This Winnetka home's formal garden, modeled on a French parterre design, incorporates a variety of classic features, including bluestone patios and walkways, low boxwood hedges outlining grass, plantings and hardscape, and the restrained use of classically inspired garden sculpture.
As the owners recognized, the geometric lines of a formal garden require careful attention to detail to keep the landscape looking its best. This is where Van Zelst's Winnetka landscaping experience took over.
Shaping the long runs of boxwood requires attention throughout the season, as new growth emerges and softens the strict lines of the hedge. Grassy areas must be kept lush and mown to the proper heights throughout the warmer months. And the edges between groundcover, planting beds and stonework become easily obscured and overgrown if not redefined on a regular basis.
In addition, there are those week-to-week tasks that come with any landscape, and are not specific to the formal garden. These include monitoring for pests and disease, providing appropriate nutrients and making sure plants are receiving the right amounts of water. Flowers are deadheaded and separated, beds are cleaned up, and annual plantings are updated as the seasons change.
Professional maintenance also ensures that this property's extensive hardscape and special features remain in superior condition. The mechanical systems serving water features receive special attention in spring and fall to prepare them for the months ahead, but they are also kept clean and debris-free throughout the summer to ensure that they continue working properly.
Stonework is monitored for loose stones or breaks, so issues can be repaired before they pose a risk to the family or their guests. The decomposed granite used throughout the parking surface and walkways is leveled and replenished as needed throughout the year.
Weekly visits, with tasks tailored to this landscape's specific needs, keep this formal garden ready for the ongoing enjoyment of family and friends.