Front & Backyard Garden Designs in Chicago … Containers too!

It’s been a busy summer! A couple of weeks ago, we designed a front garden for this client in Chicago. We removed a couple of shrubs that weren’t doing well or had already died and replaced them with thriving new shrubs, appropriate for the light conditions in the yard. With time and care, the shrubs will continue to grow and fill in the space. The variety of color, texture and blooming seasons will give this space interest and beauty throughout the year.

front yard garden in chicago

front yard garden in chicago

front yard garden in chicago

After cleaning up the space in the back, we planted a few shrubs in front of their Limelight Hydrangea shrub and a few other plants to fill in the space even more.

back yard garden in chicago

back yard garden in chicago

back yard garden in chicago

We also filled planters on the front porch and back deck with a variety of flowers and plants, mostly suited for shady conditions. We even created a small planter for her children to grow some small edible plants.

container garden in chicago

container garden in chicago

Landscape Design on a Dime in Chicago

Similar to the HGTV show, Design on a Dime, this client needed their parkway done on a tight budget. We were able to use some of their existing plants from the backyard in addition to a couple new shrubs. With new soil and mulch to top it off, we were able to fill the area and stay within their budget. With time, the plants will continue to grow and fill in the space. A beautiful garden is certainly possible on a smaller budget. Take a look at the pictures and let us know what you think! Any questions or comments are always welcome. 🙂

The parkway area before:

landscape design on a dime in chicago

And after:

landscape design on a dime in chicago

landscape design on a dime in chicago

landscape design on a dime in chicago

Small Front Yard Garden on a Budget in Chicago

We recently worked on this Chicago home’s front yard garden, cleaning up the space and working with a smaller budget. It was a small space, but I’m proud of what we were able to achieve, bringing pops of color and year round interest within her budget. Here are a couple shots of the area before we started work.

front yard garden on a budget in Chicago

front yard garden on a budget in Chicago

We were able to clean this space up a lot, still keep a few of their existing plants after trimming them and add a bunch of new ones. Take a look!

front yard garden on a budget in Chicago

front yard garden on a budget in Chicago

front yard garden on a budget in Chicago

front yard garden on a budget in Chicago

front yard garden on a budget in Chicago

front yard garden on a budget in Chicago

front yard garden on a budget in Chicago

From a Clean-Up to a Revamp to a Small Backyard Garden Install in Chicago

I have been doing garden clean-ups for this client for a few years now so I was excited when she needed a little more done this year.  After having a tree removed from her backyard, she had some space to fill and needed a few other plants moved to a more ideal location for their sunlight requirements.

backyard landscaping in Chicago

I installed a barberry, variegated dogwood, pencil holly and a purple iris to the space below to add little pops of color, texture and year round interest to her backyard.

backyard landscaping in Chicago

Shifting around some of her existing plants will not only help them thrive but also created a sort of woodland space in her backyard, which I love.

backyard landscaping in Chicago

backyard landscaping in Chicago

backyard landscaping in Chicago

backyard landscaping in Chicago

backyard landscaping in Chicago

backyard landscaping in Chicago

 backyard landscaping in Chicago

From My Garden: Decorative Hanging Planters

I just love decorating my backyard with these colorful hanging planters. I use them to decorate my fence with extra pops of color, and have used them for clients to create standout decorative pieces, such as this one using a painted ladder and birdhouses. You can get some of your own on Etsy at Harley’s Painted Garden.

decorative containers

They are great for adding extra pops of color and personality to a space and definitely add a “fun factor” to any garden. I have always been a bit of a carefree spirit and these containers help express that, so I wanted to share them with you. Take a look and let me know what you think!

decorative container gardens

decorative container gardens

decorative container gardens

decorative container gardens

decorative container gardens

decorative container gardens

decorative container gardens

decorative container gardens

One Year Later: Southwestern Style Front Yard Landscaping Design in Des Plaines

Last fall, we worked on a front yard landscaping design for a client in Des Plaines with a little southwestern flair.  We installed a few large flagstones and surrounded them with shrubs that would bring year round interest to the space.

Southwestern Style Front Landscape

Southwestern Style Front Landscape

Southwestern Style Front Landscape

We recently revisited the client to do a small cleanup and took a few pictures of the garden almost one year later.

Southwestern Landscaping in Des Plaines

Southwestern Landscaping in Des Plaines

Southwestern Landscaping in Des Plaines

Southwestern Landscaping in Des Plaines 

The following week, we went back to lay down new mulch and install a few more plants in the front, along the side of the house and near the stairs.

southwestern style garden

southwestern style garden

southwestern style garden

Southwestern Landscaping in Des Plaines

Front Yard Landscaping in Chicago

Last week, we finished landscaping the front yard of a condominium in Chicago.  I worked with the beds they had and was able to complement some of the plants that were already growing in their space with quite a few new additions of my own.  The plants I chose will provide year round interest to their front along with pops of color and different textures.  I was able to create a mirror effect with the plants to complement the mirrored look of the building.  We also filled the front planter boxes with a variety of annuals.  Take a look at the pictures and let me know what you think in the comments below.  I am happy to answer any questions.  Thanks for checking us out!

