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Simple, Beautiful, Low-Maintenance
As a young boy, the homeowner loved to play in the woods and find plants to bring home to use in
creating his own garden. Fast forward to adulthood, and that love of nature became his career as a
landscape designer.
For his clients, he brings new ideas and ensures their landscaping is horticulturally correct. For his
own garden, he wants a classic approach, incorporating structure, simplicity and low maintenance.
For example, his garden design incorporates irrigation, even into the pots and window boxes! If he
spends more than 30 minutes a week tending to things in the yard, it would be unusual.
The homeowner has lived in the house for 4.5 years, completely renovating the yard, with the
exception of several large trees on the west side of the property. The yard is planned to look good all
the time. He loves annuals and uses them to add color and pop throughout the property. The design
incorporated the need for doing a lot of entertaining, from formal dinner parties to informal
The front of the house has tons of curb appeal and is a very public, neighborly space. The garden
design goes to the edges of the property lines, allowing for maximal use of the lot. An open lawn on
the side yard is a great space for kids to play on or where guests can mingle. Design elements
differentiate the house from others in their neighborhood, in their case a white house with a black
picket fence.
(Fun fact- this 1950’s home originally had a pink slate roof! Notice the stone on the west side of the
home and you will see the pink and orange colorations that were once highlighted.)
As you move from the front to the back of the home, you will encounter a private and striking
entertaining area. This is an extension of the home and an area for both gathering and relaxing.
Panels and a water feature create a striking, wall- like backdrop, without overwhelming the space.
You’ll find two large urns the homeowners bought in Saugatuck that have traveled with them to three
different homes over the last 20 years.
The homeowner likes trees that look good when enhanced with outdoor lighting. A newer plant that
he loves is Nepeta Calamintha Montrose white. It provides color from late summer to frost – and
pollinators love it. These plants line one of the patio beds and won’t yet be in bloom, but you can
appreciate their clump- forming nature.
Enjoy this classic, structured, low maintenance property that brings together great design and
consistent use of planting materials and hardscape elements. You will feel the flow of the design as
you walk through this lovely and livable landscape.

Lush and Lovely
Visitors will take a sentimental journey as they meander through this calming and colorful
garden. It’s infused with warmth and a welcoming spirit – from its lush plantings in the front yard
to an inviting pathway that leads to the back – and it is marked by coral bells, stepping stones
and clever planting patterns to guide the way.
While this garden is mature today, it was a blank canvas when the homeowner moved into her
home in 2019 and started to establish her plantings and beds. She has long been an
enthusiastic gardener, having taken a number of classes at the Chicago Botanic Garden
including garden design and plant materials.
The owner’s gardening philosophy is to ensure that something is blooming all the time. She
suggests that budding gardeners seek inspiration by visiting garden centers throughout the year
to see what’s in season.
The backyard carries deep personal meaning for the homeowner. Awash in pinks, purples and
red accents, it is divided into garden “rooms” with several seating areas. She created a memory
garden in one corner of the yard in honor of her mother, with a climbing hydrangea, daisies, a
peony corner and a “thinking angel” statue. A vegetable garden is now taking root to
commemorate the homeowner’s father and their family’s tradition of planting vegetables.
Plaques recognizing her mom and dad can be found in both gardens. The owner loves to sit in
the yard every morning to have her coffee.
A wide variety of eye-catching flowers, shrubs and trees are pleasantly sprinkled throughout the
garden, including Japanese maples, weigela, tree hydrangea, European viburnum, ornamental
poppies, irises with variegated blooms in purple and white, and a lupine – just to name a few.
Dragonflies, hand blown glass balls, found objects and other statuary add whimsy and further
visual interest as you wander through this garden.
Before you leave, take notice of the abundance of birdhouses in the backyard, underscoring that
this garden is truly a welcome oasis for all who enter.

An Inviting Four-Square Garden
With a keen eye for detail and a background in interior design, the homeowner makes
spectacular use of her corner lot in a charming yard that pays homage to the traditional English
garden and the flora of Charleston, South Carolina.
This well-established garden has been evolving since the homeowner began working on it in
1996. She calls her garden “a breath of fresh air,” and views it as an extension of her living
space, with interesting elements to surprise and delight at every turn.
A white fence wraps around the north side of the property, surrounding all this yard has to
discover. Walk under an arbor and follow the path to this home’s centerpiece: A four-square
The four-square garden is lined with boxwood, which are sculpted and low to the ground for
easy access to the shrubs and flowers planted in each of its quadrants. Architectural elements
further embellish the four-square garden: At its entry, a set of antique keys hangs from the
garden gate. At its center, a decorative wire frame sits upon an antique hog feeder, now
overflowing with begonias.
And at the back, a set of iron gates and a pergola create a lovely backdrop.
Flowering trees and shrubs dot the yard. Near the four-square garden are a new Rose of
Sharon, as well as Prairie Fire trees that offer vibrant, raspberry pink blooms in the spring. The
south side yard boasts an American Fringe tree from South Carolina, which gives off a light,
fresh scent from its tight clusters of delicate white petals and is set off by Blue Angel Hostas.
Near the front porch are a Korean Lilac with a beautiful aroma and a Jane Magnolia that has
been known to bloom more than once a year.
Enjoy the stone cherubs, rabbits, frogs and fountains throughout the yard – many of
which the homeowner has found at flea markets and salvage companies – as well as
the many benches that invite you to sit, relax, and take in this garden from its many

