Wednesday, 05 April 2017 15:35

25 Ideas to Perk Up Your Side Yard Landscape

Becky Harris, Houzz Contributor, says make this afterthought space enticing and useful.  Ah, the side yard. It’s often a neglected and sad alley where you stick air-conditioning units. But even if calling what’s along the side of your house “yard” is a stretch, there are plenty of things you can do to not only improve it, but make it a space you enjoy walking through or even spending time in. Consider these 25 elements when embarking on your weekend landscaping projects. Read and see Becky's thoughts here:


Willmette, Illinois, Side Yard Project, Schmechtig Landscapes


Barrington, Illinois, Side and Backyard Project, Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping
Monday, 06 March 2017 09:17

Driveways With Curb Appeal

Get creative with plantable pavers, stone slabs, geometric concrete patterns and less traditional paving materials say Lauren Dunec Hoang, a Houzz Contributor & landscape designer.  Hoang continues, driveways can take up a lot of front yard real estate but are rarely given as much thought as other areas of the garden. Instead of seeing the area as simply a track for cars, look at the driveway as an opportunity to increase curb appeal and set the tone for your front yard. Here are nine examples of driveway materials and placement from Hoang that go beyond the usual pavers, cobbles and gravel to complement different styles of front yards.  See them here:



Schmechtig Landscapes, Landscape and Driveway Design in Lake Bluff, Illinois



Schmechtig Landscapes, Landscape and Driveway Design, Wilmette, Illinois



Schmechtig Landscapes, Landscape Design and Driveway, Winnetka, Illinois



Schmechtig Landscapes in Winnetka, Illinois, Landscape Design and Driveway

Published in Landscaping

Mature trees are a valuable commodity in the yard because they take a long time to establish and then become gorgeous specimens that provide shade and year-round benefit to wildlife. Protecting them by keeping them in great health is an effective way to invest in the long-term look of your landscape, says Houzz contributor Falon Mihalic.  Mihalic continues, from protecting their roots to watering effectively, learn how to ensure your valuable specimens’ vigor for years to come:


Trees fill this Barrington Hills Landscape, Schmechtig Landscapes



Front Yard Trees, Schmechtig Landscapes, Glencoe, Illinois

Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 02 August 2016 10:24

Your August Home To Do Checklist

As summer wraps up take these steps to get your home and family organized for fall says  Laura Gaskill, a Houzz contributor.  Gaskill continues, with the transition from summer travels to the beginning of a new school year (and maybe some back-to-work blues), August can feel like a sudden downshift from the fun of vacation. Stretch out these last days of summer by squeezing in a few more home projects, savoring simple pleasures and, when the time comes, cleaning up the beach toys and preparing the house for a busy fall.

Pick from these to-dos to create your perfect August plan: Courtesy of and Laura Gaskill

Published in Landscaping

See how designers and homeowners cleverly incorporate container gardens into their home designs from Annie Thornton, a Houzz Editorial Staff Member.  Thorton continues, many of us, especially those who live in apartments and condos, know what it’s like to feel limited by our square footage and lack of outdoor space. But that doesn’t mean plants can’t be part of our lives. In fact, in a small space they can even be more of a focus. These container gardens featured previously on Houzz utilize creativity and style where soil and space are lacking.  Read more:

Courtesy of and Annie Thorton


Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 07 July 2016 16:56

Art for your Landscape

Landscapes are a dynamic, ever-changing environment. A good landscape is designed around your personality, home and lifestyle. Each landscape has a special feature that makes it unique. Very often that feature is a special piece of artwork, such as a statue, sculpture or fountain.
There are considerations regarding the placement of the garden art. The first is whether to design a landscape around the artwork or place the artwork in the existing landscape as an accent. If you design a landscape around a specific piece of sculpture, it is important that the size, scale and feeling of the space complement the artwork.



Ancillary Globe is focal point in Winnetka Illinois Garden, Schmechtig Landscapes


In this case, the landscape design determines exactly where the piece should be placed. When placing artwork in the existing landscape as an accent, it is easier.



Sculpture Art for your Landscape, Schmechtig Landscapes Backyard Design, Barrington, Illinois

You can move the piece around to find where the scale is appropriate and the piece works with the current surroundings. Another aspect to consider is the site line. Consider what the piece will look like from inside the house. Can you see it from your favorite room?
Should it be lit for nighttime enjoyment? And what will it look like in the location throughout the seasons? Have fun with your landscape art and let your personality shine through. Your landscape is your unique space and should be as formal or whimsical as you desire.

