Landscape Trends – Native Plants

There has been a lot of hubbub about using native plants in the landscape instead of horticulturally introduced selections (exotics). For the most part I do not subscribe to this philosophy. Because there are few native soils left I do not embrace the “natives or nothing” philosophy that some landscape architects and landscape designers espouse.  Continue Reading »

Landscape Design – Urban Frenzy

  Daniel Kiley frequently referenced “poetry of space” and “appropriateness” of the landscape in the context of its surroundings.   This 1940’s ranch in the Peterson Park neighborhood of Chicago represents those two basic tenets of his design process in relating the landscape back to the home, the client and the extended landscape of the neighborhood.  Continue Reading »

Front Yard Landscape Design – Low Profile Planting

Interpreting a site, a home and the specific client needs is always a juggling act.   There is an endless supply of information and stimuli to make each landscape situation unique.  But whether the landscape design is in Frankfort, Naperville or Lincoln Park there is one design principle for front landscaping that does indeed apply  Continue Reading »

Landscape Design – Using Color

There are multitudes of ways to effectively integrate color into a residential landscape design.    It can done by mixing a wide variety of colors so that each color is no less or no more important than the other.   Or color can be arranged so that one color dominates all others by its presence.  Continue Reading »

Landscape Trends for Chicago in 2016

Every field of endeavor, whether it’s engineering, cell technology or even landscaping, has a set of current trends.   While our pace of evolution might not be as swift, landscape design styles and landscape element change as well whether it’s a backyard in Chicago, Naperville or Frankfort. What’s hot right now in the residential landscape?  Continue Reading »

Landscape Design – Companion Plants

When I sit at someone’s kitchen table during an initial consultation the possibility exists that they will give me a list of their favorite plants for their landscape design.   Whenever I hear Spriaea or roses mentioned I mentally cringe just a bit because they are overused and deep down I think they fundamentally not  Continue Reading »

Landscape Design – Alignment

While it applies to all design, not just landscape architecture, aligned elements are perceived to be more closely related than unaligned elements. This applies to elements either near or far. This may be referenced as the continuous line theory of design or simply as continuity. A bed line interrupted by a driveway that visually connects  Continue Reading »

French Country Landscape

“Is it French yet?”  The client smilingly asked the very big question with a very small inquiry. That question was posed when the landscape was completed on this French Country Manor adaptation designed by local architect, Rick Lukasik.   From the initial consultation the homeowners and the architect clearly stated their desire for a garden that  Continue Reading »

Landscape Architects

Illinois landscape architect Jens Jensen once went to review a client property that looked out over a ravine in Chicagoland’s North Shore. After assessing the property carefully, he advised them to ‘do absolutely nothing as he could not improve upon it’. He also billed them $1,300 for his recommendation and site analysis. When the bill  Continue Reading »

Landscape Design – Let’s Parti

Let’s have a parti (that’s pronounced partee). In the case of landscape architecture a parti is simply the central concept of the whole. While the landscape plan may have multiple layers and ideas there is one core idea around which the whole design is built. And the parti is specific to that site. For example,  Continue Reading »