Thursday, 18 July 2013 13:10

Summer Fresh Tomato and Spaghetti Dinner

Enjoy one of my all time favorite meals especially with the seasons home grown tomatos.

Toni's Favorite Summer Fresh Tomato and Spaghetti Dinner


8 to 10 large ripe tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 8 tablespoons sweet butter

1 large sweet vidalia onion diced

1 small bunch washed dried and hand-torn pieces basil leaves

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Freshly grated Parmigiano-reggiano cheese to taste

One pound of spaghetti



1) Put water on to boil to cook your pasta (spaghetti)

2) While waiting for the water to boil chop tomatoes and dice onions

3) Using a large sauté pan, add extra virgin olive oil and melt butter to cook onions and tomatoes

4) Once water is at full boil – throw your pasta into cook (follow pasta cooking directions) and begin putting your fresh tomato sauce together

5) Add onions to melted butter /olive oil mixture and sauté the onions until very wilted over medium high to high heat

6) Once onions are wilted and translucent, add chopped tomatoes, stir for 1 minute, add basil and stir one minute

7) Remove from heat immediately and toss with your cooked spaghetti

Add fresh ground pepper and freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese to taste to each individual serving.

An alternative to this dish is to add fresh mozzarella cheese (packed in water) cut in pieces on top of each individual serving.

Serve with garlic bread, a tossed salad with your favorite vinaigrette dressing using greens like - arugula, red leaf lettuce, and romaine and don't forget your
favorite wine.

Published in Landscaping

Echinacea (Coneflower)

These native plants are found growing in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas and have fresh interest and new colorations. Commonly called coneflowers, they are prevalent to our area.

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 11 July 2013 09:29

Landscaping - A Personal Investment

When we review our personal investments, one area to consider is our home's landscape. We've discussed "curb appeal" in an earlier blog, but the notion of a "true investment" is not to be dismissed. Our clients certainly aren't landscaping their homes for simply a future sell, but as with any other investment, they know the money put into landscaping now will not only be recovered, but increased when the home is sold.

Published in Landscaping

A Chicago landmark garden, designed by renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen, is hidden from view behind a double row of hawthorn hedges in a quiet central section of Northwestern University's Evanston campus.  This tranquil garden has added beauty to the campus for more than 90 years.  The garden was established in 1915 when it became a project of The Garden Club of Evanston because of war time sympathy for our British allies and to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.  Jensen designed the original plan in an intricate "knot style" and planting was complete in 1920.  The many flowers, shrubs, trees and herbs chosen for the garden are mentioned in Shakespeare's plays and are well suited to the Midwest climate.  The Shakespeare Garden contains many of the original hawthorns that were started from seed in France and which form the formal garden's base.  These historic hawthorns are the reason the Garden was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.  The Schmechtig Landscape Company is proud to have maintained these historic hedges since 1999.  We respect and appreciate the beauty and historic significance of this site.  Evanston Garden Club members continue to serve as the garden's caretakers and we continue to help them maintain the Shakespeare Garden.  The garden sees courtings and weddings. Students come to eat their lunches there. At graduation time, they bring their parents for snapshot posing. Gardeners find their way there to learn and to appreciate its beauty. Ever-changing and yet never-changing, Shakespeare Garden serves as a center for happy comings and goings, as well as for quiet meditations. As Shakespeare himself said, "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”  Schmechtig Landscapes encourages you to visit Shakespeare Garden at 2121 Sheridan Road (between Maple Ave & Library Pl) in Evanston, IL

Published in Landscaping

With just 8 feet or so, you can turn a plain side yard into a garden that lets you get carried away. 

I am sharing a section of this blog entry written by Debra Prinzing, a Houzz Contributor. Debra Prinzing is a Seattle and Los Angeles based outdoor living expert who writes and lectures on gardens and home design.  She featured our tic-tac-toe design for a side garden. Read the entire article with photo's at:

Enjoy the article....

Published in Landscaping
Friday, 28 June 2013 17:20

Hardscapes in Landscape Designs

"I want the patio to look great, but I don't want it to be expensive."  This is sometimes heard from clients that want any alternative to expensive stone.  Natural materials, such as flagstone or bluestone, are very attractive but they are costly because of the production processes. Fortunately, other materials exist that are both aesthetically-pleasing and economical.

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.

Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 15:25

Ornamental Grass

Throughout the summer, ornamental grasses provide attractive, interesting foliage.

When autumn arrives, grasses are in their full glory with beautiful fall colors and plump seed heads. 

Ornamental grasses are versatile plants that come in many varieties; dwarf, arching and tall specimens.

All add drama to the garden. 



Schmechtig Landscapes; Winnetka Illinois Landscape Design and Construction Project

Not only do these plants offer wonderful summer interest with the differing habits of their foliage,

they provide beautiful structure in the winter. There are a number of varieties that do well in our region,

tolerating our hot summer sun, clay soil and wet, cold winter weather.


Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 04 June 2013 13:54

The Beauty of Trees

Besides the beauty trees offer
our landscapes, energy conservation and pollution reduction are also
achieved.  The Garden Council estimates
that one properly watered tree can produce a cooling effect in its lifetime
equal to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. 


By planting trees that shade your property,
you benefit from energy savings in the summer, and if placed correctly,
screening from freezing winter winds. In addition, trees absorb atmospheric
gases  along with fine particles of dust
and soot and become living air scrubbers.
Trees are as beautiful as they are functional; they symbolize new life
in the spring, and provide a beautiful palate of color in the fall. It all adds
up to one fact: trees are good for you visually, environmentally and

Published in Landscaping

One of our designs has been featured on by Billy Goodnick, author of "Yards: Turn Any Outdoor Space Into the Garden of Your Dreams".  Goodnick is a landscape architect, a writer for Houzz and national and regional magazines, a college professor and speaker. 

Published in Landscaping
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