Published in Landscaping

Designing a landscape is so much more than just about plants and patios. What do you remember about a special landscape? The maple trees, the bed of petunias, the driveway? It's not the specifics, but the feel of the space that evokes memories. With landscape design the space is multi-dimensional, artistic and sensory. It's not just about what plants go where, it's about all the landscape ideas you have when determining how to landscape your property and the materials and supplies needed.



Landscape Design using Container Pots and Outdoor Lighting Features, Schmechtig Landscapes, Lake Forest, IL.


Our landscape designers look at the site from many views when creating a landscape design. Creating a feeling is what landscape design is all about. One aspect of design that should not be overlooked is the use of structures in the landscape. Unique landscape structures add dimension and interest to any design. A custom designed pergola, which supports a client's favorite fragrant plant, may be a design focus. Or a pergola that not only protects a family from the afternoon sun, but repeats an architectural element of the home is as important as the plants and hardscapes.



Landscape Design with Pergola, Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, IL.

Each design should be unique to the owners, their home, property and desires. By incorporating unique pieces of sculpture (fountains, pots and statues) as well as custom built structures such as gazebos, pergolas and arbors, the design becomes personal. Landscape design is more than just placing plants; garden structures have become an integral element as well, and should be an important part of each project.



Historic Landscape Preservation using statue, pergola and pots, Wilmette, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes



Fire Pit Design, Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, IL.

Published in Landscaping

Go beyond plantings with these ideas for bringing bold colors to the exterior of your home.  Jennifer Ott, a San Francisco-based interior designer, architectural color specialist, and design writer shares: Spring has arrived, which means summer isn’t too far behind. Ott continues, if your outdoor hangout needs sprucing up, now’s the time to hatch a plan for improvements. Plants and flowers are one of the best ways to add color, but you can also perk up the space with paint, furniture and accessories. Read and see Ott's ideas to get you started:


Backyard Patio using accent colors, Schmechtig Landscapes in Barrington, Illinois



Using hanging and potted plants to spruce up patio with color, Schmechtig Landscapes in Winnetka, Illinois

Published in Landscaping

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



Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, Illinois; Front Walk Design using blue stone and pavers


Real stone contributes special aesthetics to any landscape environment, giving a look of permanence and exceptional beauty to walkways, steps, walls, gardens, waterfalls and more.



Water Feature with Stone, Schmechtig Landscapes in Barrington Hills, Illinois 



Spring Flowering Tree Ideas, Patio with pavers, Schmechtig Landscapes, Barrington, Illinois



Outdoor Dining Room with seatwalls, fireplace, stone and pergola with outdoor chandelier, Schmechtig Landscapes in Barrington, Illinois



Architectural Stone Ideas, Schmechtig Landscapes, Long Grove, Illinois

Published in Landscaping

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a 385-acre living plant museum situated on nine islands and featuring 26 display gardens and surrounded by four natural habitats: McDonald Woods, Dixon Prairie, Skokie River Corridor, and Lakes and Shores.  On February 13th the Orchid Show opens. gives it a 5 star rating with the following coments: “Orchids Galore That Would Delight Dorothy!”, “An island in the snow” ,“The Orchid beyond words.”
Surrounding this incredible Orchid display are many special events.  Take a moment and decide which Orchid Show Special Event you will attend:

Valentine’s Day Brunch
February 13–15
Treat your valentine to the Orchid Show, and our chef’s special brunch at the Garden View Café. Members receive 10% off!
Live Indie Music + Orchids
February 18
Jam with indie stars The Accidentals at Concert with Orchids at 6 p.m., then meet and greet the artists and take in the Orchid Show—your ticket includes it all! Happy hour cocktails available for purchase.
Morning Music at the Orchid Show
Tuesdays & Thursdays
Start your day with live music. 10 a.m.
Orchid Marketplace
Saturdays & Sundays
Buy live orchids, and bring orchids for repotting every weekend! The event is hosted by the Illinois Orchid Society.

Cocktail Tasting + Orchids
March 10
Join us with your friends at Evening with Orchids for cocktails and an atmospheric walk through the Orchid Show. Buy tickets.
Lenhardt Library Talk
February 21
View the exhibition: Orchidology: Orchidaceous Investigations through May 8.


 See all the details including admission tickets here:  The Chicago Botanic Garden is located at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe, Illinois.

Information and photo courtesy of


Published in Landscaping
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