Front Yard Landscaping in Chicago

Front Yard Landscaping in Chicago

Front Yard Landscaping in Chicago

Front Yard Landscaping in Chicago

Front Yard Landscaping in Chicago

More Container Gardens in Chicago

We had the chance to do a couple more container gardens in Chicago this past week.  One was for a rooftop deck and the other was more window boxes and smaller containers.  I love how container gardens leave room for so much variety, so I wanted to share some of the pictures with you.  I always aim for a variety of colors and textures that will not only grow well in your light conditions, but bloom at different times throughout the spring/summer so that your outdoor space has as much continuous color as possible.

Container garden in Chicago

Container garden in Chicago

Container garden in Chicago

container garden in Chicago

Container garden in Chicago

Give me a call if you’d like help filling your containers!  I can give you a variety of options that will grow well in your conditions, suit your tastes and provide your space with beautiful pops of color.  Check out this blog for more tips on sprucing up your outdoor deck or patio to get it ready for summer BBQs, outdoor entertaining and even just relaxing outside.  I hope you all have a fabulously fun summer!

Container Gardens (Sunny & Shady) in Chicago

I was so happy to create these shady and sunny container gardens for a repeat client in Chicago yesterday. (You can see what we did last year here and here.) The variety of color, foliage and blooms was so much fun to work with. Whenever I work on container gardens, I feel like an artist creating my masterpiece through the arrangement of the flowers and foliage. It’s great therapy too. 😉

This client has a shady area on her back deck and a sunny area near her front windows, so we used a variety of plants – some that grow well in the shade and some that thrive in sunny conditions. Whatever your light conditions are, there are plenty of beautiful (and colorful) options. Take a look at the pictures and let me know what you think!

shady deck container gardens

Pops of color even in the shade

shady deck container gardens

sunny window box container gardens

Sunny Window Box Container Garden

sunny window box container gardens

sunny window box container gardens

sunny window box container gardens

sunny window box container gardens

Love the variety of color in blooms & foliage

sunny window box container gardens

The view from inside

sunny window box container gardens

The view from outside – at times, a little scary hanging out that window, but we managed! 🙂

4 Seasons Recommends: The Hydrangea

hydrangeaHydrangea from my indoor garden

You probably recognize this type of non-hardy hydrangea from all of the garden stores and home centers. It’s a common indoor plant, especially around Mother’s Day. I love the hydrangea for more than just its blooming beauty though. This plant comes in a wide variety (many of which are suitable for outdoors) and can flourish in a wide range of light conditions. The adaptability and beauty of this plant make it one of my preferred choices for landscapes. Let’s take a look at some of the different varieties now.

hydrangea closeup

The non-hardy hydrangea is an indoor plant that brings loads of beautiful blooms right inside your home. This plant does best in indirect sunlight and usually requires consistent watering. The indoor variety is not as hardy as its outdoor counterparts and will eventually stop blooming. You can then replace it with a different indoor plant or a new hydrangea. This plant is nice for temporary decor or to give as a gift and is truly a beautiful blooming plant. Its outdoor varieties featured below are some of my favorites though, so please take a look!

Endless Summer Hydrangea, LurveysEndless Summer Hydrangea [photo courtesy of Lurveys.com]

Unlike the indoor hydrangea, the hardy hydrangea shrub that can be planted outdoors, is a very versatile, low maintenance plant that is suitable for almost any garden type. The hydrangea comes in a variety of colors and has a variety of bloom types as well. The lacecap hydrangea produces smaller berrylike blooms in the middle of larger flower blooms, giving it a lacy feel. Other hydrangeas come in a variety of shapes and colors and can accomodate almost any color scheme. My personal favorite is the Endless Summer Hydrangea because of its bright blue blooms (pictured below). Its vibrant spring color is hard to beat!

Lacecap Hydrangea, LurveysLacecap Hydrangea [photo courtesy of Lurveys.com]

One of my favorite ways to hide a fence or create a natural border for a garden is with the Climbing Hydrangea. Like most hydrangeas, this vine grows well in shade and full sun. Its versatility and beautiful blooms make it a favorite with many clients looking for a climbing plant.

Climbing Hydrangea, LurveysClimbing Hydrangea [photo courtesy of Lurveys.com]

The Oakleaf Hydrangea is another one of my favorite shrubs because of its versatility and year round interest. Producing the characteristically beautiful hydrangea blooms in the spring, and brick red foliage in the fall, it’s red peeling bark add to this shrub’s year round interest. The Oakleaf Hydrangea is a generally low maintenance shrub which grows well in shade to full sun, making it also a very versatile plant.

Oakleaf Hydrangea, fall, LurveysOakleaf Hydrangea in the fall [photo courtesy of Lurveys.com]

The Pee Wee Hydrangea and Munchkin Hydrangea are smaller versions of the hydrangea shrub that are great for compact gardens. The color choices for these shrubs is not as prolific as with the regular hydrangeas, but they are just as versatile and the blooms are just as beautiful. This is a great choice for a small garden, especially in the city where extra space can sometimes be a rare commodity.

Pee Wee Hydrangea, LurveysPee Wee Hydrangea [photo courtesy of Lurveys.com]

Hydrangeas can also be trained to grow in dwarf tree form, which can be purchased at your local nursery. These dwarf trees have the traditional spire blooms of the hydrangea but have been trained to have a stump and more treelike shape. It’s an untraditional look for the hydrangea that will certainly add unique interest to your landscape.

Hydrangea Tree, LurveysHydrangea Tree [photo courtesy of Lurveys.com]

The variety and versatility of the hydrangea is almost unmatched. Regardless of the light conditions of your yard and the size of your space, the hydrangea is a great choice for almost every landscape!