Residential PORTFOLIO:

A Rural French Country Estate

A Rural French Country Estate

ILASLA Merit Award Winner — Residential Design

Four acres of overgrown and damaged property were transformed into a rural French country estate surrounding a Normandy-style chateau in Lake Forest. Landscape architect John Mariani saw the unusual possibilities of the property, gave guidance to the architect on placing the home, and created a landscape with formal European design elements, an apple orchard, a winding driveway and naturalistic plantings.

The re-creation of the apple orchard was the result of rescuing 16 perfect 35-year-old apple trees from a nearby and soon-to-be-demolished farm. The orchard is underplanted with tall fescue creating a natural country look while hiding any fallen apples.

In front of this beautiful home is a lannonstone cobble motor court surrounded by tightly trimmed yew hedges. The grading and drainage system of the motor court was designed to hide the inlets and move water efficiently away from the home. An alcove area near the front door became a small formal garden room providing a beautiful view from the owners’ office. There are garden walls, boxwood parterres, two intersecting gravel paths and a sundial.

At the rear of the house is an elegant diagonally patterned stone terrace with bluestone inlays. The yellow limestone, mined in Minnesota, was selected to complement the stucco of the home. A low seat wall surrounds the terrace and is the foreground to an annual planting of fennel, which transitions the formal terrace into the backyard meadow. John Mariani was also the project manager and created a semi-circular lawn terrace for overflow entertaining space. Inviting mulch pathways wander through the meadow and surrounding woodland.

This exquisite residence is a showcase of European design which unifies the home and grounds by incorporating the architecture into the landscape and is more casually enjoyed each day by the owners.

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