Friday, 13 September 2013 08:27

Fall Container Pots

With the cooler temperatures this weekend you can't help but think Fall. Remember, container pots are a wonderful enhancement to your landscape providing you the ability to create a whole new garden every season.


Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 10 September 2013 10:34

Architectural Stone

Natural quarried stone products such as cut & weathered edge drywall, flagstone, steppers and rock outcroppings, provide unique design elements to your landscape setting. 



Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes


Real stone contributes special aesthetics to any landscape environment, giving a look of

permanence and exceptional beauty to walkways, steps,



Barrington Hills, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

waterfalls, gardens,



Long Grove, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

walls, firepits, fireplaces and more.


Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 29 August 2013 12:27

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

It's Recipe Thursday! 

Here's a favorite using Zucchini's from your garden.


Olive Oil Cooking spray

2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (3/4-ounce) or more to taste

1/4 cup italian style bread crumbs (Progresso Brand is best)

1/8 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.  Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the oil. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, and a few turns of pepper. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove with spatula. Serve immediately.



Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 10:46


Landscaping using container plants is a strong trend in landscape design. Although landscapes are designed to mature and bloom throughout the seasons, including winter, adding unique planted pots provides another dimension to the setting and gives you the opportunity to add a color or design shape that normally isn't found in your garden adding interest. Instead of being limited by climate, potscaping allows you to escape the seasonal choices of our weather area.  Adding the uniqueness of tropical or exotic plants transforms the space into a truly unique outdoor living room. Unique plants, normally not used in containers, will provide a distinctive yet interesting entrance as pictured above.



Lake Forest, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes



Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Container pots can offer either a formal look or a more casual feeling depending on the container, placement and plants chosen. For a formal entry, balance is important, and using containers that blend or highlight the architecture of your home is key.  But for backyard use, pots can be moved and changed throughout the season to provide the at-home getaway look and feel you desire.


Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes


Published in Landscaping
Friday, 23 August 2013 10:22

Color in your Landscape

"I want a lot of color in my landscape" is the most common phrase we hear from a client. To a designer, this phrase has broad appeal because there are so many ways to add color into a landscape design. Adding color in diverse and creative ways is what makes a landscape come alive. Add layers of color into the landscape design that extend from early spring and continue into the fall and beyond. The early spring layer of color comes from bulbs like hyacinths, tulips and daffodils. These plants usually bloom between mid-March and late April. When planted in ground cover beds they will pop up through the foliage and add color to that space. Bulbs are easy to plant and become a welcomed sign of the summer months ahead.



Barrington Hills, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

The next layer is provided by the spring flowering woody plants such as crabapples and ornamental shrubs. These plants will flower from April through May, depending on variety, and last for 2 to 3 weeks. With the relatively short bloom time of woody plants, the foliage (or leaf) color becomes important as well. Contrasting foliage colors add visual interest.



Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Perennial and annual flowers are the summer and fall layer of color. Consider perennial flowers with late bloom times and integrate them into the foreground of planting beds like a ground cover. Fall and winter color is provided by foliage and branch color. Additionally, ornamental grass combined with bright-colored red dogwoods and evergreen trees provide winter color. Contrasting colors again become important. Remember the key is to layer color each season to provide the year-round desire for color in your landscape.

Published in Landscaping

Tomatoes, Basil and Cucumbers – Two classic easy salads for your summer vegetable garden harvest.

Caprese Salad


3 vine-ripe tomatoes cut into slices about 1/4-inch

1 pound fresh mozzarella (in the water) cut into slices
about 1/4-inch

20 to 30 leaves fresh basil

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Coarse salt and pepper to taste


On a large platter, layer alternating slices of tomatoes
and mozzarella, add a basil leaf between each. Drizzle the salad with
extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a hot crispy loaf of italian bread and your favorite wine.


Cucumber Salad with Peanut-Lime Vinaigrette


For the Peanut-Lime Vinaigrette

1 Tbs. fresh squeezed lime juice

1 Tbs. creamy peanut butter

2 Tbs. peanut oil

1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil

¼ tsp. salt, optional

For the Salad

4 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced

¼ cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts

2 Tbs. cilantro leaves

Sriracha sauce for garnish, optional



Peanut-Lime Vinaigrette

In a small bowl whisk lime juice and peanut butter

Stir peanut and sesame oils until blended.

