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    Van Zelst Receives Two Awards


    Van Zelst Receives Two Prestigious
    Landscaping Industry Awards


    April 5, 2010, CHICAGO—As one of the largest and most respected landscape design, installation, and maintenance firms in the Chicago area, Van Zelst, Inc. has achieved industry recognition again this year with two top awards from the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA). The awards emphasize the company’s ability to create stunning environments in sprawling lakefront estates as well as smaller suburban gardens.

    The Illinois Landscape Contractors Association awarded Van Zelst, Inc. the following honors:

    • Gold Award for Residential Maintenance for Lake Geneva residence.
    • Silver Award for Sustainable Landscape Design and Construction for Milburn Residence.

    Through a weekly maintenance program, this large Lake Geneva property is meticulously maintained to ensure the integrity of the design and health of the plantings. Maintaining multiple acres of lawn and a multitude of beds containing hundreds of shrubs, thousands of perennials, annuals and ground cover is a complex undertaking. The situation is further complicated by the need to transition smoothly from cultivated landscape to the adjacent natural woodland.

    Constant monitoring and weekly on-site observations are performed by the site foreman and manager to anticipate and control disease and pests. Integrated pest management is implemented for optimum results.

    Special attention is paid to the pond, with its recirculating waterfall, as it is the main focal point that welcomes visitors to the home. The clear sparkling water reflects the lush plantings, slowing passersby for a closer look before proceeding to the main house.

    The success of the design and maintenance program was demonstrated this year when the owner elected to add her garden to the annual Lake Geneva Garden Club House and Garden Cruise. The landscape garnered rave reviews from more than 700 visitors.

    The Milburn project had a different set of challenges. The owner desired an environmentally friendly landscape, including multi-functional outdoor living spaces set within lush gardens.

    Starting with a virtually blank slate of thin grass, the site was dotted with a number of mature trees that subsequently determined the location and configuration of five outdoor rooms of varying sizes and intended uses: a main entertaining patio, a smaller contemplation patio, a service patio, firepit, and transition space. Consistent materials, such as degenerate granite, were used throughout the site to connect the spaces and create a harmonious whole.

    The rear yard presented the most significant challenge, requiring the delineation of four separate outdoor rooms within a relatively limited space, all while maintaining visual continuity. Elevating the main entertaining patio and creating separation with plant material successfully achieved this goal. For ease of maintenance and sustainability, lawn areas were significantly reduced and plants were selected for drought tolerance. Special care was taken to preserve a mature quaking aspen that is nearing the end of its lifespan. Now the focal point of the rear property line, the tree’s sparse foliage gives its branching structure a sculptural quality.

    The design’s sustainability is demonstrated by the fact that no supplemental watering is needed to maintain its lush appearance.

    Founded in 1979, Van Zelst, Inc. is an award-winning landscape design, installation and maintenance firm headquartered in Wadsworth, Illinois. The Van Zelst team of landscape architects, designers, masons and field crews develop and install customized, client-focused designs that enhance and beautify the surroundings.

    For more information, please call 847.623.3850 or visit


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