka, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes 

Published in Landscaping

A wonderful addition to a backyard retreat is the outdoor kitchen. Homeowners are thinking about the entertaining value of their landscaping instead of only the visual value. This element enables the family to spend meal time outside and eating together.



Schmechtig Landscapes Winnetka, Illinois Outdoor Kitchen Patio Project


Additionally, the outdoor kitchen enables the homeowner to spend time with their guests not in the house preparing the meal. Kitchen components are considerable and vary depending on budget, space and specific needs of the family. The options besides a premium grill now include a wet bar, refrigerator, warming drawer, trash compactor, dishwasher, storage and more.

But what makes the outdoor kitchen particularly special is the ability to coordinate stone and countertop material to the existing landscape or home, which truly blends this space seamlessly into its environment.  Looking for inspiration for your outdoor kitchen visit 



Schmechtig Landscapes Design Featured on HGTV: Outdoor Kitchen, Dinning and Living Room in Schaumburg, Illinois


Outdoor Kitchen and Outdoor Living Spaces, Schmechtig Landscapes Design Featured on HGTV: Outdoor Kitchen, Outdoor Dinning Area with Pergola and See-thru outdoor fireplace into Living Room in Schaumburg, Illinois

Published in Landscaping

This long-blooming eastern North American native shrub finds a home in landscapes around the world, says Curtis Adams, a Houzz Contributor.  Adams continues, wild hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) and its cultivars are landscape staples that grace gardens across the U.S. and around the world. With their mounding habits and long-lasting flowers, it’s easy to see why. Read and see more:


Using Hydrangea in your Front Landscape Design, Schmechtig Landscapes Design in Barrington, Illinois



Hydrangea in Raised Plant Bed Design, Barrington, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes



Using Hydrangea in your Backyard, Designed and Built by Schmechtig Landscapes in Wilmette, Illinois

Published in Landscaping

It's not too late to plant veggies for autumn harvests​.​ Here are 8 different types of veggies to plant from Country Living and Arricca SanSone.

What it needs: Sow spinach directly into your garden in late July or early August. Because it doesn't germinate well in temperatures higher than 85 degrees, help reduce soil temperature by keeping it moist. After the first frost (or even the first snow), spinach may look frozen or wilted, but wait for the sun to come out and perk it up, then harvest. "I've seen spinach survive under snow well into winter. It's incredibly hardy," says Smith.
Varieties to try: Red Kitten or Emperor, although almost any type of spinach performs well in cool temperatures.

What it needs: Plant no later than mid-August or late August in more moderate climates. Keep the soil moist while seeds are trying to germinate. Radishes mature in about a month. They don't store for long periods in the ground, so harvest as soon as you see the radish pushing up through the soil, says McCrate. They can handle cold but don't like a frost
Varieties to try: Cherriette, French breakfast, or watermelon, which produce best in fall.

What it needs: Sow carrot seeds by late July to early August. Keep the soil moist because they won't germinate in dry soil. Thin plants because if they're too close together, they'll be stunted and deformed. Try mulching with straw to make your harvest last longer. While they won't keep growing in cold weather, they will become sweeter-tasting after a frost, says Smith.
Varieties to try: Scarlet Nantes, Nelson and Napoli.

What it needs: Plant cilantro in mid-to late summer for a fall crop. Sow successive crops over a week to maintain a fresh supply as this plant flowers and seeds quickly. Once plants go to seed, harvest and dry the seeds, which are coriander. Cilantro is somewhat frost tolerant, and established plants may live through winter in moderate climates, says McCrate.
Varieties to try: Calypso or Santo, which is slower to go to seed.

Pansies or Violas
What it needs: Plant these anytime throughout the season for pretty and delicious garnishes for salads or baked goods. They have good frost tolerance and will keep for a few days in the fridge in a plastic bag, says McCrate.
Varieties to try: Choose a selection of colors such as Penny All Season mix.

What it needs: Kale should be planted no later than mid-August. It will withstand a heavy frost, and its flavor is improved by cold weather due to the glucose production. "Kale is worth growing because the plants produce a lot of food for the space they take up," says McCrate. To keep plants going, harvest only a few leaves at a time from each plant. Some types may overwinter and rebound in the spring.
Varieties to try: Winterbor, Lacinato, or Red Russian, which has more tender leaves. Kale flowers also are edible.

What it needs: Get broccoli in the ground by late July or early August. Transplants typically do better, but you can direct seed, too, if you can't find plants. Broccoli is hungry and thirsty, so add compost before planting to help the soil hold moisture. "It's not the ultimate cold survivor spinach is, but colder weather does impart a sweetness because of the sugars produced," says Smith.
Varieties to try:  Bay Meadows, Marathon, or Arcadia, which has the best cold tolerance.

Salad Greens
What it needs: Mixed baby lettuces are very easy to grow from seed, though they won't germinate if it's too hot. If it's still sweltering, plant in shadier spots or drape shade cloth over rows. Keep soil moist to reduce soil temperature. Hand watering also cools the greens down on hot days. Lettuce grows well in containers, too, says McCrate.
Varieties to try: Arugula Surrey or any mesclun mix that includes red and green lettuce. For head lettuce, try transplants of Winter Density, or grow Brune d'hiver, an heirloom variety that's extra cold-hardy, from seed.


Courtesy of home and garden section, Country Living and Arricca SanSOne

Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 13 July 2016 11:03

7 Ways to Rethink the Shrub

These versatile plants can do more than frame your home’s foundation or line an entry walk, says Falon Mihalic, a Houzz Contributor.

Mihalic continues, whether you utilize their unusual characteristics, prune them into tight forms or design with them for wildlife, you can get creative with shrubs for a more interesting and unusual garden. Here are ideas for rethinking the basic shrub:


Shrubs in Front Yard Landscape Design, Schmechtig Landscapes in Winnetka, Illinois



Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, Illinois, Backyard Informal Garden using shrubs for symmetry

Published in Landscaping
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