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    Landscape for Backyard Entertaining in Wadsworth

    Ready to Design Your Own Wadsworth, Illinois Landscape?

    The Before

    A vast, sloping expanse of grass defined the home's landscape, and left the home feeling imposing and stark. Like a blank canvas, there wasn't much to retain beyond a few mature trees flanking the sides of the home.

    The homeowner reached out to Van Zelst to transform the property, creating an inviting first impression for guests and turning the side and rear gardens into a haven for entertaining.

    Front entry of the property in Wadsworth before any work began
    Rear yard before any grading

    Finding Balance in Scale and Symmetry

    The front garden and entry were redesigned with a formal, linear layout that complements the symmetry of the Colonial home. The owner also added shutters and a door in a new color, giving the front elevation a tremendous lift.

    New brick walkways intersect at a fountain surrounded by bluestone and tumbled concrete pavers, moving the focal point forward into the spectacular yard. More generous brick steps, capped with bluestone, better complement the scale of the home. Once the hardscape grid was complete, it became a framework for lush shrubs and perennials in a simple pink-and-red palette.

    To keep the landscape from feeling too formal, however, rough-hewn outcropping stone steps lead past a shaded concrete fountain on one side. A casual, exploded flagstone footpath takes guests around to the rear of the property.

    Reimagining the Back Garden

    The property sloped away from the house in a way that made it difficult to enjoy. To remedy this, the Van Zelst team created a gradual, stepped design, then worked with the Village of Wadsworth to secure the proper permits and adhere to the requirements for regrading this wetland property.

    A tremendous amount of soil was removed to create flat, usable surfaces and a new pool, while tons of natural boulders were brought in to retain the tiers that build up toward the house. Giant slabs of outcropping stone were carefully placed to create steps from the home to the pool deck.

    Plantings Complete the Picture

    A black-bottom pool has a dramatic, unexpected affect on the landscape, while the brick pool deck brings in the shape, color and texture of the front garden. Gathering spaces are marked out in stone, to make spaces feel more intimate and contained. However, with the exception of the pool deck, the back and side gardens are designed to be much more informal than the strict lines of the front garden.

    Natural stone, sedum peeking out between bluestone stepping stones, easy drifts of shrubs and perennials, and containers overflowing with life and color—it all adds up to a friendly, welcoming scene in which to relax with friends and family.


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