Glen Ellyn Landscaping Project

Project Type: Landscape & Patio Design, Landscape Lighting
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
Services: Hardscape Construction, Landscape Design, Patio, Landscape Lighting

Compared to the dramatic terrain of say, the Rocky Mountains, northern Illinois is geographically challenged. Here, even a slight change in the terrain can create an opportunity - people ski, climb, and hike areas that would be dismissed as a bump in the road in Colorado. We flatlanders are thrilled by the rush of sledding down the neighborhood hill, even if a mere three seconds later we’re climbing up the hill again.

The same thrill occurs when we design a project with a terrain change. Rather than an insurmountable challenge, it’s an opportunity to create interest and solutions. Taking into consideration the desire of the client, the style of the house, and the scale of the space all help to determine how to solve the terrain change. This backyard had a 5-6’ grade drop from the back door of the house to the lower part of the yard. Originally, the grade was established to permit water from their backyard - as well as other properties – to flow around the house to the street in front. Two small patios were installed when the house was built to allow for a sitting and grilling area; but with a growing family and a wish to entertain larger numbers of guests, our client needed more space. We knew what they wanted, so the next step was figuring out how to achieve it on such a dramatic slope.

The interest centered around the 5-6’ drop. A typical solution might be one large space accompanied by a large set of steps, but we felt that squandered an opportunity to create interesting and inviting spaces with a terraced patio. By adding to the existing patio – but at a few feet lower – we could extend the usable entertaining area while integrating it with the lawn and landscape surrounding it. We used flagstone to create support walls for both the existing and new patios and connected them with natural stone steps. The new area was finished with brick pavers to provide color while complementing the architecture of the house as well as the natural stone used elsewhere.

Naturally, we took great care to maintain the existing plantings, low voltage lighting, and irrigation system. Special consideration was given wherever new plants were added to the established landscape for a blended, cohesive look. The addition of new lights and the adjustment of existing fixtures allows the drama and beauty of the new space to be highlighted and the family’s time spent outside is extended.

Now, with over 700 square feet of outdoor living space, the homeowners have maximized the usable area of their backyard. With three distinct elevations – a large grassy play area, a large patio for entertaining, and an intimate upper patio for grilling and small gatherings – what was once too small and impractical is now a stunning space for every occasion!