Stir in salt, if using.


Arrange cucumbers in single or double layer on platter

Drizzle with Peanut-Lime Vinaigrette

Add a touch of sriracha sauce (if using)

Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and cilantro leaves

Serve with your favorite grilled chicken recipe.

Published in Landscaping
Monday, 12 August 2013 12:58

Secret Garden

With a structure to grow on, plants in this garden
can create living walls that offer privacy and seclusion.

Here, a cedar arbor boasts a dense covering of roses that forms a natural "roof,"

while a boxwood shrub anchors the base of each column.

The result is an intimate seating area that can be used for relaxing or dining.

Published in Landscaping
Friday, 09 August 2013 13:28

Kitchen Gardens - Potagers

"A place to grow the things you bring into the kitchen  -  herbs, vegetables, fruits, berries and even the cutting flowers for your table."

The French have been combining flowers, herbs and vegetables in their gardens since medieval days and Americans are following suit. The popularity of kitchen gardens, or as the French call them "potagers", has taken off.


HGTV - Landscappers Challenge, Schmechtig Landscapes, Schaumburg, IL.

In combination with an outdoor kitchen, this type of garden can truly create an extension to your home and cooking. This garden is one that the kids like to be involved in; they are more apt to eat what they grow and harvest. It is truly a personal area unique in design, details and individual to your family.  

Bon appétit!


Barrington, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 08:56

Courtyard Gardens

Courtyard gardens are gardens enclosed by walls, buildings or fences on more than two sides. They have many uses and offer unique design elements for your home and landscape. By incorporating a courtyard garden into the design you can make good use of exterior walls and form a protected space that provides a comfortable seating area. You are also able to establish a unique garden area and create an attractive focal point from both inside the house and from the rest of the landscape.


Barrington, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Additionally, courtyard gardens tie in other garden features such as decorative arbors, pergolas and fences and eliminate the need for grass by including decorative hardscape material and plants. Both formal and informal spaces can be designed and are determined based on the type of layout, symmetry of space, plant materials selected and simplicity of design. A beautiful courtyard garden always enhances the entire garden as it ties in all the architectural aspects of the home.

Published in Landscaping

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Check out this weekend's offering at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. 

It is one of our favorite places to spend time and get inspired. There truly is something for everyone.

Here's this weekend's schedule or visit:

Saturday, August 3rd

9 am

Monthly Photo Walk – the first Saturday of each month join the Gardens staff photographer for a free photo walk.


10 am

Grunsfeld Children's Growing Garden Family Drop-in Activities – get close to nature while discovering where food comes from and how plants grow.

Kleinman Family Cove Drop-in Activities – enjoy hands on activities for families and children.

Ikebana International Show – The Ikebana International Society presents and exhibition of traditional Japanese flower arranging.


1:30 pm and 2:30 pm

Garden Chef Series - Noted chefs prepare recipes in the Regenstein Fruit and Vegtable Garden's open-air amphitheater.


5 pm

Nature Nights Aquatic Adventure – Bring a picnic dinner and spend an evening in the Garden. Children ages 4 to 10 and families will explore different areas of the garden and enjoy a variety of discovery-based activities.


Sunday, August 4th

9 am

Farmer's Market – The Garden welcomes local and sustainable farmers to this public market

Book Signing by Jeanne Pinsof Nolan – The Organic Gardnerer Jeanne Pinsof Nolan will be at the Farmers Market to sign and sell copies of her new book "From the Ground Up"


10 am

Grunsfeld Children's Growing Garden Family Drop-in Activities – get close to nature while discovering where food comes from and how plants grow.

Kleinman Family Cove Drop-in Activities – enjoy hands on activities for families and children.

Ikebana International Show – The Ikebana International Society presents and exhibition of traditional Japanese flower arranging.


11 am

Malott Japanese Garden Family Sundays – Drop by the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden for hands-on activites related to Japanese arts and culture.


1:30 pm and 2:30 pm

Garden Chef Series - Noted area chefs prepare recipes in the Regenstein Fruit and Vegetable Garden's open-air amphitheater.

Published in Landscaping
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