Lake Forest, Illinois
Before ground was broken for the construction of this Italianate-style home located in Northern Illinois, a full-scale collaborative effort was happening. The design team met with the homeowners, the architect, energy experts and the interior designer to determine how combined efforts would bring a couple’s dream into reality by blending classical design with the native prairie landscape. The result is a picturesque, tranquil and ecologically mindful setting for small and large-scale entertaining that seamlessly transitions from inside to the outdoors.
Working alongside the home’s architect, the landscape architect designed and coordinated the landscape installation around a geothermal energy grid, which greatly reduces the home’s energy costs. The geothermal grid system uses the constant temperature of the earth as an energy source for creating the home’s ambient temperature as opposed to the drastic fluctuations associated with a traditional forced air system.
From the formal entry flanked by custom-built Versailles boxes filled with roses, to the rear of the property with a dining area, vegetable garden, fire pit and wading pool, the landscape is beautiful and creatively functional. A side garden accessed through custom, ornamental wrought iron gates features carefully trimmed boxwoods accented by the season’s pink tulips. A pergola defines an outdoor room to create the perfect setting for dining al fresco. Fresh tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables can be handpicked from an adjacent garden and brought directly to the dining table. Seasoning for a dish is also steps away with a potted herb garden featuring fresh thyme, basil and oregano.
A pond’s shoreline, restored with plants indigenous to the Illinois wetland, creates the perfect backdrop for a gas fire pit at the edge of the limestone patio. Gracefully wrapping around the home’s perimeter, the shoreline features a colorful collection of native plantings. Invasive species from the pond’s peninsula were replaced with native sumac and dogwoods while seeding the sloped areas with no-mow fescue grasses. Through detailed project planning and design, the team’s collaboration across the entire process created a European inspired landscape that is exquisite and mindful of the environment.See Slideshow