Elmhurst Grand Landscaping Design

Project Type: Landscaping
Location: Elmhurst, IL
Services: Hardscape Construction, Landscape Design

One summer day, while checking on an existing customer’s landscape, they informed me that they were building a new house on the other side of town and wanted me to start working on the landscaping plan for the new house. Initially, I thought it was going to be a piece of cake. Why not? I already knew them and their likes and dislikes so well. That was until they showed me the plans for the new house, then I immediately realized, there were definitely going to be some challenges ahead.

The main issue was that the new house was very grand, and while the lot was a bit larger than the typical Elmhurst lot, the majority of the extra space was in the front yard. In the front they really only had one request; not to plant anything that would screen the house. In the back, however, it was important to my clients to have plenty of entertaining space, but also leave as much lawn space as possible. At the time they already had two children and had twins on the way, so they knew they would need plenty of play area. Other requests that they had for the back were to screen the property behind them and add a vegetable garden. Two items that were necessary, but also two items that would take up more of the precious space.

While designing the front landscape, the main challenge I faced was making sure everything was in scale with the size of the house, without blocking the stonework on the front of the house. Two of their favorite trees are white spire birches and magnolias. I was able to incorporate the birch and a small variety of magnolia in a way to give the landscape some height, but placing them in certain locations as to not obstruct the view of the house from the street. With the addition of a flagstone retaining wall to level off the sloping grade near the house and a very wide bluestone walkway, the front was complete.

Designing the back landscape was a lot more challenging. I started with the entertaining space. The covered porch on the back of the house had room for seating and a built in grill. All that was left for the bluestone patio was space for a dining table and a fire pit. I utilized a rectilinear design in order to eliminate as much wasted space as possible, and the utilization of seat walls allows for increased seating with requiring more room for chairs.

To screen the rear property, we used a row of arrowwood viburnums with mixed perennials in front for a pop of color throughout the season. Arrowwood viburnums are great, because we can keep the trimmed to a desired size and they will not take up too much of the lawn space. We ended up placing the vegetable garden behind the auxiliary garage. Sunlight-wise, it was not the ideal spot for a garden, but since space was limited and it was basically dead space, it just made sense.

We ended up adding a few other items just to bring everything together. First we utilized bluestone steppers to transition from one are to another. A couple cedar arbors were built and stained to match the blue trim on the house, and these were used to help define some of the different spaces. Finally, a water feature was added near the patio for a nice ambient sound and visual display.

In the end, the homeowners got a great landscape that accents their beautiful home; while maintaining a lawn space their children can enjoy now and a patio space they will surely enjoy when they are older.