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    Kenilworth, IL Residential Landscape Architects & Contractors

    Ready to schedule an appointment for a landscape consultation?

    Many of us regularly redecorate our home’s interior, updating finishes and adding features to maximize our enjoyment. But when was the last time you took a critical look at your outdoor space? If it’s been years since you thought about your landscape, there’s no better time than the present to consider an exterior makeover — and the expert landscape architects at Van Zelst can help. For more than four decades, we’ve helped homeowners in Kenilworth to make the most of their outdoor spaces, and we can help you too.

    An Outdoor Space Built for the Whole Family

    Like many families, this Kenilworth client found their family’s needs evolving as their children transformed seemingly overnight from toddlers into teenagers. Mom and Dad wanted to give their kids more independence by maximizing their outdoor space, creating areas where the kids and their friends could enjoy themselves while still being safe at home.

    The client contacted Van Zelst, and our professional landscape architects worked hand-in-hand with the family to transform their previous backyard — a large space with a pool area — into a place that every teenager dreams of, complete with a standalone pool house, fire pit, and spa. With multiple connected yet separate activity areas, the family’s teens and their friends can enjoy the outdoor space at the same time as the parents without anyone feeling crowded.

    stacked stone fire pit

    One of the homeowners’ favorite spaces in their new backyard is this cozy fire pit surrounded by comfy Adirondack chairs. The stacked flagstone firepit is 42” wide, which fits with the scale of the space but also allows for conversations to easily continue. The firepit’s 16” wide bluestone coping offers the family additional seating without anyone getting too close to the flame.

    The fire pit has allowed the clients to enjoy their outdoor living space even on chilly evenings in the spring or fall. Whether the parents are entertaining neighbors with a bottle of wine on a crisp September evening or the teenagers are taking selfies while making S’mores, the fire pit serves as the perfect place to get together with friends.

    stacked stone spa in kenilworth il

    The homeowners already had a pool, and they engaged Van Zelst to ensure that the outdoor elements they added complemented their home’s exterior and their existing hardscape. Van Zelst used the same flagstone featured on the pool deck to build the walls of the spa, making it look like it had always been a part of the pool area. The same bluestone coping seen in other areas of the yard — along the pool edge and atop the fire pit — is used atop the spa edge, creating a comfortable place to sit that won’t damage bathing suit fabric.

    Container plantings allow the homeowners to enjoy pops of seasonal color. And mature trees, shrubs, and other landscaping provide a natural privacy barrier without the need for additional hardscape elements.


    Who doesn’t love the feel of lush grass underneath bare feet? Van Zelst ensured that this Kenilworth home maintained a great mix of both lush landscaping and thoughtfully-placed hardscape elements, including the pool deck, walkways, and strategically-placed bluestone pavers. 

    The finished product is a backyard area that features the perfect combination of green space and “clean” space, allowing the family and their teenagers to enjoy the beauty of their outdoor space without inadvertently tracking grass or debris into the pristine pool.


    Understanding that their new backyard area would be a huge draw for friends and family, Van Zelst recommended creating multiple distinct areas so that many different groups could socialize at the same time, enjoying the space together while still feeling like they had an area to themselves. The fire pit is just far away enough from the table and chairs on the pool deck that mom and dad can have a private conversation while the kids enjoy time playing in the pool.

    Van Zelst also designed the standalone pool house, which complements the main home’s look and feel and offers a great place to grab a snack, take a break from the sun, or simply use the restroom without tracking wet feet into the main home.


    The homeowners wanted a more formal yet still welcoming feel for their front yard, and Van Zelst delivered. Opting for a cooler color palette of pinks, lilacs, and blues creates a sense of understated elegance. Van Zelst added plants of varying heights and textures to add to the space’s visual interest. Lush green groundcover plants create a natural border between the flowerbeds and the front yard, creating organic shapes without the need for additional hardscape elements.

    Kinilworth concrete paver driveway

    Mature trees flank either side of this Kenilworth home’s driveway, guiding the homeowners toward their garage entry. Van Zelst created a driveway that features both clay and tumbled concrete pavers which complement the home’s exterior and existing hardscape elements. The driveway materials also complement the neighborhood’s existing sidewalks, making them look like an intentional part of the landscape design rather than an element that had to be designed around.


    One of the best ways to keep a backyard area feeling warm and welcoming is the liberal use of flowering plants. Here, Van Zelst chose low-to-the-ground plants with pink blooms to soften the clean lines of the pool and spa decks. Standalone planters serve as the perfect spot to add plants of different shapes and textures, and the ceramic dog with a flowering basket offers a whimsical opportunity for yet another kind of seasonal plant.


    The clients realized that if they weren’t careful with their landscaping, their home’s front exterior could end up feeling almost too formal or sterile — not the “vibe” the family wanted to send neighbors and friends. Van Zelst helped them achieve the perfect combination of “buttoned up” with “welcoming” by adding curves and organic lines to the landscape and hardscape. The curved lines in the stone walkway draw the eye toward the home’s entryway. The irregularly shaped but still symmetric flowerbeds feel simultaneously stately yet accessible, creating an inviting first look.

    Ensure your Kenilworth Landscape Fits Your Family’s Changing Needs

    If your family is like many, your needs have changed over the years. Are you making the most of your outdoor space, or are you “making do” with a backyard area that no longer suits your lifestyle? 

    The professional landscape architects at Van Zelst are here to help transform your Kenilworth landscape into an outdoor space that will serve you and your family for years to come. Contact us today by phone or email — we’ll schedule a consultation with our landscape design experts to learn more about your needs and your preferences and then we’ll work with you to craft and execute on a custom landscape design plan.

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