Tuesday, 15 October 2013 08:31

A Local Fall Destination

We are a big fan of The Chicago Botanic Garden and all it's offerings.  The Garden is your Fall destination to experience the season.  Take a moment to learn of their organized classes and fun-filled events like the Spooky Pooch Parade and Hallowfest at: http://www.chicagobotanic.org/


Published in Landscaping
Monday, 14 October 2013 07:14

New Colors for Your Fall Planters

According to Kim Gamel, a Houzz Contirbutor, "why not take a break from the same old orange, red and yellow plants and enjoy some fresh colors in your pots this fall.  Fall containers can look just as stunning and seasonal without the traditional red, orange, yellow and brown. Simply using annuals and perennials that naturally shine this time of year will allow you to think outside the fall color box." Read more: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/18563194/list?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u371&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery8


Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 07:35

How to Pick the Right Garden Ceiling

Canopy, umbrella, tree or sky — for the finishing touch in your garden, consider what's overhead...

This article is written by Billy Goodnick, a regular Houzz.com contributor.

"You're sitting in your garden. You look up. What do you see? Robin's egg–blue sky and cotton ball clouds? A leafy canopy shimmering in a breeze? Perhaps it's an umbrella, a gazebo or a rose-covered trellis.

Every part of your garden has a ceiling, even if it's the sky above. Now this may come off a bit "gloaty," but when an architect chooses a ceiling inside your house, it's pretty simple: He or she selects from wood paneling, plaster, acoustical tile or maybe a skylight. But garden designers have a more robust array of useful and decorative choices that can be grown, assembled or constructed.

The main purpose of a home's ceiling is to keep out the elements and prevent the people sleeping upstairs from falling through to the living room below. But a garden's ceiling can do so much more." Read more: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/7620120/list?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u367&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery24

Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 01 October 2013 11:28

It's Fall and Time for Fire Pit Season

The cold crisp air signals fall is here and means we cannot do all the outdoor activities we enjoyed during summer. But, if you have a fire pit you can extend the use of your backyard. A fire pit provides heat on those cooler days or nights when it's too gorgeous to stay indoors. Having one installed affords you time to be outside without being uncomfortably cold.


Lake Forest, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

The use of firepits and fireplaces is an outdoor design trend that has spread nationwide. Incorporating an outdoor fire pit or fireplace structure creates a beautiful backdrop to outdoor entertaining and extends the use of your landscape into the fall and throughout the winter. Imagine lighting a fire on a beautiful winter evening; staying warm while enjoying the winter sky.  Integrating a fire structure can be as simple as adding a portable fire pit to your existing patio or by having a fire pit built to work with your existing design. Retail stores like Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart and Cabela have many models to choose from.


Long Grove, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

There are pre-manufactured units that can be installed to create a truly custom look, talk to a landscape architect to design a full-scale fireplace.  You can integrate these structures into existing patio layouts with coordinating brick or stone choices.


Barrington, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

If you are designing a new landscape, consider a fire pit or fireplace to be the focal point where you, your family and friends gather.  The warmth and relaxation of a fire pit or fireplace will be enjoyed for years to come.

Published in Landscaping
Friday, 27 September 2013 08:03

Fall - A Cool-Season Vegetable Garden

Late summer, fall and spring are great times to plant cool-season crops like salad greens, spinach, beets, carrots and peas says Marianne Lipanovich, a California-based writer and editor and Houzz Contributor. Marianne's suggestions are perfect.  Here' her article: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/3439193/list/Get-a-Jump-on-a-Cool-Season-Vegetable-Garden


Published in Landscaping

Flowers and gardens

Plant bulbs - Fall is the time to plant crocus, daffodils,
hyacinths, tulips, and other spring-flowering bulbs throughout most of the
country. You should plant most bulbs by late October/November, you can plant
tulips as late as November.

