Amp up the charm, comfort and personality of your outdoor space with drapery, lighting and more says Karen Egly-Thompson, a Houzz Contributor. Thompson asks, Is your outdoor space more drab than fab but you don’t have the inclination (or budget) for a big makeover? Whether your space is big or small, Thompson shares eight easy-on-the-wallet ways to make it more alluring and comfortable:



Outdoor Patio Lighting, Lake Forest, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping
Monday, 18 April 2016 16:12

Tips for Decorating Your Garden

Here are 18 takeaway lessons and tips for a beautiful decorated green space.

1. Use Ornaments as Finishings
2. Design for Outdoor Rooms
3. Don't Be Afraid of Patina
4. Repeat Your Home's Exterior Style
5. Dress Up Garden Entrances



Schmechtig Landsapes, Wilmette, Illinois A Historical Garden Preservation

6. Tie Furnishings Into the Overall Scheme
7. Choose Decor Suited for The Outdoors
8. Take Lighting to Another Level
9. Showcase Plant Collections
10. Embrace Unusual Displays



Schmechtig Landscapes, Outdoor Sleeping Design, Barrington, Illinois

11. Let Decorative Elements Play Up Sound
12. Entice with Garden Scents
13. Use Plants Themselves as Ornaments
14. Add Splashes of Color with Ceramics
15. Repurpose Found Objects as Containers
16. Give a Garden a Lived-In Look
17. Lend Some Historical Context
18. Mix in Some Old World Flavor

Read and see all the deatils on these tips here:

Courtesy of home and garden section with this old house



Container Art, Schmechtig Landscapes Design in Barrington, Illinois


Published in Landscaping
Friday, 08 April 2016 09:07

Outdoor Living Sale

We are sharing this wonderful outdoor living sale from  Great products, selections and ideas for you as you plan your outdoor spaces for this season. Outdoor Furniture, outdoor rugs, umbrellas, fire pits, torches, decorative outdoor pillows and shams, garden essentials and more.

See them all:


Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 06 April 2016 11:16

Perfect Porch Ideas

The best porches and verandas have all the style of an outdoor room - plus the beauty of nature. 

Here are 8 fantastic ideas courtesy of Elle Decor via's home and garden section:


Porch Ideas and Front Landscape Ideas, Schmechtig Landscape Project in Barrington, Illinois

Published in Landscaping

Many of us choose to hire a landscape maintenance company to care for our homes property. A full service company will be the best landscape company for you to hire.  Given that you will be serviced each week by this company, you want to choose the best company for your needs.

Your search should begin with assessing your own needs. Are you looking for a lawn service company to mow your lawn each week or do you require more services like weeding, planting seasonal flowers, container pot service, lawn fertilization, plant fertilization and irrigation service?



ILCA Gold Award in Landscape Maintenance, Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, Illinois                       Photo: Linda Oyama Bryan

Landscape companies vary in size and the services they provide.  Some companies provide basic lawn care service while others provide additional services to basic lawn care offering everything you need to care for your landscape throughout the year: spring and fall cleanups; weekly grounds service which includes mowing your lawn, removing and disposing of debris before lawn mowing; pruning and trimming selected trees, shrubs, vines and ground cover; seasonal plant maintenance of perennial and annual beds and weeding.  A full service landscape maintenance company will provide weekly grounds service and more knowing when to perform each service like a lawn fertilizer program and plant bed fertilizer applied by their own licensed operators, lawn aeration to help your lawn improve soil conditions and reduce thatch, plant root feed to provide plants with a readily available source of nutrients, insect control grubs for preventive and curative application control of grubs in your lawn, boxwood blight fungus control, dormant pruning, deer and rabbit control, snow removal, irrigation services and more.

