Tuesday, 24 March 2015 11:02

How to Hire a Landscape Contractor

Finding a landscaping contractor is not a difficult task, but assessing the qualifications and business practices of an individual or a company can require substantial effort on the part of the consumer on how to landscape. The State of Illinois and most of its municipalities do not define nor regulate the work of landscape contractors, which puts the burden of responsibility and risk on the consumer. Consumers in Illinois can look to the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) to find qualified, reputable and insured professionals providing all manner of landscape services. Through the ILCA, members obtain training and continuing education in both technical and business skills to enhance their business practices and the professionalism of their employees. The more than 800-member firms across the state have unparalleled access to research, publications and product information, as well as an open-line of communication to product manufacturers, educators and researchers. Schmechtig Landscapes has been a member of the ILCA for over 26 years.  Following you will learn how we stand apart and what we can do for you.
How We Stand Apart
1 - We are members of the Illinois Landscape
Contractors Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, Planet, and  Illinois Green Association
2 - We carry workers compensation insurance
and business liability insurance appropriate to our operation, and for the
entire duration of the project.
3 - We are appropriately licensed to do
the type of work – landscaping proposed in your community.
4 - We comply with all state and
federal labor laws to work for you in your town and/or city landscape projects.
5 - We employ state-licensed pesticide
applicators to apply chemicals like Scotts Lawn Care Service performs.
6 - We employ staff who are properly trained
in how to landscape and are qualified to operate the machinery used.
7 - We provide a written estimate that
details the cost of your landscape improvement, the materials being used, and
our contractual obligations for your garden landscape.
8 - We can provide a portfolio of landscape
photography of our work as well as references.
9 - We have a staff of Landscape Industry Certified professionals and licensed Landscape Architects
 Barrington, Illinois Landscape Company Schmechtig Landscapes


What can an ILCA Landscaper Member do for you?
 - Lawn Mowing and Lawn Care Service
- Weeding, Fertilizing, Core Aerating
- Pruning
- Mulching
- Spring Clean-Up & Fall Clean-Up
- Annuals & Containers
- Holiday Lighting
- Snow Removal
Landscape Designing/Landscape Architecture
 - Site Analysis
- Landscape Ideas
- Outdoor Kitchens & Outdoor Living
Room Areas
- Garden Landscape to include Vegetable
Gardens, Perennial Gardens, Annual Gardens
- Sport Courts
- Pools & Outdoor Spas
- Water Features, ponds, fountains
- Fireplaces & Fire Pits
 Northbrook, Illinois Landscape Company Schmechtig Landscapes - featured in CS Interiors Magazine

 - Plant Installation
- Landscape Edging
- Retaining Walls
- Excavating & Grading
- Carpentry & Decks
- Landscape Lighting Contractor
- Landscape Stone
- Brick & Concrete Masonry
- Landscape Rock
- Fences & Gates
- Green Roofs & Walls
- Patios, Driveways, Walks
- Irrigation System including drip
- Erosion/Flood Control
 Winnetka, Illinois Landscape Company Schmechtig Landscapes - ILCA Award Winning Property

 - Landscape Trees
- Tree Care/Arborist
- Soil Preparation
- Weed, Insect & Disease Control
just like Scotts Lawn Care Service performs
- Nursery Sales
- Ecological Plantings

Published in Landscaping

Learn how to choose systems and plants, and what it will cost to bring green up a garden wall or bring a bit of the outdoors inside your home. Jennifer Blaise Kramer, a houzz contributor, shares what is vertical gardening and how to get started. Read More:


Published in Landscaping

 Sharon Sorenson looked outside of her kitchen and saw what would look like a small gray bird with touches of yellow. To her it was a vision bordering on the miraculous, writes Mary Jo Bowling, a Houzz Editorial Staff Member. Sorenson has transformed her yard from 2 acres of grass dotted with a small stand of birch trees and some juniper bushes flanking the driveway into a landscape abundant with plants that produce nectar, seeds, nesting material and shelter.  Naturalist Alan Gehret, curator of collections at the John James Audubon State Park Museum & Nature Center in Henderson, Kentucky, says “Over the last 10 to 20 years, we have seen some bird species populations drop dramatically — some as much as 50 percent. This is largely due to loss of habitat and alteration in their environment,” he says. “When it comes to creating habitats, every little bit helps. When someone creates a place like the Sorenson’s, it provides safe havens for birds and makes a difference in their survival.”  Sorenson story is amazing, her photo's breathtaking and she would like us to consider new ways to garden.  Read and see more: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/45000067?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u1076&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery2


Landscape Design Wilmette, Illinois Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping
Friday, 13 March 2015 10:05

17 Ways to Work a Deck

Layer it, bump it out, wrap it around a tree. Get inspiration with these ideas for adding a deck to your yard says Laura Gaskill, a Houzz Contributor.  Laura continues saying, a deck can beautifully bridge the gap between indoors and out, providing an inviting, comfortable space from which to enjoy your backyard. And far from being a basic rectangle at the back of the house, a deck can be customized to fit your house and lifestyle. Read on for 17 deck designs to get your creativity flowing: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/44894024?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u1076&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery8



Ipe Decking Idea around Pool, Winnetka, Illinois Landscape Company, Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping

 It's time to begin preparations for your landscape, lawn and garden areas for the year.  In order to keep your outdoor spaces looking beautiful it is best to make a good plan.  It is tempting to go out and purchase a variety of plants to plant anywhere you have a place. This is not a good idea since it can detract and reflect a confused look.  Developing a landscape design will map out where to add new plants.  As you develop your landscape plan consider important factors like plant height, size, and color to add interest and depth. You must consider the climate of your area before adding any new plants. For example, a plant that needs lots of sunlight will not thrive in your backyard under the big oak tree, and so on. Be sure to research how to care for the new garden plants. For example, some bulbs need to be planted in a particular time before spring. If they are planted too early, they will die in the ground. Some plants can be high maintenance and others require little or hardly any care throughout the season. 



