Tuesday, 02 April 2013 14:40

Front Yard Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is a landscaping area where you want your front yard to stand out from surrounding properties but blend in with your neighborhood. A few simple improvements will increase your personal enjoyment for the season.

Published in Landscaping

As spring advances and signs of new life appear, you can prepare your landscape, lawn and garden areas for the season.

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 your new plants.  As you develop your 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. If you are a busy working professional without much time to spare and do not want to dedicate your weekends to your yard, it may be a wise to consider hiring a landscape and lawn company.  A professional landscape firm will develop the landscape design tailored to your budget, present the garden ideas including, walkways, paver brick driveways, patios, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, ponds, 4 season color gardens, vegetable gardens, and caring for your entire property - from lawn fertilization  to weeding, from pruning to mulch.  When you hire a full service professional landscape design firm, you truly receive the gift of time to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends.

Published in Landscaping

Michael Schmechtig and I are part of an inspiring and exciting organization: Designs for Dignity (D4D) http://www.designsfordignity.org/

Michael is a board member leading their landscape initiative, and I serve on their Spirit of Designs Event committee. The organization is committed to assisting nonprofits that change lives by turning their spaces into a more functional and nurturing environment. (Completed Projects include: Returning Veterans Homeless Shelter, Chicago Youth Centers, Rimland Services, Zacharias Center and more...)




Through donations, pro bono interior and landscape services, along with in-kind donations, D4D transforms the spaces for those using the non-profit services.  Join Michael Schmechtig and I for this year's incredible Spirit of Design celebration to be held at Ignite Glass Studio on Thursday, May 9th from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. The evening is one of the most highly attended and well-liked events in Chicago and is filled with excitement, fun and joy knowing we are raising money to create spaces of dignity for area non-profits.  I know you will consider being a part of this special night and encourage everyone you know to join us. Please contact me to learn more This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 847-566-1233.  Here's the link for your tickets, Mariel Hemingway and Chris Jacobs will host the VIP celebration! Tickets:  https://designs4dignity.ticketbud.com/spiritofdesign

Published in Landscaping
Monday, 25 March 2013 08:28

An Evening Garden

Evening Gardens were very popular around the turn of the 20th century.  Their origin dates back to the Victorian era before electricity.  The concept of an evening garden was to create a monochromatic scheme of white flowers, variegated and silver foliage which would reflect light from the moon.  When the moon was at its fullest stage, the nighttime garden would come alive.  The light-colored plant leaves and flowers would appear illuminated, while its green foliage disappeared into a tapestry of darkness. The key to creating an effective evening garden is to arrange the plants so the white blooms and foliage are evenly distributed. This allows for the light to dance across the garden.  Additional color can be added for daytime enjoyment as well, but the flower and leaf colors must be dark.  Dark blues and purple flowers work best, along with purple- leafed plants to provide accents.   These days, evening gardens can be enjoyed even when the moon is not full. This is because our night sky is no longer as dark as it used to be.  Careful analysis of your property and the ambient light coming from neighboring homes and street lights will help determine the best location for an evening garden.
Written by Rob Schwarz, Landscape Architect Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping
Friday, 22 March 2013 14:52

Punxsutawney Phil and No Spring Yet

We are all wondering why we haven't begun to see the first signs of spring since Punxsutawney Phil predicted one.  I know all of us are looking forward to taking care of spring clean-up's and yard clean-up's, lawn care, new garden design and new landscape design work.  Well Punxsutawney Phil is wanted...

Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 10:37

Landscaping and Garden Ideas

All too often the front yard is landscaped with the common-place monotone foundation shrubs, which have been sheared into every geometric shape imaginable and provide little in terms of multi-seasonal interest.  When a you start the design process of landscaping your home, approach the front yard as the "first impression" that a guest coming to your home would experience. 


Work to screen out undesirable views while framing the desirable ones.  Use large trees to anchor the corners of the house and help transition the lines of the house into the landscape.  Plants should be used to layer, informally or formally, depending on the style of architecture to accentuate the features of your home.  The entry walk should be designed to be very welcoming, with an inviting width in the paving and big impact flowering beds to catch the eye.  As one proceeds up your walk, consider including an "outdoor foyer space", which can be accented with a decorative bench or a collection of multi-sized ornamental pots for additional color.  Your front yard is not just meant to be viewed in passing, but provide a comfortable place to sit and be enjoyed.

Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 09:01

2013 Outdoor Living Trends

As a member of the landscape industry, we subscribe to many organizations feeding us the latest news, trends and events in our industry.  I would like to pass on to you an article from landscapeonline.com, published today. (Please see link at the end of this posting.)  According to the 2013 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), outdoor living continues its rise in popularity for homeowners. The results also show demand for both sustainable and low-maintenance landscapes.

Published in Landscaping
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