From Shabby to Chic in One Year

Landscape projects come in all shapes and sizes, whether a small container garden or full property renovation. Most clients approach me with a specific area of the property they are looking to improve. For example, the front yard landscape might have no presence and look tired, or the back yard has no privacy from the nosy neighbor. When renovating any part of your landscape, it’s important to be mindful of how that area of the property will relate to the rest. It’s best to design the entire property, even if you are not going to implement the landscape changes all at once. With a comprehensive plan for the entire property, you will ensure a consistent theme in materials, plant choices, and color scheme. Another benefit of a master plan approach is knowing what an entire property renovation will cost which allows for proper phasing and budgeting over time.

This post will be the first of several in a series that highlights projects we have completed in the last few years. The first is for a home in Glenview where the landscape hadn’t been updated since the 80’s. It was time for a facelift! The previous landscape was comprised mostly of evergreens, which had outgrown the space. The front yard and front berm were the high priority areas for our client. The front of the home borders a busy street and some privacy was desired, but the large existing pine trees were overbearing and sickly.  The existing landscape was almost all green and devoid of flower color.

We started by removing the large pines, the outdated shrubs, and the gnarled mess of euonymus vine that had completely taken over the ground plane as well as climbed its way into the canopy of some of the pine trees. Once the old plants were removed, we essentially had a clean slate. The new design focused largely on perennial color that would add interest throughout the entire summer and fall. Varieties of Allium, Catmint, False Indigo, Coreopsis, Betony, and Liatris create the color in the garden. Ornamental grasses such as Autumn Moor Grass and Feather Reed Grass provide texture. Clump River Birch, Douglas Fir, and American Hornbeam create the dappled screening between the home and busy street.

This landscape was installed in the late summer of 2017 and has already begun to mature. While the trees and shrubs will take longer to establish, grow, and create full privacy, the grasses and perennials have already made a significant impact on the appearance of the front yard.  Twelve months may seem like a long time to you and me, but it is nothing in the timeline of nature.  It’s always astonishing to me to see the growth a garden can undertake in just a year. 

Future phases of the landscape, including the back yard, are in the planning stage and I will update you in a new blog post as areas are completed so you can follow along with the progress!

Nate Robinson

Nathan Robinson’s background in landscape design and project management allows him to see opportunity in any project. He partners with his clients to create spaces that fit the needs of their families, while also creating stunning visual impact. Nate is an Illinois native and proud graduate of the University of Illinois’ Landscape Architecture program. In his time away from the office, he enjoys hiking, landscape photography and spending time along the lakefront with his two Australian Shepherds.

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