Glen Ellyn Residence Landscape Design
Project Type: Landscaping
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
Services: Hardscape Construction, Landscape Design
When we design a home’s front foundation planting, our main objective is to highlight the beauty and character of the house. An overgrown landscape makes architectural features disappear and gives the homeowner the feeling that they’re being swallowed by darkness as their windows are shaded by shrubbery. However, if the landscape compliments the architecture rather than hides it, the most overlooked house on the block becomes the beauty of the neighborhood.
When we first met this Glen Ellyn client, we could barely see the house from the street due to massive overgrown junipers all along the front foundation. Everyone agreed that those needed to be removed. Without them, we had a severe elevation change to resolve - both functionally and aesthetically. Rather than landscape on a slope - which means a constant battle with erosion - we decided to build terraces. This gives us more workable space that is easier to maintain and helps bring the large scale of the house down to the ground plane in an elegant, controlled way. The clients wanted a formal look but with natural stone, so we used cut flagstone for the walls. By incorporating the walls with the existing nine-step staircase, the four flagstone walls appear part of the original design for the house. In order to soften the presentation of the flagstone. the walls start to curve as they near the house’s corners and include larger outcropping stones to help retain soil.
While addressing such a dramatic change to the front landscape, we also needed to consider the front walk. The existing walk had been laid on a slope with red brick that was now cracked, uneven, and dangerous. We achieved a cohesive, monochromatic look by using Yorkstone, which has the look of large flagstone but with the regularity of a concrete paver. Just as we terraced the area close to the house, we added some steps to the walk to make the approach more comfortable and add to the grandeur of the new entrance. Using the same stone to veneer the existing stoop and staircase gave a finished, seamless look to the entire design.
Bringing this design from very nice to spectacular were the plantings. Thanks to the plentiful dappled shade, we were able to use both sun and shade loving plants. The row of bright pink roses make a bold statement against the formal white walls. We used boxwood to create hedges along the walk and line the upper landing, echoing the formal structure of the wall design and giving a lush green for all seasons. Using a variety of perennials added color and interest to the informal areas of the landscape and softened the edges of the larger outcropping stone. Hydrangeas in the lower landscape give a pop of white that shows beautifully against the dark green groundcover and boxwood.
Pulling design elements from the house – the clean white color, the formal structure – helped determine the materials we used in this landscape renovation. Keeping a monochromatic color palette keeps the focus on the beauty of the house and choosing plants that won’t grow to cover the house ensures its loveliness will never be hidden again.
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