A Low-Maintenance Garden Where Perennials Shine
“If you plant in the right place, things will grow.” That’s the philosophy guiding these
homeowners, who have cultivated their perennial garden since 2012 after rebuilding their home
on this property. They’ve experimented to find the perfect spots in their garden where each
perennial can flourish year after year.
As one of the homeowners has a busy travel schedule, the garden is low maintenance by
design – with reliable, long-blooming flowers and shrubs, as well as regular deadheading to
control spreaders.
The homeowners generously share their love of gardening with others – having helped many
neighbors establish and maintain their own gardens – and they are always willing to divide and
share their plants as part of keeping their perennials in check.
The yard offers a blend of sun and shade, and the homeowners ensure that even the shade
lovers offer a pop of bright color. Among the perennials in this garden are coreopsis, echinacea
(coneflowers), astilbe, peonies, hyacinth, bluebells, several varieties of heuchera (coral bells)
and three patches of black-eyed Susans – the state flower of Maryland, where one of the
homeowners grew up.
Several plantings have thrived in this yard despite the passage of time: Two birch trees in the
center of the backyard now stretch for the light, after having long been shaded under elm trees
that had to be removed due to Dutch elm disease. Also, notice the 60-year-old antique rose
tucked along the fence on the south side of the garden.
The low-maintenance nature of this garden frees up the homeowners for outdoor entertaining.
One of the focal points is a dramatic waterfall that spills into a babbling river and surrounds a
gathering space and firepit. It is adorned with moss, water-loving plants and natural rocks and
boulders. A stone sitwall lines a raised bed, allowing for more informal seating, and several
paths throughout the garden are formed by reclaimed pavers and stones.
Finally, keep count when you visit this garden! There are 39 different clematis, which climb up
the trellises and iron structures that the homeowners have collected over the years at the
Garden Walk’s Unique Boutique.

An Established Yet Ever Evolving Garden
This garden has been lovingly tended by the homeowners for 25 years, yet it seems fresh and
new. Chalk this up to the owner’s interest in continuing education based on her evolving
Like many gardeners, the homeowner got started small, being attracted to the lovely color and
presentation of a grouping of Impatiens at a friend’s home. That became a love of annuals and
color. From there, an interest in perennial flowers grew, lessening the labor required each year.
The homeowner decided to pursue the Master Gardener’s Certification through the Chicago
Botanic Garden. More recently, hikes through the woods provided inspiration, and the spring
ephemerals, woodland and prairie plants became the newest muse. This inspired her to obtain
her Master Naturalist certification, and native plants are now taking hold throughout the
property. Note the woodland garden along the north side of the home with many natives and
This yard is planted based on what the owner loves and finds interesting or beneficial. It has
color and interest in every season- the more color the better, even! You can’t miss the striking
water feature, which came about after the discovery of a cistern from a former home that was at
the back of the property once upon a time.
The owner is adding native trees in select spots, which will change the sun and shade
landscape over time. A unique lime green smoke bush by the driveway and a serviceberry tree
on the south side of the property are some new favorites. The serviceberry attracts birds and
has vibrant fall color. Mature oaks line the parkway. Vegetable beds are a new addition this year,
along with the installation of a cutting garden behind the waterfall that is replacing some
ornamental grasses that were just removed. Come back in a few years and things may look
very different.

Faith, Family, and Native Flowers
Many hands make light work. That’s the foundation of the community garden on stunning
display at this Church. The all-volunteer Green Team and Landscape Team collaborate to
maintain the pollinator habitat located behind the church, in a garden that provides a respite for
people and a safe haven for the butterflies and bees who stop by.
The pollinator garden is comprised entirely of plants and flowers native to Illinois, with a focus
on attracting pollinators. The habitat received the Conservation@Home certification from a
partnership of Cook County Forest Preserves and University of Illinois Extension, which
recognizes environmentally friendly yards for their water and soil conservation practices and for
the protection of native plants and wildlife. The garden was dedicated in 2021. The garden
features more than 30 native plants, such as shooting stars, golden alexander, echinacea
(coneflowers), bee balm, coreopsis and black-eyed susan. Plant markers let visitors know
exactly what they’re looking at as they prominently feature both the common and Latin names.
Grab your cameras to take a photo of your favorite plant and its label – you just might discover a
wildflower to add to a pollinator garden of your own.
Beyond the plantings in the pollinator garden, visitors will see bee houses, a Little Free Library,
a resting bench for meditation and reflection and, thanks to an Eagle Scout project, a solar-
powered fountain as the centerpiece of the garden.
In addition to the pollinator garden, a perennial garden lines the front of the church to create a
welcoming exterior for those who visit for worship and fellowship. The garden is teeming with
reliable perennials such as hostas, ferns, allium, penstemon and phlox – all maintained by
church volunteers. Vegetable beds are normally on display, maintained by the youth of the
church community, but they are on pause this summer due to forthcoming construction.
Finally, as you make your way back to your car, take note of the parking lot beds, such as an
herb garden with chives, basil, lavender, lovage and three types of mint for the community to
enjoy. These areas have been adopted by families who plant and maintain them – yet another
example of the many hands and hearts that nourish the church gardens all year long.

2024 Garden Walk Gardens

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