One of my favorite Houzz contibutors Laura Houskell shares her thoughts about driveways and curb appeal, I couldn't agree more.

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Glenview, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes

Read Laura's article here:http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/24094147?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u451&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery2

 

 

Published in Landscaping

Spring is coming and many homeowners begin to think about their home's property.  Whether you are staying or selling, the exterior spaces of a home are the first impression of any property.  Home buyers decide whether or not to look inside a house or take it seriously based on its curb appeal.  Friends and family view your home's exterior as a compliment to your individual taste inviting them to come and enjoy their surroundings bringing everyone together.

 

It's challenging to look at your own house in the same way a potential home buyer looks at the property.  You have become accustom to the way it looks
and functions and cannot see flaws and deficiencies.  Many times a home's outdoor landscaping is overlooked.  An attractive and well-maintained landscape
can add as much as 10 percent to the value of your home.

 

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Front Yard Entrance,Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Once the snow has melted, it is time to get started cleaning up your yard.  Do not wait until the very last minute to address the exterior of your home.  Give
yourself plenty of time to get everything looking just right.

 

Here's a checklist and tips for sprucing up your property's curb appeal whether you are going to stay or go:

- Spruce up outdoor containers. Container plants add considerable interest to patios and doorways where would-be buyers enter and exit the house. Such displays also demonstrate the endless possibilities for designing with container plants.

 

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Lake Forest, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

 

- Touch up the mulch. Nothing spruces up a place like a new application of mulch, so apply a fresh layer in all your garden beds. The color enhances the contrast of the surrounding plants and makes everything pop. What's more, mulch is relatively cheap and easy to apply.

- Plant some instant color. Seasonal color makes the landscape pop as well, and flats of annuals are also relatively inexpensive. Go for a splash of several colors or a more monochromatic scheme, whatever fits in with the look of your home.

- Shape unsightly or overgrown trees and shrubs. Regardless of the season, it's a good idea to tackle any overlooked pruning chores because nothing says neglect like a bunch of dead branches. The idea is to show how well not only the interior of you house is maintained but your garden too.

- Tidy up plants and if a plant is in such bad shape replace it or stick a decorative pot in its place.

- Edge plant beds and tree circles.

- Clean up water features. Get rid of any visible algae, remove leaves and clean filters so that the water is crystal clear. After all, a water feature that
doesn't look good or function properly can be an instant turnoff.

- Repair outdoor faucet leaks. A leaking faucet suggests that there may be other problems elsewhere with plumbing.

- Power-wash all dirty surfaces.  This will make walkways, patios and driveways look brand-spanking new, free of grungy and grimy surfaces.
Power washers also do a great job on cleaning fences, as well as brick and vinyl siding.

 

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Paver Walkway with Container Pots, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

- When selling, stop thinking of the property as a home.  It's a commodity you want to sell for the highest price possible.
You can help make sure potential buyers want to come inside your house by spending some time working on the exterior appearance.

 

Consulting with a full-service landscape service firm provides you the exterior staging solution design, installation and maintenance
needs.

Published in Landscaping

June Scott, a Houzz Contributor and Landscape Designer based in the Los Angeles area published an article featuring one of our Winnetka, Illinois projects. Read all about the use symmetry, geometry and other principles of formal design to give even a modest garden a pleasing balance!

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/23847820/list/6-Basic-Elements-of-Classic-Garden-Style

Here are is another picture of the project followed by views from the entertainment/pergola area :

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Classic Informal Garden; Illinois Landscape Contractors Association Award; Winnetka, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes

 

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Garden Ideas; Winnetka, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes

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Patio with Pergola; Winnetka, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes

 

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:51

Give Your Patio Some Major Style

It is possible to create a stylish, welcoming outdoor room you'll love to spend time in from snoozefest to stellar.

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Schmechtig Landscapes, Patio HGTV Landscapers Challenge Award Winner, Chicago

From creating privacy and adding mood lighting to choosing furniture you love, Houzz contributor Laura Gaskill gives us 11 ideas to inspire your own patio. 

