Wilmette, IL Residential Landscape Architects & Contractors

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If you’re a Wilmette homeowner seeking landscape designers capable of creating truly unique outdoor living spaces, count on Van Zelst. For nearly 40 years, we’ve worked with clients in Wilmette and throughout Chicago's North Shore to transform ordinary landscapes into extraordinary places to relax and unwind, spend time entertaining friends and family and enjoy for years to come.

Our experienced landscape architects and designers are ready to help you through every step of the process, from start to finish. Regardless of whether you already have a vision in mind or see a blank canvas when you look at your existing landscape, we’ll work directly with you to explore and discover your specific tastes, preferences, needs and lifestyle. After getting to know you better, we’ll create a custom landscape plan that takes into account your particular lot, any existing features you want to keep or highlight and any challenges we need to overcome, as well as considering ease of maintenance throughout the seasons and into the future. We’ll work to ensure the plan perfectly meets your vision, then will get our installation team to bring it to life

Stonework and Pops of Color Add Interest to a Wilmette Landscape

Adding stonework to any garden area automatically creates a sense of richness—and depending on the color of the stones chosen, can add a beautiful contrast to colors in the garden environment. In one recent project completed for a Wilmette homeowner, Van Zelst used stone in a variety of different ways, to create a consistent look throughout the garden that complemented the exterior of the home without competing with it for attention.

patio with umbrella and pots overflowing with flowers

Bluestone pavers in the patio area created a solid, slip-proof foundation for a dining table and chairs as well as a conversation area, while fieldstone and bluestone pavers were combined to build a knee-high wall, creating a visual boundary between the patio area and the rest of the garden. Containers filled with seasonal plants brought welcome pops of color to the patio area which could be easily changed out with new plants as the seasons and the weather shifted.

stacked stone seat wall capped with bluestone and surrounded by lush perennial beds

Outside the perimeter of the stone wall, closely trimmed lush grass lead to densely packed flowerbeds; Van Zelst’s landscaped designers helped these Wilmette clients to choose plantings of different heights, colors and textures to create a natural, almost wild feel for this area, allowing its beauty to shine in stark contrast to the neatly-manicured grass. Young and mature trees shared the garden space, both looking equally at home among the flowers and bedding plants.

granite millstone fountain with Mexican blue pebbles and large bed of impatiens

The clients wanted to add a water feature to their garden and decided on a unique granite millstone fountain as their centerpiece. Van Zelst’s team installed the fountain using smooth river rock at its base not only for looks but for optimal drainage. We surrounded the fountain with hearty pachysandra and colorful impatiens, both ground-level plants that highlighted the fountain’s allure without growing so tall as to obscure it.

bluestone walkway surrounded by push beds of annual flowers

Echoing the bluestone pavers used on the patio and in other areas of the garden, Van Zelst’s team used pavers to create natural-bordered walkways and pathways. By using variegated pavers with a random pattern, the team was able to ensure that the final effect was welcoming and “easy” versus creating a more “formal” feeling with solid-colored pavers and a set pattern.

Flowerbeds on either side of the pathway created visual interest, and the white bench provided a comfortable place for a quick chat with a neighbor or a quiet place to enjoy the view. And lighting along the pathway made it easy for family and guests alike to safely make their way to the door, even as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer.

A Garden Made in the Shade in Wilmette

If there’s one thing the Van Zelst landscape design team loves, it’s a challenge. So when a pair of Wilmette homeowners challenged us to create a beautiful garden in their “shade plentiful” yard, our team was more than excited at the prospect.

shade garden with birdbath in the foreground

Right from the beginning, the Van Zelst team knew that hostas would be a big part of this Wilmette landscape; while all hostas need some sun, many varieties of hosta are extremely shade tolerant and perfect for environments like this homeowner’s, which gets sun early in the morning and then is shady throughout the afternoon. To take advantage of the different leaf and flower colors and textures, we planted several different varieties of hostas. We also added a birdbath for a low-maintenance pop of visual interest.

two black iron chairs in shaded patio garden

The homeowners wanted to have a seating area behind the home, but didn’t want a fully-paved patio area. Van Zelst recommended using natural stones embedded within the grass to create a “sense” of flooring for their shady area; leaving space between the stones allowed for proper drainage while keeping the rustic feeling. Strategically-placed lighting ensured that family and guests would be able to enjoy the area during the day and well into the evening.

stone paver driveway with purple flowers in the foreground

The Van Zelst team also installed a stone paver driveway, providing the family with easy, attractive access to their garage, as well as ample room for guests to park near the home. Shade-resistant Illinois wildflowers in shades of lilac added beauty to an often-overlooked area of the yard, while strategically-planted trees create a natural privacy fence. And ivy that has been trained to grow up the home’s facade gave it a romantic, cottage feel.

orange lilys mixed with white hydrangea

Van Zelst’s landscape designers filled this flowerbed with a dense mix of white hydrangeas interspersed with lilies in bold oranges, pinks and yellows. The round shape of the hydrangeas and the stark white of the hydrangea flowers served to amplify the more angular shapes of the lilies and the bright, almost whimsical colors of their flowers. Even the contrasting leaf shapes created visual intrigue and interest while providing a rich green pallette.

flagstone walkway and flagstone steps

Van Zelst installed a set of broad steps along the walkway to the door of the home, creating a welcoming entryway. The steps served to establish the lines of the planting beds without the need for additional hardscape elements. And our designers chose shade-tolerant groundcover plants as a way to add subtle color and texture to the landscape.

Contact Your Wilmette Landscape Architect

Is your Wilmette landscape everything you dreamed it would be? If your answer is no, you should get in touch with Van Zelst today. Our landscape architects have the real-world experience necessary to help you brainstorm ideas, then create a landscape plan that works for the way you live. Contact us today to schedule a time to tell us more about your landscape needs and learn more about how we can help.

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