Traditional Landscape Design
Project Type: Landscape Design
Location: Hinsdale, IL
Services: Hardscape Construction, Landscape Design
Back in 2008 a past client called to say they purchased a new home. The house was a new construction spec home built by one of the best home builders in the area. I worked for this client at their previous home in the same town and was asked to modify and expand the landscaping the builder installed. We added walkways, trees for screening, low voltage lighting and many other smaller plants. They wanted the landscaping to reflect their taste and needs.
As their family grew soon they knew the backyard was not going to give them the play space needed for the kids to run around. In the summer of 2010 they had the opportunity to purchase the property next to theirs and jumped at the chance. Knocking down this older home would allow them to expand into the new space by adding just landscaping and sod. Initial design goals were to blend in what we had done two years earlier and give the kids all the play space they needed. Soon after taking possession we walked the new lot and ideas started to flow. The design goals expanded and included maximizing open yard space, screening neighbors, saving several beautiful maples and oaks, and blending the grade change that currently existed between the two lots. I worked on an initial landscape plan and met with the client in late fall. We contracted to move forward the spring of 2011.
During that winter my client kept discussing other ideas on what they wanted from this new space and realized they wanted to expand the house. If they installed my plan now it would just need to be redone later. So we were put on hold while they worked with an architect to develop house plans. The largest change included moving the location of the garage. The existing garage was located on the far north side of the house. This space was to turn into additional living space. A new garage was to be built on the far south side of the house and on the newly purchased lot. An expansive hallway would connect the new garage to the existing house. The last major adjustment would be a dedicated mudroom for the kids and a way to allow them to get in and out. With the house plans now completed I could redraw the landscape design.
I worked with the architect, builder, a civil engineer, the City of Hinsdale, and other contractors over the course of several months in late 2011 to get the plans in place. Several revisions and additional items were added into the project. The builder’s responsibility included, off my master plan, installing the new driveway, masonry work and rough grading. Bruss would install the dry laid flagstone flat work including all the walks, patio, steps and walls. We would also be establishing all landscape beds, transplanting of existing plant material and furnish the new landscaping.
The builder broke ground in early 2012 and we slotted our portion of the work for late June. Mother Nature had her own schedule and the estimated start time kept moving back. At first this was not an issue but before long I was concerned we would not be able to complete the work before the end of the year. We started in the fall and had many days when our crews had to work along with what seemed like a dozen other crews. Rain caused everyone to be delayed.
I worked closely with the client and kept them informed of our progress. We met on site as needed to discuss details related to what the crews were doing. About halfway through the project Mother Nature decided to help us out and our crews were soon working along at a rapid pace. Daily we brought in as many new plants as the trucks could carry. I have been told I am most happy being on site positioning new plants with the guys. Well I assume I had a big smile on my face for several weeks as I had a chance to place plants everyday for over two weeks.
The season was starting to wind down and we had one major step left. I knew Mother Nature’s gift of good weather was going to change. The crews worked hard to fine grade and get the new sod installed. The goal was not only to have the new sod laid but to allow the time needed to have the grass roots grow back in before the end of the season. I figured that their kids had waited long enough and wanted to play outside in the spring of 2013 and the new lawn needed to be ready to handle the activity.
In the end, being patient and thinking it all through worked well for this client and the project. Taking the time to think through what they really wanted for the new space. 2014 should be a year for them to just enjoy! If they had installed the first landscape plan they might never have gone forward with the addition. The end result truly gave them the dream property they had always envisioned.