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Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category

Now that spring has arrived, it’s a great time to get a new landscape designed and planted.  With cooler than average spring temperatures, new plantings require much less watering and nursery stock is abundant.

Whether it’s a small city garden or a sprawling suburban landscape, Watercolour Gardens will work closely with you to create a design suited to your lifestyle and needs.  The first consult is free and any budget can be accommodated, with the expertise of an Oxford trained designer.  We offer various levels of service, from lush perennial paintings to complete hardscaping projects, using the best of materials to create a lasting environment.  We offer a full service solution, from concept to completion.

Please visit Watercolour Gardens online or contact us at 1.847.380.2699

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According to The Wall Street Journal, Evanston made their list as one of the most walkable small cities in the US.  Evanston has always been known for it’s fantastic footpaths and exceptional lakefront.  It’s also very easy to get from one end of town to the other by foot, while enjoying the historic architecture and leafy mature trees.  Evanston also has fantastic bike paths and bike lanes, which can take you across town, linking up to various paths in Chicago.  The Fall colour has yet to peak in Evanston, but it’s on the way.  Another reason to take an invigorating long Autumn walk.

To read more from The Wall Street Journal.  Click here.

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Visiting Sissinghurst in England’s Southeast is a step back into several layers of history. The ruins of an Elizabethan summer palace were purchased by the eccentric couple, Vita Sacksville-West and Harold Nicolson. Both having been writers, they rebuilt the remnants of a centuries old pile in their own vision of a romantic past. The gardens were built in the 1930s around architectural remnants consisting of stonewalls, foundations and old terraces. It was a work in progress during their lifetime together. The Bohemian paradise even had a working farm attached to the property, but has long since vanished. Under the supervision of the National Trust, the gardens and home have been polished to facilitate the masses that visit every year.  It’s a euphoric experience to spend the day there, wandering around the various outdoor spaces they planned and implemented.

Mr. Nicolson and his family currently live on the property as part of an agreement in the will of his predecessors, but the grounds are owned and managed by The National Trust.  The current family and The National Trust have somewhat of an interesting relationship.

A few years ago, the BBC aired a series on the daily relationship between Sissinghursts permanent ancestoral residents and the management.  It was fairly entertaining and gave a good look into the operations of a highly toured English historical site.  I’m sure it will broadcast here in the States on PBC in the near future.

The New York Times recently posted an article written by Adam Nicolson.  Adam is an expert author on the history of the property and the lives of his grandparents.

To read more about Sissinghurst and its facinating history, click here.

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This is a project that was designed a couple of years ago.  I’m amazed at how far along the plantings have filled in during year two.  I’m currently working on several similar types of homes in Chicago and several on the North Shore.  It’s been a busy landscape design season, but here are some examples of the type of projects I’ve taken on this year.

If you would like a beautiful landscape designed and planted this summer, contact Watercolour Gardens at 1.847.380.2699 or visit our website for more details.

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Being familiar with the French landscape designer, Patric Blanc, I’ve seen Parisian office buildings covered in swaths of textured and colourful foliage. The garden designs seem to defy the laws of gravity. Not only can a building have grounded gardens, rooftop gardens, but also vertical gardens. Truly remarkable to see.

The concept of vertical gardens, grown on walls has been taken to all new environments. A South American rain forest has been recreated on the New York condo walls of Michael Riley. As a director of the New York Horticultural Society, Mr. Riley has plenty of experience with tropical specimens, but he wasn’t satisfied with traditional pots and containers. He built a complex infrastructure or irrigation, drainage, containment and lighting on the walls of a typical New York flat.  Brilliant!

Thanks to the New York Times, you can read more about this gravity defying indoor garden.

For more about gardens in Chicago, visit Watercolour Gardens.

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On Sunday, May 9th, 2010, the Evanston History Center will present, The 35th Annual Mother’s Day Housewalk. The tour will begin at 12pm and run through the day, ending at 5pm. There will be several historically significant public and private properties to explore.  The weather forecast as of May 5th, shows for a sunny Sunday, with highs in the 50s.  Perfect walking weather.  For more details, call 847 475 3410.  You can also get a more extensive description of the event by visiting, The Evanston History Center.  Enjoy.

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We all know the value of home improvement, but many homeowners overlook one of the most important factors in a homes worth. Landscaping can add significant value to a property. Start with a design that uses logic, to create usable outdoor space. Features are really important in landscape. Ponds, outdoor rooms, sculpture, fountains, terraces, distinctive trees, creative planting and tasteful paving are all important. Quality is a must. Skimping on detail and using cheap materials can actually detract from a homes value. Budget is important to focus on while in the planning stages and not when a project is already underway. It’s not cheap to have a designer landscape but neither is the cost of owning a home. So why not pay for it, enjoy it and see it as a worthy investment.

According to The Boston Globe, just having a landscape can add 12.7% to your property value. A sophisticated and functional garden can tack on 42% more to your home’s value.

Money growing in your garden

Mature plants, spacious patios, and other outdoor features can all add value to your property.

By Elizabeth Gehrman

“Show me your garden . . . and I will tell you what you are like,” wrote the English poet Alfred Austin in 1905. Today, the words might more aptly be “Show me your garden and I will tell you you’ll get more money for your house.” Up to 12.7 percent more, to be exact, according to a 2007 paper by Virginia Tech horticulturalist Alex Niemiera that brought together research from the previous decade. The factor that added most to a home’s value – up to 42 percent – was design sophistication. For more…..

Contact Watercolour Gardens for landscapes designed by an Oxford trained designer. Tel. 847 380 2699.

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