Spring Landscape Patio Design with Lighting,  Lake Forest, Illinois Landscape Company, Schmechtig Landscapes


It may be a wise to consider hiring a landscape and lawn company.  A professional landscape firm will develop a landscape maintenance care program including landscape design tailored to your budget.  They will present garden ideas including plants, walkways, paver brick driveways, patios, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, ponds, 4 season color gardens, vegetable gardens, and caring for your entire property - from weekly lawn mowing service to lawn fertilization, weeding, pruning, mulch and more.  When you hire a full service professional landscape company you will in turn truly receive the gift of time to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends.



Landscape Design and Landscape Maintenance Front Yard Ideas, by Barrington, Illinois Landscape Company Schmechtig Landscapes



Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 13:23

Slow Down: The (Lost) Art of Laziness

Do you go to bed with to-do lists flashing through your head? Give yourself at least one weekend day off and find places around the home to slow down and recharge. Try one of these ideas to give yourself a break from Liz Durnan, a Houzz contributor & freelance writer and editor. 

Read and see more of Liz's ideas:



Landscape Design Ideas with Fire Pit, Long Grove Illinois Landscape Company, Schmechtig Landscapes



Relaxing Features to include in your Landscape Design: Pool and Spa Design Idea, Northbrook, Illinois Landscape Company Schmechtig Landscapes



A Relaxing Landscape Design with Pond and Waterfall Feature, Barrington Hills, Illinois Landscape Company, Schmechtig Landscapes



Published in Landscaping

 Now is the time to get your landscape, outdoor plans in place for the coming season.  Here are 20 Outdoor Kitchen and Grilling stations ideas from hgtv.com to help you imagine what you can have this season. Read and see more : http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/outdoor-spaces/20-outdoor-kitchens-and-grilling-stations-pictures


Outdoor Kitchen Ideas, Winnetka, IL. Landscape Company, Schmechtig Landscapes


Outdoor Kitchen Ideas, Schaumburg, Illinois Landcape Company, Schmechtig Landscapes, HGTV Project


Outdoor Kitchen Ideas, Schaumburg, Illinois Landcape Company, Schmechtig Landscapes, HGTV Project

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 26 February 2015 10:11

Recipe Thursday - 30-Minute Coq au Vin

A Classic coq au vin can take up to two days to prepare, including marinating the chicken overnight. Food Network shared with us all the shortcuts to make this fabulous dish in 30 minutes. The recipe calls for making the red wine sauce with bacon, mushrooms and pearl onions - frozen variety to skip the tedious peeling, and rotisserie chicken parts to warm through.  Enjoy!


4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch strips (about 4 1/2 ounces)
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered (Cremini mushrooms are just small portobellas, so diced portobellas would work)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups frozen pearl onions
2 sprigs fresh thyme or pinch dried thyme
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
Pinch sugar, optional
1 cooked rotisserie chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Put the bacon into an unheated large, high-sided skillet.
Cook over medium heat, stirring periodically, until the bacon is browned and crisp, about 8 minutes.
Transfer the bacon to a small bowl with a slotted spoon; set aside.
Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pan.
Increase the heat to medium-high.
Add the mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste darkens a little, about 1 minute.
Add the chicken broth, wine, onions, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and more pepper.
Bring to a boil, then let simmer until thickened, about 4 minutes.
Turn the heat down to medium, and whisk in the butter a little at a time.
If the sauce tastes a little too acidic, add the sugar.
Nestle the chicken and cooked bacon into the sauce, and simmer gently until the chicken is heated through, 6 to 7 minutes.
(This could take up to 10 minutes if the chicken is cold, or as little as 3 minutes if it is warm.)
Spoon the sauce over the chicken pieces periodically to coat completely.
Toss the chicken in the sauce, remove the thyme stems, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Total Time: 30 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 09:40

Gray Gardens: 34 Shades of Gray In the Garden!

Gray is a hot interior design color, so why not take the chic outdoors? There are plenty of ways to incorporate gray in the garden, from silvery pussy willows and thistle to galvanized metal says Felicia Feaster via HGTVGardens Crew.  Feaster says, Gray is the new taupe, and design fiends like the folks at freshome are heralding the appeal of gray in the home. "Modern and edgy, yet timeless and classic" are the virtues of this very "in" color says freshome. Take that tranquil, minimalist tone outside for a truly distinctive garden. See more:



Glenview, IL Landscape Company Schmechtig Landscapes, Using gray stone and crushed stone in your garden ideas

Published in Landscaping
Friday, 20 February 2015 09:27

16 Great Patio Ideas

Whether you are planning to redo your patio or want a few patio decorating ideas, consider adding features such as a seat wall, outdoor rug, new outdoor sofa or futon, fireplace or firepit, or pergola. Check out these tips and inspirations from Kelly D. Norris and Better Homes and Garden.

Read more:  http://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/patio/designs/patio-ideas/#page=1


Firepit Idea, Winnetka Landscape Schmechtig Landscapes



Backyard Design Ideas for your Patio Schmechtig Landscapes HGTV project- outdoor kitchen, outdoor fireplace, outdoor dinning room, outdoor living room 

Published in Landscaping
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