Protect roses - Most modern hybrid roses are damaged by temperatures
below 10 F or so. Mound soil over the plant's central crown or bud, called the
bud union.

Mulch - Mulch after a hard freeze. Spread 2 to 3 inches of
compost, composted cedar, pine, or fir bark, weed-free straw, or similar



Lake Bluff, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes


Cut back and divide perennials - Cut back dead leaves and
stems of perennials. Leave those with attractive, dried stems for winter interest.
Divide some perennials if they're overcrowded and if there is still usually
about a month until the hard frost.

Dig and store summer bulbs - Dig and store tender bulbs
such as tuberous begonias, dahlias, and gladiolus.

Published in Landscaping

Here's our second installment - Fall Landscape maintenance check list.

Trees and shrubs

Plant trees, shrubs, and vines - Planting now through the
end of October/November gives most plants a head start in the spring, since
roots will grow in still-warm soil long after air temperatures drop. Be sure to
soak the root ball thoroughly and apply mulch to prevent
the soil around plants from thawing and refreezing, which can damage tender new

Protect plants from rodents - Keep mice, moles, and other rodents
from feeding on the bark of young trees in winter by wrapping a cylinder of
1/2-inch-mesh hardware cloth around the trunk. Leave at least 1 inch between
the mesh and trunk, and push the mesh 3 inches into the soil. Plastic wraps
that extend 2 feet above the snow line protect the trunk from rabbits. Remove
the mesh in spring.

Protect tender evergreens from cold - Boxwood,
holly, and rhododendrons often suffer in winter because their leaves lose
moisture, or transpire, on sunny days without replacing it from the soil when
it's frozen. Surround these plants with a shelter of burlap or old sheets.
Drive three to five narrow stakes around the plant and pull the material taut
over them so that it doesn't rest on leaves or branches; secure in place with
staples. The material creates shade and slows wind, both of which serve to
reduce transpiration. Provide additional protection by using an
anti-transpirant spray on the foliage after the first hard frost. The spray
will dry into a thin film that reduces the moisture lost by transpiration.

Water - Soak soil around trees and shrubs if rainfall has been
light to ensure that plants enter winter fully hydrated.

Pruning – Winter (Dormant Pruning) through early summer is the
time to prune most trees and shrubs. Prune lightly to repair broken or damaged
limbs or to minimally shape trees and shrubs.

Published in Landscaping

Fall is one of the best times to improve your lawn, trees, shrubs, and garden. The basic maintenance you do during this "second spring" after summer will pay off in healthier growth and fewer problems next spring and summer. The soil is still warm despite the falling temperatures, the weeks ahead are an ideal time to put many plants into the ground. Here's the first of three blog installments on your fall landscaping checklist.

Part One: Lawn care
Fertilize - Fall fertilizing helps keep lawns vigorous and healthy where growing seasons are long and reduces the length of a dormant period during which the lawn is an unattractive brown.
Weed - Dandelions, broadleaf plantain, and ground ivy, can be pulled out by hand anytime. But autumn is when they're most vulnerable to weed killers.
Continue mowing - until grass has stopped growing.
Seed - fall is a good time to lay seed so that your lawn gets a head start in the spring.
Water your lawn thoroughly - Rains have been sparce recently, apply plenty of water, even if temperatures are cool. Lawns that enter winter stressed from drought are more likely to have damage by cold weather and arrive weaker in the spring.

Published in Landscaping

The recipe can be made with yellow squash or zucchini or a combination both.


4 to 5 medium yellow squash/zucchini or combination (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 and 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 garlic cloves minced

Salt to taste

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper - to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup shaved fresh Parmesan cheese



Shave squash into ribbons using a vegetable peeler. (stopping at core and discard seeds)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Add onion and garlic to skillet and cook 1 minute, add squash and cook 3 minutes or until onion is tender, gently stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat.

Add salt, red pepper, and black pepper, and toss gently to combine.

Sprinkle with cheese.

Published in Landscaping
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