Lake Geneva, WI Residential Landscape Architects & Contractors

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Let Van Zelst help. For almost 40 years, we’ve helped homeowners in Lake Geneva and throughout the North Shore to spend more time enjoying their yards and less time worrying about them. How? Our experienced landscape architects and designers can help you with anything you need, from designing your dream landscape to handling your ongoing outdoor maintenance tasks and more.

Bringing Fresh Eyes to a Lake Geneva Landscape

The owners of this historic home wanted their landscape—one which featured thousands of perennials and hundreds of shrubs on acres of lawn located between the lake and the mature trees of the natural forest—to have the benefit of a fresh set of eyes. They called upon the expert landscape architects and designers at Van Zelst to help bring new life to their home’s existing landscape.

Appreciating the challenge, Van Zelst’s team of landscape architects, engineers, horticulturalists and stonemasons worked hand-in-hand with the client to develop and execute on a design plan that made the most of the landscape’s potential by combining mature existing landscape elements with updated hardscapes and new plantings that added visual interest.

One of the major changes Van Zelst suggested was to add a variety of plantings with different colors, textures and heights to flank either side of the drive as a way to create a beautiful and eye-catching welcome for the homeowners and guests alike. The previous bed lines, which were straight and filled groundcover plants, have been replaced with lush flower beds that follow the curves of the drive. The addition of natural stone to the beds adds yet another element of visual interest, tying in with the natural stone seen elsewhere on the property and offering a sense of contrast in color and texture between the warm hues of the plantings and the cooler tones of the rock.

Close to the creek, planting beds had been nearly taken over by groundcover plants with only naturalized ferns and hostas remaining. Rather than suggesting a redesign that removed these plants completely, the Van Zelst team instead augmented the abundant garden with shade-loving perennials and annuals, making sure to choose flowers and plantings that would bring a variety of different flower and foliage shapes, sizes and textures into the area to maximize visual impact and appeal. By adding more diversity, the team was able to build on what the family already loved, optimizing an established garden area and improving it.

The homeowners were especially interested in transforming the planting bed closest to the home from an underutilized area into a true showpiece and a welcoming focal point. Working with the Van Zelst team of designers and architects, they chose to create a pond and stone waterfall feature surrounded by a collection of trees, shrubs and annual and perennial plantings. The figure pouring water from his bucket atop the rocks makes the outdoor artwork complete and completely unique; sculpted from a photograph of the homeowner as a child, the one-of-a-kind bronze piece adds a touch of whimsy and nostalgia to a now beloved area of the home.

Additionally, Van Zelst worked with the homeowner and the engineering team to ensure that the pond’s low point at the property location wouldn’t cause drainage issues; though challenging, the team installed French drains to catch water flowing from the house, drive and lawns and to prevent any overflow from occurring.

Another of the challenges the homeowners had on their unique property was a creekbed that ran through it. Over time, the creekbed had grown in volume until it effectively divided the garden in two, causing the homeowners great concern about the best way to “recombine” their split property. Van Zelst architects suggested bringing in more stones to one area of the creekbed to create a stone pathway, mirroring the stones found in the creek bed and creating a stronger sense of purpose for a particular area.

In another area of the creek bed garden, the two sides of the property are brought together via a quaint white bridge surrounded by vibrant annuals and perennials in hues of orange, red and lavender. With a flagstone pathway nearby and the gentle sounds of the creek running below, the Van Zelst team designed the bridge to be a lovely spot to enjoy a contemplative moment or gaze out upon the birds and butterflies visiting the flowers nearby.

Incorporating a variety of colors, textures and heights, generous plantings and natural stone add visual interest beneath the trees. The winding entry drive is now a beautiful welcome for the homeowners and arriving guests.
Before renovation, the beds near the creek were overrun by ground cover and accompanied by only hostas and naturalized ferns. These plants remained in the redesign, but were augmented by more variety.
As the first planting bed seen upon approaching the home, it needed to be transformed into a more welcoming focal point. A pond and water feature accompanied by trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals were designed for this space.
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Closer to the home, a pond and waterfall showcase the family’s beloved bronze statue. Surrounded by shrubs and perennials, the outdoor art personalizes the landscape and makes it fully unique. The bronze figure was sculpted from a photograph of the homeowner as a child. Water pours from his bucket onto the stone and into the pond. Due to its location at the property’s low point, pond drainage presented a challenge. French drains were installed to catch water flowing from the house, drive and lawns to prevent overflow.

Setting the Scene for a Large Estate in Lake Geneva

Another Lake Geneva homeowner wanted Van Zelst to help their family update their 1930s estate’s landscape, much of which was original to the home. One of the biggest challenges Van Zelst landscape architects faced here was ensuring that the scale was correct; for an estate of this massive size, all of the landscape and hardscape elements must be balanced correctly, lest they look out of scale or out of scope in relation to the home itself.

Van Zelst started with the home’s entry, installing wrought iron fencing with stone piers, but softening the entire look with beds of colorful perennials. Flowers closest to the fence height mirror the iron fence posts but with delicate edges, providing an overall feeling of welcome. The luxuriant green lawn—expertly manicured to a perfect edge along the tumbled-paver drive—sets the tone for what to expect for the rest of the landscape; nothing less than perfection.

The tumbled pavers and lush, expertly manicured lawn give the home’s driveway a parkway feel, and continue to the home’s entrance. The curves of this area give it a more open, relaxed feel while the statuary and urns that adorn the front of the home provide a sense of the enhanced formality within. Mature landscaping and tasteful plantings are attractive without competing for attention, and the outdoor lighting choices suggested by the Van Zelst team will help the homeowners and guests alike to navigate steps safely and easily during early morning and evening hours.

God of the Sea and protector of all of waters, Poseidon also reigns over the magnificent water feature seen in this Lake Geneva home. To help refresh this beautiful work of art, Van Zelst recommended planting a series of annuals and perennials to provide glorious layers of color and shape to the existing water feature. Additionally, Van Zelst recommended and built a custom cedar bridge to help guide visitors toward the waterfall, where they can catch a better glimpse of the Greek surveying his domain.

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Make Time Today for Your Lake Geneva Landscape Architect

Today is a great day to get started with your Van Zelst landscape architect. With your ideas and our guidance, we can work together to transform your existing landscape into the kind of outdoor space you’ve only dreamed of having. Call or email us today to discuss your landscape needs and learn more about how we can help.

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