Evergreen trees and shrubs provide structure and color in the winter months — and can attract wildlife too, says Frank Organ, a Houzz Contributor. He continues saying -  A wide range of trees and shrubs extend garden interest beyond springtime blooms, but many of them do not provide year-round appeal. When the colors of autumn fade and our garden’s bare bones become stark in winter’s clear light, hedging can provide that extra bit of seasonal interest.
Read and see more: 


Hedge and Evergreens and Boxwood Landscape Ideas, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes


Evergreens in a Formal Landscape Design, Wilmette, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes


Evergreens around pool landscaping, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes


Hedge Ideas in Front Yard Landscaping, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes


Evergreens Front Yard Landscape Ideas, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping
Friday, 05 December 2014 10:01

25 Gorgeous Holiday Mantels

Laden with boughs, lights and and more, these decorated fireplace mantels show a festive Christmas spirit and a creative approach.

Get inspired see more: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/5736320?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u845&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery12


Published in Landscaping

Easy Cheesy Fondue with Fingerling Potatoes, French Bread and Select Vegetables

12 fingerling potatoes, cut in 1/2, 1-inch baby potatoes may be substituted
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, plus some for drizzling
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 jigger dry sherry
1 cup half-and-half
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup grated Gruyere or Swiss
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups steamed broccoli florets
1 pound asparagus, trimmed of stems, tips reserved
2 tablespoons fresh chives, snipped or chopped
1/2 French baguette, cubed
12 cherry tomatoes
 Cornichons or baby gherkin pickles
 Marinated mushrooms
 Pickled onions


Cover potatoes with water and bring the water to a boil.

Salt the water and simmer potatoes 10 to 12 minutes, until just tender.

Drain potatoes and return to warm pot to dry the potatoes.

Drizzle potatoes with a little oil to keep them from discoloring and to shine them up.


Fill a second skillet or saucepan with 2 inches of water.

Cover and bring the water to a boil on the stovetop. Salt the water, replace the cover and reduce heat to simmer.


To a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and the chopped shallots.

Saute shallots for 2 or 3 minutes, then add sherry and allow it to almost evaporate, a minute or two.

Add half-and-half to the pan and reduce heat to low.

Cut cream cheese into 1-inch slices and add it to the pot.

Allow the cream cheese to slowly melt into the half-and-half, 5 minutes.

Add Parmesan and shredded Gruyere or Swiss to the sauce and stir until cheese is melted and fully incorporated.

Stir in lemon juice.

Season sauce with, nutmeg and black pepper.

Place a candle underneath a wire rack or warm a fondue pot.

Transfer cheese sauce to fondue pot or place saucepan over wire rack and burning candle.


To simmering salted water, add broccoli and cook florets, covered, 3 minutes.

Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon to a plate and add asparagus tips.

Cook asparagus tips 2 minutes, then remove with tongs to a plate.

Arrange the items for dipping on a large serving platter.

Garnish the cooked potatoes with chives.

Set the cubed baguette on the opposite end of the platter, to balance color.

Between potatoes and bread, arrange cooked broccoli, asparagus and cherry tomatoes.

Set out fondue forks or bamboo skewers for dipping.

Place small dishes of cornichons, marinated mushrooms and pickled onions near dipping station for accompaniments.

Total Time: 40 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy
Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray and foodnetwork.com

Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 10:22

To-Dos: Your December Home Checklist

Make your home warm and safe and set the mood for a happy holiday season you and your family will truly enjoy
Laura Gaskill, a Houzz Contributor shares 12 tasks to check off for an easier, safer and cozier month. Read more:


Published in Landscaping
Friday, 28 November 2014 09:17

How to Care for a Freshly Cut Christmas Tree

Keep your tree looking lush until the last ornament is packed away, with these tips for watering, stands and siting from Therese Ciesinski, a houzz contributor.  "Artificial trees may have increased in popularity, but for the purist, only a real tree will do. No matter how realistic it looks, an artificial tree can’t compete with the scent and feel of a real evergreen. It’s a living part of nature that, for a short time, we give a place of honor in our homes." says Ciesinski, "And no matter which kind of tree it is — spruce, fir, pine or cypress — once it’s indoors, the goal is to keep the tree fresh and green. This means keeping the needles pliable and on the tree until the holidays are over. And the only thing that does that is water, lots of it. Think of it like a big, green pet: Just as a dog or cat needs fresh water every day, so does a fresh Christmas tree. " Here are Therese's tips: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/20617685/list/how-to-care-for-a-freshly-cut-christmas-tree

Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 09:06

Holiday Hostess Gifts - Ideas

Don't come to a holiday soirée empty-handed. Bring one of these and guaranteed you'll be invited back. Here are some ideas from Bridget Mallon and Sarah Yang and House Beautiful: http://www.housebeautiful.com/shopping/best/hostess-gifts#slide-1

Published in Landscaping
Friday, 21 November 2014 08:40

50 Outdoor Room Design Ideas

More and more families are moving their living rooms outside, so why not do it in style? Here, House Beautiful, gives you 50 ideas to create your own outdoor living room complete with a sofa, fireplace, and even a chandelier.  Read More:  http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/garden/50-outdoor-room-design-ideas/ss-AA6N2lz?ocid=ansentap11#image=1


Outdoor Living Room Idea with Sofa, Barrington, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes


HGTV Project, Schmechtig Landscapes - Outdoor Living Room and Dining Room with see-thru Fireplace and Outdoor Kitchen, Schaumburg, IL.


HGTV Project, Schmechtig Landscapes - another view of Outdoor Living Room and Dining Room with see-thru Fireplace and Outdoor Kitchen, Schaumburg, IL.


HGTV Project, Schmechtig Landscapes - another view of Outdoor Dining Room with Chandelier and see-thru Fireplace and Outdoor Kitchen, Schaumburg, IL.

Published in Landscaping

Brick is one of the most popular choices for home exteriors in the U.S. 

Jay Sifford, a Houzz contributor, shares his tips to pull your home’s colors into your garden for a more cohesive exterior look.  I agree with Jay's comment,  "I believe in our hectic world we seek peaceful continuity in our personal spaces. A large part of that is creating a seamless dialogue between home and garden. Whether your home is made of brick, stone, siding or stucco, we can take some cues from our houses to make them truly at home in our landscapes." Here are ways to landscape your brick home and samples of Schmechtig Landscapes brick home design projects and landscape maintenance work in Glenview, Winnetka, Wilmette and Barrington Hills, Illinois: 



Painted Brick House, Side Garden Path Idea, Blue Stone and Chipped Blue Stone Pattern, Glenview, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes


Brick Home Landscape, Winnetka, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes


Brick House Landscape Ideas, Front Entrance, including Blue Stone and Brick, Winnetka, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes


Brick House Back Yard Landscape including swimming pool, outdoor kitchen and firepit, Winnetka, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes


Brick House Front Landscaping, Winnetka, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes


Brick House Landscape Ideas with Stone Patio including Pergola, Winnetka, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes


Brick House Landscape Ideas, Backyard, Historic Landscape Home Restoration, Wilmette, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes


Brick House Front Yard Landscape Ideas, including Stone and Brick Front Entrance Walkway and Driveway, Wilmette, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes


Brick House Backyard Landscape Ideas, Stone and Brick Patio, Barrington Hills, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 10:27

Dream Spaces: A Secret Garden of Your Own

We can indulge in our own secret gardenscape.  Kate McKee, a Houzz contributor, says with a little imagination you can.  Read and see more: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/33750325?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u793&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery11


Sunken Garden, Lake Bluff IL., Schmechtig Landscapes


Garden Landscape Design - Secret Garden, Barrington, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes


Formal Garden Ideas, Wilmette, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes


Formal Garden Ideas, Wilmette, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes


Informal Garden Ideas, Winnetka, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping
Monday, 10 November 2014 10:30

These Are Not Your Grandparents Junipers

Dislike junipers? Jay Sifford, a Houzz contributor, says "Maybe it’s time to discover new varieties and new uses for this garden workhorse"
See and read more about the new varieties and which type will work in your zone:


Published in Landscaping
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