Search online for landscape maintenance companies and include lawn service companies and lawn care companies. You will learn a lot about a company from their website.  Websites reveal who they are and if they are a full service landscape company offering maintenance, lawn and plant fertilization, landscape design and build, outdoor furniture and accessory selection, irrigation and lighting service, snow removal and all other landscape services you need, all in-house.  Look for accomplishments in the industry.  Is the company a member and involved in their states landscape contractors association?  Do they have Certified Landscape Technicians, horticulturists and other degreed licensed professionals on staff? What professional associations are they members of?  How many years have they been in business? Do they provide a detailed written proposal to eliminate any confusion what you will be paying?

Once you have selected a few companies, review each landscape company’s proposal carefully.  Some may seem low and others high.  Make sure you clarify the wording on the service offerings to compare apple to apples. Find a company that aligns with you. Do you want a company who reaches out and is involved serving charitable organizations?  Asking questions and being honest about your needs and monthly budget will ensure your satisfaction with the landscape and lawn company you choose.



ILCA Gold Award for Landscape Maintenance Winner - Schmechtig Landscapes, Wilmette, Illinois         Photo: Linda Oyama Bryan


Here is a list of the Landscape Maintenance Services and Lawn Care Services provided by Schmechtig Landscapes :

Spring & Fall Clean-Ups; Yard Clean-Up
Weekly Grounds
Weekly Lawn Service
Lawn Aeration
Stone, Sand, Gravel, Topsoil
Pruning – including Dormant Pruning
Plant Bed Service
Four Season Color Displays
Garden Services: Annuals, Perennials, Vegetables, Butterfly Gardens, Rose Care Program
Pest Management:  Fertilization - Lawn and Plant Beds, Ornamental Trees, Shrubs, Ground Cover, and more
Weed, Insect and Disease Control
Animal Repellants
Deer Control
Seasonal Container Pot Displays
Winter Plant Protection
Tree Health Care
Hand Watering Service
Gator Bags
Irrigation Service
Lighting Service
Power-washing Service
Hardscape Maintenance Service

Published in Landscaping

It's Spring and time to kick up the spring cleaning.  Freshen up the home inside and out, from windows that sparkle to a clutter-free garage.

Laura Gaskill, a Houzz Contributor, shares 13 tasks to help you make the most of the first full month of spring.

Here's the list and more:



Landscape Maintenance, Glencoe, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping

Mitchell Parker, a Houzz Editorial Staff Writer, published this article “Inside Houzz: New Data Offer Insights on Landscaping Trends” on Friday, March 25th.
Parker states, "When it comes to outdoor projects, homeowners aren’t messing around. In a new Houzz landscaping survey, 88 percent of homeowners involved in an outdoor project say the scope of the work is a substantial or complete renovation. Their projects include things like adding paving and garden beds, building or updating structures, regrading, terracing and re-landscaping. The Houzz Landscaping & Garden Trends Study surveyed 958 registered U.S. Houzz users in February 2016 who had completed an outdoor project in the past 12 months, were working on one or planned to start one in the next six months." Here’s the link for the full article (great insights and information):    Courtesy of




Terracing Backyard Ideas - Schmechtig Landscapes in Barrington Hills, Illinois



Garden Bed Ideas with Water Feature, - Schmechtig Landscapes in Wilmette, Illinois



Front Walkway using Pavers - Schmechtig Landscapes in Glenview, Illinois

Published in Landscaping

Growing delicious herbs and vegetables start with knowing your goals and when you want to plant, says Rebecca Cuttler, a Houzz Contributor.  Cuttler continues, every spring, garden centers fill up with rack upon rack of baby plants. It can be tempting to buy these nursery-grown seedlings, especially if you’re new to gardening — but are they really the right choice for you? Nursery-grown plants have some disadvantages as well. In general, a single flat of lettuce plants costs about the same amount as an entire package of hundreds of lettuce seeds — often enough to supply your whole garden for several years if properly stored. Store-bought plants are sometimes less healthy than homegrown seedlings, as they may have been shipped from a far-off nursery and cared for under less-than-ideal conditions. Buying plants versus planting seeds. Buying plants from a store certainly seems convenient. They’re already growing and visible, and seem easier to plant than a pack of seeds. Store-bought plants are handy if you got a late start to the season and missed the opportunity to sow seeds at the right time. They can also take some of the guesswork out of starting a garden. In some cases, such as with perennial plants that take years to mature, they can be worth the extra cost. Cuttler shares with us 8 surefire vegetables and herbs for beginning urban gardeners,  plants you should consider buying; tips for planting your nursery-bought plants; plants best started from seed and ways to grow from seed.

