Featured Gardens Portfolio


Evanston, Illinois 

(2017 to date)

New Construction managed all rain water on the property and assisted in achieving LEED Platinum status!

BEFORE WORK:
The owner of this new construction property wanted us to collaborate with the architect and the builder to create a landscape for the bees and to manage the water on-site.  we achieved 90% native plantings. In this way we could utilize our design to help the building to achieve LEED Platinum status! Mission accomplished.  

Entrance under construction (above)

We needed to rebuild the soils which we achieved using Leaf mulch in the first 2 years, and after year two, by simply chopping and dropping plant material in the beds in late spring to minimize harm to the insects over-wintering there.
Parkway  Before













Backyard Before


THE PROCESS:


Meeting with the Client, Architect, Interior  Designer & Builder to brainstorm for best results.  Collaboration is key to successful projects.



Rain water management plan outlined




























Ideas then translated to engineering grading drawing for elevations and final grade permitting.


















PROJECT MANAGEMENT CONTINUES - INSTALLATION:
Infrastructure first - Managing water from the Northwest Corner of the house. Below - Installed 2 Cultec Rechargers 
















Next up for installation the hardscape is set in place prior to grade.
Below is the back pervious set paver patio and protective grade wall to protect existing on site Blue Spruce that the client wanted to save.

















After grade was complete and shrubs introduced in the fall, we finalized the perennial plantings in spring.
During planting we were gifted with a substantial rain event and all settled as planned.





Front Rain Garden (above) two of three Rain Gardens in the back (below)










THE FINAL RESULTS:






The overall affect was achieved! Bees and other insects and birds are regular visitors to the garden as well as the neighbors and passersby who often stop to thank my client for the beauty she has brought to the neighborhood. And the city added a Yellow-wood a couple years ago to enhance the property and serve nature!

The entrance presently has more non-natives than we would plant today, having learned what we have about natives. 


Bee Bop Beebalm, Butterflyweed Black-eyed Susans and Joe-Pyeweed in summer.












Spring in the Brome Sedge Meadow.

















Summer in the Northern Rain Garden in the back yard.

 

Northbrook, IL

BEFORE WORK:

The basement was experiencing flooding issues as the sump pump drain was eroding soil back towards the house. The back wall of the house had seen several inches of soil erode from the impact of the nearby downspouts. The trampoline in the back yard was no longer being used and in an area of the garden that was frequently wet.









AFTER:

After removing some dying trees in the front and replacing the catch basin for the sump pump. We were able to direct the water towards a rain garden in the front. We replaced eroded soil to the sides of the house and made sure the water would drain away from the house and into a swale that led to the back rain garden.


 

Deerfield, IL

ABOVE BEFORE WORK:
Residential back yard with flooding issues around the base of the garden shed stemming from roof-runoff and basement sump-pump overflow.

BELOW AFTER:
Left: After removing a large area of lawn and grading the soil to encourage  water from the two downspouts and basement pump overflow to collect in a rain garden to the side of the shed.
Right: A progress shot of the sides of the shed being planted up with moisture and shade tolerant sedges. The flagstone steppers allow access to the shed from both sides now.
Above: Garden maturing nicely after 2 years and is managing the water well!







ABOVE LEFT BEFORE WORK:
The fence line prior to work was mostly grass and the client wanted more pollinator-friendly natives to fill that space.

AFTER WORK:
Below Second summer after completion. A section of lawn was taken out and the fence line was planted up with pollinator-friendly native species such as Swamp Milkweed, Jacob's Ladder and Echinacea.




Evanston New Construction (Southside)

BELOW BEFORE WORK:
This client wanted his new home to provide a native based garden that the neighbors would welcome and enjoy.  And the property was built to facilitate easy movement around much of the landscape for his wife who uses a wheelchair to move about and to bring Nature to their doorstep, especially in the backyard which is their private nature. We filled the back yard rain gardens and the mini prairie with locally relevant ecological plants to create healthy, attract birds, pollinators and grow fresh organic food.  















 

Chicago (Ravenswood)


ABOVE BEFORE WORK:
Residential front yard of bungalow with major flooding issues stemming from roof-runoff.

BELOW AFTER:
  
Left (Year one): Plants in July bloom cycle during the initial establishment of the garden.
Right (Year two): Plants in August bloom cycle. Dry stack wall supported a deeper berm in front of the Rain Garden. More mature plants manage the water well.
 

Michiana, Michigan


ABOVE BEFORE WORK:
This vacation home was an open palette ready for the opportunity to enhance the wonderful sense of place that is Michiana.  Native plantings were part of the base concept, using cultivated plants in the areas that surrounded "outdoor room" areas.

BELOW AFTER:
  
Left: The grilling patio area became a home to a pizza oven, native ferns, phlox, Hakone grass, and Jack-in-the-pulpit.
Right: The sunniest spot in the yard became home to field flowers and dunes open land plants.



