Reviving an Historic Landscape in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

lake geneva landscape by Van Zelst with star bed in foreground
An established property in Lake Geneva, with great history and a beautiful site situated between the lake and natural woodland, was a tremendous opportunity for the Van Zelst team. With acres of lawn, hundreds of shrubs and thousands of perennials, it was all ready to be looked at with fresh eyes.

The Van Zelst team of landscape architects, horticulturalists, engineers and stonemasons went to work, ultimately earning a 2009 Gold Award for Residential Construction and a 2010 Gold Award for Residential Maintenance by the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association.

lake geneva wisconsin woodland landscape by van zelstFrom the start, the Van Zelst team made a concerted effort to build on what the family already loved, rather than tearing things out and starting from scratch. The landscape had marvelous potential, which the Van Zelst team brought to life by clearing away invading buckthorn, updating structural and hardscape elements, and cutting a drainage way through the perennial garden.

Mature, native plants were kept wherever possible, masses of colorful perennials were added, hardscape elements were updated and the overall flow of the property was improved by reimagining drives and pathways. For example, a creekbed on the property had grown in volume over the years and effectively divided the garden in two. The Van Zelst team used stone blocks to create a natural-looking bridge. In addition, a waterfall and pond were added to showcase the family’s beloved bronze statue. The result is a cohesive, flowing design that radiates season-long color.

Now, after allowing the new landscape to mature, the current owners have made the property a stop on the Lake Geneva Garden Club House and Garden Cruise. In 2009, more than 700 visitors gave it rave reviews.

Click here for some extraordinary before and after photos.

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