Landscaping Ideas: Take a Chicago Garden Tour

Find design ideas and inspiration in this personal garden.

Garden Swirl: A double lawn labyrinth serves as the centerpiece of our garden. For those times when the garden is having a "bad hair day" try diverting the eye in creative ways!

Garden Swirl: A double lawn labyrinth serves as the centerpiece of our garden. For those times when the garden is having a "bad hair day" try diverting the eye in creative ways!

Garden Swirl: A double lawn labyrinth serves as the centerpiece of our garden. For those times when the garden is having a "bad hair day" try diverting the eye in creative ways!

One look at our one-acre garden in suburban Chicago, and you’d swear it’s always been there. Fact is it’s been 15 years in the making. From the boxwood and gravel courtyard, to the double lawn labyrinth, to the sunken fountain garden, to the exuberant perennial borders to this year’s newly planted hornbeam hedge, you would never know that a self-taught gardener could pull it all off. Despite the challenges of harsh Midwest weather, clay-packed soil, annual bug invasions and hungry critters, this garden is a lesson in optimism, patience and perseverance.

Drama Queen

The Yin and Yang of Gardening

A Full Season of Joy

Containers That Go the Distance

Sorbet Anyone?

Whimsical Garden Moments

Giant Aliens in the Garden?

Bold and Beautiful

Creamy and Dreamy

A Simple Garden Shed

Face It

Where the Wild Things Are

A Swirl of Succulents

Head over Heels About Gardens

A New Pleached Hedge

Nothing Vanilla to See Here

You Can't Lose with Chartreuse

Take a Load Off

Bringing the Garden Inside

A Garden of Swirls and Circles

Garden Swirl

A Room with a View

Color for all Seasons

Green on Green

Terra-Cotta Garden Accents

My advice to others wanting to create an inviting backdrop for family and friends to enjoy: visit other gardens for inspiration. Enlist the advice of experts for the bigger jobs like adding trees and pathways. Read everything you can about your growing zone. Get to know the experts at your local garden centers. Above all, be fearless. While you’re bound to make a few mistakes, like I have along the way, you’ll also be rewarded by both the experience of being close to nature and the outcome of creating a place of beauty.

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