Read More:


Published in Landscaping

As a member of the landscape industry, Schmechtig Landscapes subscribes to many organizations feeding us the latest news, trends and events in our industry.  Here are the 2016 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey results including top ten design trends conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).  Landscape architects were asked to rate the expected popularity of a variety of residential outdoor design elements in 2016.
The survey was fielded February 4 through February 18, 2016, with 803 responding.


Respondents expected the greatest demand for outdoor living spaces that are environmentally sustainable, reduce water costs and are low maintenance.
Water-focused design elements dominated this year’s top ten list and reflect consumers’ growing commitment to landscapes that reduce water use and stormwater runoff, says Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA.  “Water issues are hot topics for many communities, and many people are turning to landscape architects for creative green infrastructure solutions,” said Somerville. “Sustainable residential landscape architecture, if part of a broader integrated site design, can dramatically reduce water usage and stormwater runoff over the long term while creating a healthy residential environment.”


The top three most popular outdoor design elements include fire pits/fireplaces (74.95 percent), lighting (66.67 percent) and wireless/internet connectivity (65.86 percent).


The top landscape and garden elements include native plants (86.02 percent), low-maintenance landscapes (84.55 percent) and food/vegetable gardens (74.95 percent). Pergolas (50.94 percent), decks (47.40 percent), arbors (44.32 percent) and fencing (44.07 percent) are expected to be the most popular outdoor structures.


The hottest sustainable design elements include rainwater/graywater harvesting (88 percent), native/adapted drought tolerant plants (85 percent) and permeable paving (77 percent).


The most popular outdoor recreation amenities for 2016 will include sports courts (41 percent), spa features (40 percent) and swimming pools (36 percent).

Here are the top ten project types with the expected highest consumer demand:
Rainwater/graywater harvesting – 88%
Native plants – 86%
Native/adapted drought tolerant plants – 85%
Low-maintenance landscapes – 85%
Permeable paving – 77%
Fire pits/fireplaces – 75%
Food/vegetable gardens (including orchards, vineyards, etc.) – 75%
Rain gardens – 73%
Drip/water-efficient irrigation – 72%
Reduced lawn area – 72%



Schmechtig Landscapes, Long Grove Illinois Landscape with Fire Pit and seat wall for additional outdoor seating


Outdoor Design Elements Ranked in expected order of popularity for 2016:

Fire pits/fireplaces – 75%
 Lighting – 67%
 Wireless/internet connectivity – 66%
 Seating/dining areas – 64%
 Outdoor furniture – 63%
 Planters, sculptures, garden accessories – 56%
 Grills – 54%
 Counter space – 50%
 Outdoor heaters – 47%
 Stereo systems – 40%
 Movie/TV/video theaters – 38%
 Utility storage – 35%
 Sinks – 33%
 Refrigerators – 31%
 Outdoor cooling systems (including fans) – 29%
 Showers/baths – 29%
 Hammocks – 21%
 Bedrooms/sleeping spaces – 11%



Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, Illinois fire pit


Schmechtig Landscapes Barrington, Illinois, Outdoor Living Room with pavers and outdoor rug; Outdoor Dining Room with fireplace, raised plant beds, seat walls, pergola and outdoor lighting chandelier; Outdoor Sleeping Space with futon and pillows.



Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, Illinois Outdoor Kitchen and Dining with grill, refridgerator, warming drawers, granite counter tops and blue stone flooring



Schmechtig Landscapes Barrington, Illinois landscape design incorporating planter and sculptures.