ABOVE: Rain swales on the day of install in 2013.


 
Left: Two years after installation, the 1st Rain Swale's yucca have bloomed and are working with the sedges to infiltrate water.
Right: Late summer, the allium heads are just past bloom while the irises and sedges continue to thrive and reduce flow to the client's driveway.

  
Left: A beautiful Sandy Creek flagstone designed path leads the way through a custom Sandbar Willow arbor for returning beach goers.
Right: An imposing 5' ceramic bear statue guards the corner of the backyard and makes for conversation when viewed from hot tub.



 






  
 


Evanston, IllinoisResidential backyard with major flooding issues

ABOVE BEFORE WORK:
Our Evanston client wanted to remedy the dangerous freeze/thaw icing on their back stairs and concrete patio.

BELOW AFTER:
  
Left: A landing was created by rebuilding the stairs out the back door, providing flow to the client's favorite grilling area.
Right: Rain water from the back roof of the house was diverted under a seating patio area to create a second, larger rain garden.

ABOVE BEFORE WORK:
A major concern of the client was flooding by the garage door which made the area impassable in big rain events without rainboots.

BELOW AFTER:


 
Left: Impervious concrete removed! By carefully regrading the property to put water where we wanted it and using pea gravel for better infiltration, all of the client's concerns were addressed.
Right: No more icy stairs. The Northwest corner downspout was right off the stairs.



 


Chicago Rooftop In-ground Gardens

This client wanted a garden that would evoke the high-line in New York City and together we achieved his vision. He wanted a garden he could escape to that was low-maintenance.  Using natives (in the foreground) we installed extrinsic gardens that fit the green roof infrastructure style to support a garden, grow a small dogwood and have fresh herbs available.  These beds were built and planted in collaboration with Chicago's Omni-Ecosystems.  A light weight microbial activated medium was used to establish thriving plants.

 

Chicago (Albany Park)


ABOVE BEFORE WORK:
A proponent of sustainable landscape practices, this client said, "Out with grass!"

BELOW AFTER:

 
Left: We created a rain garden large enough to manage rain water coming off of 1,000 sq. ft. of roof surface with two downspouts.
Right: Puddling and ponding on the public walkway was successfully managed by creating an attractive dry stream bed.

  
Left: When the client called us in, the architect had already designed their green roof to be built with Live Roof modules. We installed the roof and have cared for it ever since!
Right: Raised beds made with galvaluminum siding and filled with organic vegetable soil were built in 2015 to replace the original repurposed barn wood beds that had begun to rot.

 


Cary, Illinois


ABOVE BEFORE WORK:
Originally situated in an old growth Oak and Hickory forest, the developers of this property came back through and created this steep grade from yard to street against the homeowner's wishes. Now dealing with shady Hickory and Oak understories as well as quick draining soil (the opposite of what we are used to seeing), our client's faced a challenge at their new home.

BELOW AFTER:

This is the front border bed of our client's new perennial garden, full of native plantings and bursts of seasonal color.



ABOVE BEFORE WORK:
A peek of an Oak understory section of the garden, full of weeds and declining Mayapples.

BELOW AFTER:
  
Left: This garden was designed to create minimal impact to the existing tree root matrix. The understory garden needed to be secured from hungry deer by a temporary fence while the plants could mature.
Right: The view out of the client's Master bedroom became home to a few of the client's personal favorite cultivars.




Oak Park, Illinois


ABOVE BEFORE WORK:
Our Oak Park client had a pond they rarely sat by and wanted a patio for entertaining instead.
BELOW AFTER:
  
Left: We moved the pond to cycle it's soothing sounds for the owners while seated at the entertainment patio off of the back porch.
Right: The back corner was transformed into a meditation corner surrounded by a field of flowers and a shade garden.



 


Left: Pinks and pastels were the clients' favorite colors, so we placed them right next to the entertainment patio.
Right: A cycle of blooms created food for native pollinators and host plants for local butterfly species.





Chicago (Andersonville)


ABOVE BEFORE WORK:
This client wanted to expand beds and create "good bones" for a mixed perennial and annual garden.
BELOW AFTER:
  
Left: We helped the garage to "disappear' into the background by changing the siding to taupe and framing the window with trellises and plants.
RIght: A raised bed provided lead free food planting for herbs and tomatoes. The Edenstone drywall provided definition and a sense of flow for bedlines.


ABOVE BEFORE WORK:
This front yard had the challenge of ice ponding right at the entrance of the home from the downspout and alley run-off.
BELOW AFTER:


  


Left: The Rain Garden utilized on-site daylilies, ammended by carexes, and easily infiltrated water run-off from downspout.
Right: A new paver entrance elevated the walkway and blocked alley water from puddling. The annual pots created a seasonal welcome.

 

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