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/22942252?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u441&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery10

Visit Laura at Lolalina http://www.lolalina.com/ where she blogs about all things warm & cozy.

 

Published in Landscaping

I think each of us living in the Chicago area is tired of the cold and snow.  Why not think and plan ahead for the upcoming warmer days?  Look at your backyard filled with snow and in your warm house plan a new look for this year. Here are some suggestinos from Laura Gaskill (see link below) using Schmechtig's projects:

Think of your yard as a series of rooms -

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Barrington, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Consider steps and pathways between outdoor rooms -

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North Shore Chicago, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Get more function out of a small space with well-defined zones -

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Barrington, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes

Enhance a yard (front or back) with a unique water feature.

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Barrington Hills, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes

Make a seating area feel more private - 

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Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Consider doing away with the lawn -

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Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Go wild with flowers -

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Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Extend your indoor living space with a deck -

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Winnetka, IL., North Shore Chicago, Schmechtig Landscapes

 

Get more out of secondary areas -

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Barrington Hills, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Redraw your beds.

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Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Add evening ambience -

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Lake Forest, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Sketch out your ideas on paper, call a professional landscape company and use the expertise of a landscape architect/designer or garden designer to develop and install your ideas and have the space you want this season.

See more of what Laura has to say at:

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/22735132?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u431&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery17

 

Published in Landscaping

"In the spectrum of home improvement, landscape lighting might be the most overlooked. It is, however, one of the least-obstructive design projects you can undertake. You won't have to move out or do without the kitchen, be limited to the use of just one bathroom or be constantly cleaning up construction debris. Any work conveniently takes place outdoors." says Steven Randel, a

Houzz Contributor and Architechture Professional. 
I couldn't agree more.  

Read more of what Steve has to say on this topic:

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/21545664?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u421&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery8

 

Published in Landscaping

Steve Asbell, Houzz contributor, writer, illustrator and lover of all things plants gives us a list of 9 things to consider for a highly personal and truly enjoyable landscape in the spring.  Remember a certified landscape professional can assist you in achieving the landscape you desire.

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/20391646?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u405&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery19

 

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 31 October 2013 08:28

Chewy Pecan Squares

I have chosen this week's Recipe Thursday from Laurie Bakke's Kitchen. She is a dear freind, fabulous chef, and has a wonderful cookbook. A great holiday gift idea! Enjoy.  - http://lauriebakkeskitchen.com/

Chewy Pecan Squares

Ingredients:

Crust1 1/4 lbs. Unsalted Butter - at room temperature

3/4 C. Sugar - granulated

3 Eggs - large

3/4 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

4 1/2 C. All-Purpose Flour*

1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/4 tsp. Salt*

Topping:

1 lb. Unsalted Butter

1 C. Honey - wildflower

3 C. Light Brown Sugar - packed

1/4 C. Heavy Cream2 lbs. Pecans - coarsely chopped

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.For the crust, beat the butter and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes.  Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined.  Remove from the mixer.Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18x12x1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. The dough will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour until the dough is spread out very evenly throughout the entire sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned.  Allow to cool completely.For the topping, combine the butter, honey and brown sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan.  Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir.  Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes.  It is very important to cook for the 3 minutes, as this is bringing the boiled mixture to a candy-like consistency.  Remove from the heat.  Carefully stir in the heavy cream and pecans.  The mixture will rise up, so be prepared to stir until the mixture starts coming together.Pour the mixture over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set.  It does cook after the squares come out of the oven.  Keep this in mind when taking out of the oven.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate into cold.  Cut into bars and serve.

Laurie's Notes

*I prefer unbleached flour over bleached because I have found that bleached flour sometimes carries off-flavors and can taste flat.

*Use non-iodized salt since iodized salt can have a chemical taste.

*This makes a large recipe and can be divided by two for a smaller amount, if desired.

Published in Landscaping
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