Schmechtig Landscapes Lake Bluff, Illinois front landscape design - circular driveway with permiable pavers, crushed blue stone with ancillary globe sculpture 

 Outdoor Recreation Amenities Ranked in expected order of popularity for 2016:

Sports courts (tennis, bocce, etc.) – 41%
 Spa features (hot tubs, Jacuzzis, whirlpools, indoor/outdoor saunas) – 40%
 Swimming pools – 36%
 Labyrinths – 11%



Schmechtig Landscapes Winnetka, Illinois Backyard with pool, spa, outdoor dinning room and fire pit.



Schmechtig Landscapes, Lake Forest, Illinois spa and pool


Landscape/Garden Elements Ranked in expected order of popularity for 2016:

Native plants – 86%
 Low-maintenance landscapes – 85%
 Food/vegetable gardens (including orchards, vineyards, etc.) – 75%
 Rain gardens – 73%
 Water-saving xeriscape or dry gardens – 68%
 Organic gardens – 64%
 Plant walls/vertical gardens – 61%
 Rooftop gardens – 55%
 Decorative water elements (ornamental pools, fountains, splash pools, waterfalls, grottos, water runnels or bubblers) – 46%
 Ponds/streams – 29%


Schmechtig Landscapes Barrington Hills, Illinois Landscape Design with pond and moving stream



Schmechtig Landscapes, Wilmette Illinois Landscape Garden Design with waterfall and pond



Schmechtig Landscapes, Barrington Hills, Illinois Landscape Garden Design with water fountain feature


Outdoor Structures Ranked in expected order of popularity for 2016:

Pergolas – 51%
 Decks – 47%
 Arbors – 44%
 Fencing – 44%
 Porches – 40%
 ADA accessible structures (ramps, bars, shelving, etc.) – 38%
 Pavilions – 33%
 Play structures (treehouses, swing sets, etc.) – 31%
 Utility sheds (tool sheds, garden sheds) – 28%
 Gazebos – 24%



Schmechtig Landscapes, Wilmette Illinois, Landscape Garden Design with arbors, climbing roses, container urns and blue stone walking path



Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, Illinois Patio with Pergola



Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, Illinois garden building structure with ancillary globe sculpture 



Schmechtig Landscapes HGTV Project, Schaumburg, Illinois with upper outdoor deck, pergola with attached outdoor see-thru fireplace to living room and dinning room areas and an outdoor kitchen with grill, refridgerator and granite counters.


Sustainable Elements Ranked in expected order of popularity for 2016:

Rainwater/graywater harvesting – 88%
 Native/adapted drought tolerant plants – 85%
 Permeable paving – 77%
 Drip/water-efficient irrigation – 72%
 Reduced lawn area – 72%
 Recycled materials – 61%
 Solar-powered lights – 56%
 Compost bins – 45%
 Geothermal heated pools – 28%



Courtesy of The American Society of Landscape Architects website:

About the American Society of Landscape Architects: Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing more than 15,000 members in 49 professional chapters and 72 student chapters. Members of the Society use "ASLA" after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Landscape architects lead the stewardship, planning and design of our built and natural environments; the Society’s mission is to advance landscape architecture through advocacy, communication, education and fellowship.

Published in Landscaping
Friday, 05 February 2016 10:18

10 Creative Ways to Work With a Sloped Lot

A slanted yard may be challenging, but it also provides opportunities for beauty and fun, says Laura Gaskill a Houzz Contributor.  Gaskill continues, Steep or hilly yards can pose some of the biggest landscaping challenges, but also some of the most beautiful solutions. Make the most of your sloped lot with artful stone, terraces, built-ins or even a slide — these 10 creative outdoor spaces tackle the problem with style.  Read and see more:



Slanted/Sloped Yard used to create a sunken garden in Wilmette, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes



Lake Bluff, Illinois, Schmechtig Landscapes, Sloped Yard Landscape Ideas, Sunken Patio



Schmechtig Landscapes, Barrington Hills, Illinois, Sloped Landscape Idea


Published in Landscaping
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