Front Yard Landscaping in Chicago

I designed and installed this landscape for a client’s front yard in Chicago last month, and really love how the color and height of the Japanese Maple tree we planted compliments the front of the home.  We also created a stone path and filled the parkway with Monkey Grass that will continue to grow and fill the space more each year.  The shrubs on the side of the home are Variegated Dogwoods, which produce beautiful white blooms in the spring and have bright red branches in the winter which look beautiful against the snow.  With this variety of flowers, shrubs and trees, this home will be surrounded by 4 seasons of beauty for years to come.

Before:

front before

And after!

front landscaping chicago

front landscaping chicago

front landscaping chicago

front landscaping chicago

front landscaping chicago

front landscaping chicago

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Rooftop Deck & Containers in Chicago

In case you missed our post yesterday, we are now offering custom-built cedar raised beds, which are great for vegetable gardens or setting aside a space for a garden when you don’t have a lot of room.

Last month, we stained a rooftop deck and filled containers for a client in the Lakeside neighborhood of Chicago. Among these containers, were two cedar planters we had custom built and then filled with four tall Arborvitaes to provide him with natural beauty and some privacy as it is a shared deck.  We helped him choose a stain from Benjamin Moore’s solid stain Arborcoat selection and love the finished results!  The color really compliments his furniture well, and the tropical flowers in the tall containers add punches of color and beauty to the space, perfect for entertaining or enjoying a night out under the stars.

rooftop deck after

rooftop deck after

We filled the tall black planter with white flowers to act as a moon garden while they are enjoying the space at night. The white flowers will have a romantic glowing effect against the night sky.

rooftop deck after

Custom Cedar Raised Beds

Have you been itching to start a vegetable garden this summer or have another use for a raised bed in your garden? Contact us for quality, custom built cedar planters at a reasonable cost!

Why use a raised bed?

Raised beds are ideal for small spaces or areas where the soil quality is poor.

In colder climates, it is also easier to work the ground and get the soil ready after the winter.  This allows for better drainage and deep rooting, often producing a higher yield in vegetable gardens.

Covering your raised bed with a thick layer of mulch helps keep the moisture in, reducing the need for extra watering and helping your garden to thrive in potential summer droughts.

Why use cedar specifically?

Cedar contains natural oils that prevent rotting and make these raised beds more durable without the use of chemical treatment.  It is a more expensive wood but will also last longer than other woods.

[Source: http://www.growveg.com/growblogpost.aspx?id=173]

Here are some pictures of raised beds built for a client’s landscape in Chicago.

custom cedar raised beds

custom cedar raised beds

custom cedar raised beds

Enjoy Warm Summer Nights with a Moon Garden

As we approach summer, I love to daydream about warm summer nights outside on the patio, gazing up at the stars.  Some of my most peaceful and calming times have been outdoors enjoying nature in all its glory.

Question: What is the perfect compliment to a quiet evening in the backyard?
Answer: A moon garden!

What is a moon garden?

A moon garden is a garden composed of white flowering plants that creates a “glowing” effect once the sun goes down.

Where can you put a moon garden?

Anywhere.  Moon gardens are very versatile in nature and can be designed to accommodate almost any space in your landscape as well as under a wide variety of sunlight and soil conditions.

What do you need for a moon garden?

A space – any size – in your landscape, a variety of white-blooming plants that are appropriate for your garden’s sunlight and soil conditions.  Call 4 Seasons to schedule a free estimate.  We would love to find the perfect plants for your space!

 [Photos courtesy of Lurveys Plant Finder]

Save the Monarchs with a Butterfly-friendly Garden!

MonarchFor a while now, the population of monarchs has been rapidly decreasing as farmers spray pesticides to get rid of weeds, including all types of butterfly weed – the host plant of choice for many butterflies, especially monarchs.

As you begin to plan your garden or landscape, 4 Seasons would like to encourage you to consider planting some of these “weeds” to help conserve these beautiful creatures. As you can see in the pictures below, these plants will not only add gorgeous color to your yard but will attract beautiful butterflies to your space.

