Gardens of astonishing beauty can be found across the globe: Jacques Majorelle’s garden in Marrakech; Gertrude Jekyll’s Munstead Wood garden in Surrey; Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s gardens in Charleston; and, of course, Claude Monet’s Giverny in France.
Yet, as demonstrated in the pages that follow, glorious gardens can be found much closer to home—literally in the backyards of North Suburban neighbors. Cultivated by renowned horticulturists and landscape architects, these exquisite gardens serve as living examples of the artistic principles of balance, contrast, and pattern.
Socialite and avid gardener C.Z. Guest observed, “I’ve always felt like having a garden is like having a good and loyal friend.” May these pages inspire you to nurture a relationship with your own garden; a relationship destined to bring joy for years to come.
Chalet is a third-generation, family-owned, local business serving the North Shore for more than 100 years. Today, Chalet is one of the North Shore’s leading one-stop destinations for inspired landscape design, locally grown plants, curated home décor, and customer service that creates lifelong connections. Chalet helps people to discover fresh, imaginative ways to design their outdoor space; create inviting, inspired homes; and grow a personal connection between beauty and nature. Chalet is located at 3132 Lake Avenue in Wilmette, 847-256-0561, chaletnursery.com.
A WELCOMING HOME
This Wilmette landscape consists of 25 mature trees including ash, American elm, and crab apples. Large planting beds filled with Annabelle hydrangea, Wolf ’s Eye dogwood, and Pixie Meadowbrite coneflower border the property. A granite cobble driveway welcomes guests to the front of the home and a large bluestone patio provides ample space for entertaining. Weekly visits by an experienced management crew ensure the lasting beauty of the landscape. Photography by Mike Crews
The landscape plan for this 2018 contemporary build was comprised of a simple planting palette and included only four plants; river birch, juniper, arborvitae, and sedge repeated throughout the property. The landscape reflects the clean lines and architecture of the home and helps connect the landscape to the nearby wooded bluff. Spring flowering bulbs pop up through the sedges to create a surrounding bulb meadow. The front entry is framed by a Koi pond with stone steps that appear to float just above the water. The steppers are heated so the homeowners and guests alike can safely step across the path year-round. A large bluestone patio in the back yard looks out over the wooded bluff. The new, low care landscape compliments the architecture of the home and nestles it into the surrounding neighborhood. Photography by Andrew Merz
A third generation, family-owned business founded on trust and service, Mariani Landscape began modestly in 1958, providing garden maintenance services along Chicago’s North Shore. Mariani has grown over the past 60 years, providing award winning landscape design, construction and maintenance, and now ranks as the largest residential company in the United States. Mariani Landscape is located at 300 Rockland Road in Lake Bluff, 847-234-2172, marianilandscape.com.
Mariani Landscape transformed this outdoor space for the 2017 Lakeforest Showhouse & Gardens event. Traditional boxwood hedges, white hydrangeas, and green euphorbias work harmoniously with the English country style of the house. Add to that white geraniums and tulips and you find a garden with a vintage, throw-back feel. Photography by Tony Soluri
This picturesque property is comprised of 10 acres bordering a public prairie preserve. The landscape architects developed a series of garden rooms each addressing different needs of the homeowners. These garden rooms include a potager garden for organic vegetables, an orchard for organic fruit, a butterfly garden for horticultural experiment, a pool area for active play, an open lawn space for large tent parties, and an outdoor kitchen and terrace for dining al fresco. The prairie unifies the garden rooms by providing the perfect backdrop. Photography by Linda Oyama-Bryan
Celebrating 60 years, Schmechtig Landscapes has taken pride in masterful landscaping employing its old-world traditions and perspectives introduced by the founder, Klaus Schmechtig and handed down to his son, Michael. This year, they welcome Michael’s son and third-generation family member Matt Schmechtig. Their philosophy treats the landscape of a client’s property as an extension of their home by combining design solutions with experienced horticultural maintenance services. Schmechtig’s successful practice comes from dedication to building long-term relationships with their clients—and that is why the majority of their work comes directly from referrals. Schmechtig Landscapes is located at 20860 West Indian Creek Road in Mundelein, 847-566-1233, schmechtiglandscapes.com.
Longtime Schmechtig Landscapes’ client, Jeannie Balsam of Jeannie Balsam Interiors, asked Schmechtig to team up with her firm to develop a full site outdoor living design for a Glencoe residence. Michael Schmechtig and his team created a plan honoring the architecture of the home while prioritizing the family’s lifestyle preferences. The landscape design reflects the timeless nature of the site. A sweeping bluestone walk leads to the front door where large urns are filled with seasonal interest. The home is framed by mature ornamental trees, plant layers, color, and texture. Backyard living spaces reflect the family’s lifestyle preferences, featuring an outdoor dining area enclosed by a vine covered pergola, a seating area, a modern water feature, an outdoor kitchen, and sweeping steps that lead to the back lawn. A rooftop garden features a secluded seating area, a contemporary water feature, and plants with seasonal interest. The property is on a weekly maintenance program to maintain the integrity of the landscape design for years to come. Photography by Dustin Halleck