Residential PORTFOLIO:

A Sophisticated Haven in Lake Forest

A Tudor-style home in Lake Forest originally built in the 1980s now features a Mariani-designed and installed backyard, courtyard and pool area. The new design complements the home’s elegant architecture with a palette of formal and informal elements to create a unique outdoor experience.

The clients asked Mariani to renovate the entire site so the backyard could host large parties and accommodate tents, create a terrace off the pool house and build a terrace opening up to a formal lawn. “The clients insisted that the courtyard and pool area had to be private,” says landscape architect John Mariani. “The courtyard area is completely walled in and you cannot see it from anywhere except from inside the house.”

The pool and deck areas are the focal points of the courtyard. Standing above the pool, a zero edge creates the illusion that water is disappearing. Standing below on the lower terrace, the infinity edge creates a wall of water. “The complexion of the pool changes from every angle and if you catch it at the right time of day, it looks like a sheet of glass.” Diamond pattern stone details surrounding the pool are made from materials such as variegated Indiana limestone to create a subtle, elegant color combination and a surface that stays cool in summer.

Just below the pool area, an outdoor room with a fireplace creates the ideal space for entertaining. A pergola made of a high-grade cedar covers the adjacent dining area for an intimate entertaining space. Custom seasonal containers give the client an ever-changing space and allow the ability to adorn the terrace with unique plantings.

With a more formal plant palette closer to the home, including columnar red maple, boxwood hedges and dwarf flowering crab apples, the back border of the property includes a less formal plant palette to complement the natural grassland. The property’s perimeter is bordered with native plants such as prairie dock, purple coneflower, blazing stars, woodland sunflower and asters.

“Originally, the property looked like a typical builder’s landscape with tired, overgrown plants and no rhyme or reason for design,” says Mariani. “The homeowners are very happy with the results because we considered the home’s architecture and have an unmatched attention to detail when it comes to landscape design and installation.”

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