Earth conservation is a definite passion of mine and I would be happy to provide a free estimate to anyone who desires to install one or a few of these plants to their garden. Placement and proper installation are key to ensure they grow well and thrive. All garden installations come with care instructions for each plant, shrub and tree as well.

If you would like to help with this initiative even further, visit Make Way for Monarchs.  They have detailed information on legislation affecting the monarchs as well as other events and things you can do to help save these exquisite critters from extinction.

[Photos courtesy of Lurvey’s Plant Finder]

Get Ready for Spring with Spring Cleaning Services!

The snow is melting, the sun is setting later in the day, and the birds are starting to come back – all signs that Spring is finally on its way! This year, we are helping out a friend who provides basement and backyard cleanup services. Get rid of all the junk that’s been hibernating in the hidden spaces of your home this winter and start the season fresh! Call Wayne at 312-493-6743 for more information.

basement before[Disclaimer: No mess is too large! Wayne typically cleans spaces much worse than this one – Give him a call!]

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Painting: Zinnia Stencils in Chicago

I painted these beautiful zinnia stencils for a client’s home in Chicago.  They are a great way to add a splash of color to a room, or any space (in this case, a hallway). I love how they all compliment the color of the walls so well, adding such variety and texture while still maintaining the classic vintage feel of a traditional Chicago home. They also draw your eye upward to the crown molding, columns and beautiful light fixture. Take a look at the pictures below and let me know what you think!

On a side note, if you are looking to freshen your home up for the new year or just looking for ideas on how to add splashes of color to your home, click on “Contact Us” and fill out the form with “SUBSCRIBE” in the subject. We will add you to our mailing list and you can receive our upcoming winter newsletter featuring an article on exactly this topic! There will also be articles on caring for succulents and planning for year round interest for your landscape. We send them out only once every quarter, including articles that inspire with new ideas about home décor, painting, caring for your outdoor landscape and indoor plants, as well as a recipe every now and then.

zinnea hall stencil

zinnea hall stencil

zinnea hall stencil

zinnea hall stencilStencil Detail_1

zinnea hall stencil

Going Green: Re-Purposing My Christmas Tree

UPDATE: This dress form is now FOR SALE on the Mannequin Madness website!
CLICK to purchase!
If you’re not in the Chicago area or want to make your own, get our easy 9-step DIY tutorial!

This year, I decided to go a little green and used the dress form that I used for my Succulent Lady to repurpose my Christmas tree. The results are stunning! I am excited to display this on my front porch. It still has warm, holiday aroma of a fir tree, so I kept it inside for a while but am now using it to bring new life to my wintery landscape. These beautiful photos were taken by my friend, Jim Meacci. Please take a moment to check out his website to see his impressive collection of work on “The Aestheticism of Living”.

  Tree Lady, Jim1

Tree Lady, Jim2

Pine Lady

Pine Lady

 

Tree Lady, Jim4

Tree Lady, Jim3

 

Painting: My Home

This past winter, I spent some of my down time updating and painting my own home with new colors and stenciling. I added a light yellow accent wall in my kitchen that really brightened up the space. I also repainted my dining room but kept the walls uniform so that my plants could be the focus that adds texture and color to the room. At the bottom of my stairs, I stenciled a few dandelions (to match the pattern of the chair covers I DIY-ed last year). Take a look at the pictures below and let me know what you think!

painting my home

painting my home

Every quarter, I send out an email newsletter containing tips, pictures and my own recommendations for your garden and home décor. This quarter, I have an article on 4 ways to add a splash of color to any room in your home along with others on landscaping and container plants. If you do not yet receive this, please send me an email or call and I’ll add you to our mailing list!

Painting: Fireplace Stencil & Winter Container

We painted this fireplace stencil for a client this past winter to add a splash of color and interest to her already beautiful room. It’s amazing what a little color and effort can do to enhance a room or make a feature, such as a fireplace, stand out. Take a look at the before and after pictures of this job – the pictures speak for themselves!

fireplace stencile before

fireplace stencil before

fireplace stencil

fireplace stencil

fireplace stencil

fireplace stencil

We also planted a small winter container for this client’s porch. It is a simple but beautiful way to bring a festive look to your home in the cold months.

winter container garden