"Each of us at Schmechtig Landscapes is greatly appreciative to be included with all those receiving the Best of Houzz recognition," says Michael Schmechtig, President of Schmechtig Landscapes. "This site has become such a wonderful resource for inspiration, imagination, and exchange of ideas. Thank you Houzz!"



Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Best Of Houzz (Design) by Houzz is awarded through an annual survey and analysis of 16 million monthly users and reveals the top-rated building, remodeling and design professionals. The Best Of Houzz Design award winners' work was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz, known as "Houzzers," who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, iPad/iPhone app and Android app. Winners receive a "Best Of Houzz 2014" badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.



Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like Schmechtig, but homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community, unlike Angie's List where fees are to be paid for the service.

Follow Schmechtig Landscapes on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/tcallahan/schmechtig-landscapes


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:



Published in Landscaping

The back of our homes is used for parties, and relaxing with family and friends — but why have all this activity behind your house? The front yard is an opportunity waiting to happen. While backyards offer more privacy, front yards are more public, with opportunities to welcome neighbors and connect with your community. (just like facebook)  Here are some of Schmechtig's ideas:


Schmechtig Landscapes, Barrington, IL.



Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, IL.



Schmechtig Landscapes, Lake Bluff, IL.


Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, IL.

and more to inspire you from Houzz.  http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/16273336/list/Take-Back-Your-Front-Yard--8-Ways-to-Make-It-Social

Published in Landscaping

I discovered a great article by Laura Gaskill, a Houzz Contributor and blog author, http://www.lolalina.com/ from Providence, Rhode Island.  Laura shares the facts about this odorless, radioactive gas and how to make our homes safe if it shows up.



Published in Landscaping

I uncovered a great article by Laura Gaskill, a Houzz Contributor from Providence, Rhode Island and author of her blog, http://www.lolalina.com/.  Laura shares the facts about this odorless, radioactive gas and how to make your home safe if it shows up.



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.



Published in Landscaping
Monday, 16 December 2013 10:30

Holidays, Family, House Guests - Oh My!

Where are you supposed to have Grandma sleep when you don't have a guest room? Who controls the thermostat? Who gets the first shower? And do you  have to let your brother bring his dog? Having family come to stay can be both easier (you know what to expect) and harder (fighting is more familiar) than having friends as houseguests. Avoid thermostat wars, pet peeves and the great shower squeeze with these tips for having family as houseguests.

Laura Gaskill, a Houzz contributor helps us handle these quandaries and more:



Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 05 December 2013 10:18

Sunday Gravy and Meatballs With Pasta!

Growing up Italian, you know what my Sunday's were all about. Here is my family's version of Sunday Gravy and Meatballs otherwise known as Meat Sauce for your favorite pasta. Enjoy!


Sunday Gravy (Pasta Meat Sauce) -

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 lb. mild Italian pork sausage or 1 lb. mild and 1lb. hot

10 garlic cloves chopped

8 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes

¾ cup fresh basil leaf chopped

½ cup fresh Italian parsley chopped (flat leaf)


Directions: Heat oil in very large stock pot.  Add garlic and sauté on medium to medium high until garlic begins to turn a light tan color.  Add the sausage and lightly brown on all sides. Add crushed tomatoes, fresh basil and parsley. Stir well and bring to a boil stirring constantly so nothing burns at bottom of pot. As soon as it begins
to boil, reduce heat to low. Continue to stir until you get to a very slow simmer so it doesn't burn/stick to bottom of pan. Cook at low for 2 hours – stir occasionally.


Now it is time to make the meatballs.


Meatballs –

3 lbs. ground beef (sirloin)

9 garlic cloves (good size) minced (if small size cloves 12)

2 cups Progresso Brand Italian Style Breadcrumbs

3 eggs

2 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese

10 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley (flat leaf)


Directions: Preheat oven at 375 degrees.

(I prefer to bake instead of fry meatballs)

Mix all ingredients well for meatballs and shape firmly into 2" to no more than 3" in diameter size balls. Place meatballs in baking pans and bake until all sides
are brown (not a light brown) making sure to turn meatballs so they do not stick to baking pan.  After gravy has cooked for two hours, add the meatballs
to gravy (leave the sausage in the gravy) stir well (be gentle). Turn up heat a little higher than low and let meatballs cook in gravy 45 minutes.


Serve with pasta of your choice like: spaghetti, fettuccine, bucatini, pappardelle, tagliatelle, rigatoni, mostaccioli, fussili, gemelli, campanelle or fresh pasta's like homemade cheese ravioli or cavatelli's.


Add fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese and crushed red pepper to taste.

Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 11:14

Wonderland Express

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a Schmechtig favorite.  On November 29th, Wonderland Express opens for this holiday season. It is considered one of the Chicago area's top holiday "must-sees," and a family-friendly, made-for-memories experience. You will delights at the exhibition of miniature trains as it winds over bridges, under trestles, and through mini-replicas of Chicago's favorite landmarks. Visit http://www.chicagobotanic.org/wonderland


Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 21 November 2013 08:56

Stuffing for Thanksgiving

Old-Fashioned Herb and Cornbread Stuffing From Laurie Bakke's Kitchen

Once again for my Recipe Thursday entry, I go to my favorite chef and friend – Laurie Bakke.  Take a moment and visit her website and check out her cookbook: http://lauriebakkeskitchen.com/

"This recipe has been handed down from my great-grandmother, to my grandmother, to my mother and now to me. I have hosted Thanksgiving dinner at my house since my family moved back to Hendersonville, from Chicago, in 1992. Some years we went out, especially while I was working at Highland Lake Inn, but as the years went on, home was where we wanted to be. Each year different people have come and gone, but the recipes have remained constant.

The core of the meal is the stuffing!" – Laurie Bakke



16 Cups – Stuffing Bread (can be white or wheat) – 1 loaf – broken into bite-sized pieces

1 Pkg. – Pepperidge Farm Stuffing

1 Pkg. – Arnold's Cornbread Stuffing

4 Cups – Celery – chopped medium dice

3 Cups – Lg. Onion – chopped medium dice

4 – Sticks Butter – unsalted

1 Cup – Bouillon (chicken)

1 Cup – Walnut or Pecan Pieces – toasted lightly

2 Apples – Cored, Seeded and chopped small dice

2 Tbsp - Sage – Fresh or Dried/to taste

1 Tbsp. - Marjoram - Dried/ to taste

2 Tbsp. – Sugar

2 – 3 Eggs – lightly beaten

Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper – to taste



In a very large mixing bowl, add the stuffing bread, herb and cornbread stuffing and mix together until well combined. Set aside.

In a large saute pan, add the butter. Let heat up for just a minute: then add the celery, onion and saute until soft and translucent.

At this point, add the walnut/pecans and apples and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.

While still very hot, add the onion mixture to stuffing mixture and combine thoroughly.

Begin to season with the sage, marjoram, sugar, eggs and salt and pepper to taste.

Add the cup of bouillon at the last. The mixture will be very hot. Sometimes for seasoning a hot item, it is best to walk away for a moment.

Let your taste buds cool down and drink some water. Then return to the mixture and finish seasonings.

This stuffing is ready to stuff in the turkey, if baking, or put in casserole dishes for heating, if frying.

Serves 16-20 people

Published in Landscaping
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