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Why Landscape?

A landscape can provide us more than a setting to our home.

It is important to look at the core reasons why you alter the property surrounding your home to understand how to alter it, to what degree, and in what manner.  
By landscaping around your home, you are bringing nature and it’s elements in close contact, aesthetically, with the architecture of your home, as well as in close contact with your everyday lives. If this is the case, let’s use our property to encourage nature instead of control it.
A well designed landscape will result in “pulling” a homes residents outside to experience the outdoors. A landscape should also increase the living space of your home. Outdoor space should be created just like indoor space. Defining the outdoor “room” is perhaps the most common failure of a landscape. Walls or screening are not considered a detriment to the inside of a home, but are a integral part of defining space and providing privacy. This should be the same in your outdoor spaces.
This leads to how your property functions. “Form follows function”. If you have a wonderful outdoor entertainment space, but it is too great of a distance from your home, the space will simply not be used to its full potential. Drainage issues, vehicular access, human circulation, safety issues, children's requirements, pet’s needs, etc.. must all be considered, as well as dictating the form a landscape assumes.  
A landscape is not simply the planting bed around the perimeter of your home, it is everything you see upon entering your property, from the windows of your home, and from all points of your property. A landscape is designed nature. Working with nature, instead of controlling it, almost always results in less maintenance as well as a more aesthetically pleasing environment for yourself and your home.

Seasonal Change

A landscape can be very dynamic

One of the most important elements of a landscape design is how it reacts to the seasons. In central Illinois we have very dramatic seasonal changes. These changes should enhance your landscape. Architecture remains very static throughout the seasons, but through a correct landscape, that architecture can take on extremely different feelings from one season to the next.


Many of our designs are made up of the following elements that encourage the landscape to evolve through the seasons. Deciduous flowering shrubs and trees provide the spring & early summer color with their flowers, and often dramatic fall color with leaves. Perennials provide the longer impact of color at different intervals through the summer months. Limited evergreen usage, ornamental grasses, and often times fruit, bark, or branching characteristics of some of the deciduous trees and shrubs provide the winter interest.


As a rule of thumb, evergreens, and shrub material with leaf color other than green, provide a very static appearance, and do not appear natural in our landscape here in central Illinois. These elements should be used very sparingly, or not at all. Although often times a massing of evergreen shrubs located strategically in the front of a home provide good structure in the winter months when other elements are providing very little visual impact.


This dramatic seasonal change can be achieved while also providing less maintenance than other types of landscapes that were installed in the past. By encouraging nature, and not working against it, your landscape can become something you enjoy, and not something to slave over.

Maintenance

Minimal maintenance is desired by all
A Low Maintenance landscape is often the first thing mentioned in an initial client meeting, as well as being one of the most important elements driving landscapes installed in the Midwest today. The ‘Green’ industry has moved in this direction for many years, and as a result, plants, products, and services are tailored to encourage these “low maintenance” landscapes. Below are several key elements that greatly impact the maintenance of a landscape.
 
Lawns
Lawns are very high maintenance so its minimal use can reduce maintenance. Just the mowing alone supersedes many other surface options, not considering the spraying, fertilizing, leaf raking, and watering that is involved.
 
Irrigation
These systems can help decrease your high maintenance lawn by keeping the cool season grasses healthy through the dry summer months.
 
Catching Grass
Not only is it more work, but grass clippings are excellent fertilizer. Four fertilizations a year are required to compensate for caught grass.
 
Mulch
Work with nature and allowing some leaves and debris to compost in your beds over winter. Mulch also creates a good growing environment for your plants so they will mass together and fill a bed space as they would in nature.
 
Perennials & Grasses
Many only require removal in the spring months. This is the time of year when we have the first nice days, and actually want to get out in our gardens and enjoy the weather.
 
Pruning
Do not shear shrubs (clipping all branches to equal lengths). Shearing results in a unhealthy plant that may require attention 2-3 times a year to maintain its appearance. Occasionally taking off long shoots and encouraging a natural, full, and healthy appearance to a shrub, will result in much less care, as well as allowing potential for size reduction.
 
Mulching Leaves
Leaves should always be removed from lawn surfaces before winter, but some may remain in mulch beds and definitely woodland areas thorough winter months, resulting in less overall leaf mass to remove.
 
Plant Massing
Mass plants of identical species, and mass perennials and grasses. Instead of one boxwood being planted, multiple plants are planted that will create a “mass” of evergreen foliage, instead of an individual balls. This looks much more natural, and eliminates weed growth and empty ground plane. Perennials should be planted in a manner so they eventually cover the ground in a certain area.
 
These elements are all very important in creating a low maintenance landscape, and a landscape whose maintenance will substantially decrease from the first year of installation.