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Now that the ground has thawed, it’s a great time to start planting shrubs & trees. The roots tend to take well in the cool wet conditions. Spring is a short season in Chicago, so the sooner the better. Less water is required than in summer planting, in turn costing a homeowner less to start a new landscape.

Regardless of when anything is planted, mulch is essential. Mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil and discourages weeds from growing. Make sure to use a natural dark mulch like, shredded hardwood.  It looks great and improves the soil as it breaks down.  For more about landscaping ideas, visit Watercolour Gardens.

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Landscape design has become more important, as property owners look to expand usable living space.  The term “outdoor room” has been floating around for years. Again in America, sophisticated utilitarian gardens have become fashionable.  No longer is a homeowner limited to a traditional deck and lawn in their garden. Adding additional terraces and three season outdoor rooms, has become a logical way to extend square footage to a home.

Sherry Thomas of North Shore Magazine recently wrote, an excellent article about the European outdoor room philosophy, which has been revived.

From European-style swimming pools to sultry outdoor living rooms, North Shore residents are finding more ways than ever to turn their homes inside out.

When Susan Forney first saw her sprawling estate home in Northfield, she fell in love with its Old World elegance and history.

“I’m the third owner,” she says of her 1923 property. “It was built by a gentleman who, around the turn of the century, designed a seal that was used for Ford motor cars.” As the man made his fortune, he and his wife (a transplanted Southern belle) moved into a mansion in Chicago and built the Georgian in the country, on a 22-acre spread with ample room for horses and entertaining, as a place to escape the oppressive city heat.

Click here to read the full article.

To learn more about landscape design in Chicago and on the North Shore, visit Watercolour Gardens.

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