By Tim Grant, Grant & Power Landscaping, West Chicago
This recently constructed home in Illinois required the installation of a full landscape, and Grant & Power was hired for the job. The large driveway was accented with brick banding, a brick inset and columns to help designate the front entrance. Bluestone paving and limestone veneer walls complement the fa?ade of the house. A large outcropping retaining wall along the side of the property enhances the natural setting and maintains the slope. In the backyard, multiple levels of entertaining areas can be enjoyed in all seasons. A sunken fire pit area creates a cozy gathering spot.
Visiting the lot in October 2014, however, the house was just a rough shell; no work to the lot had been started. It was apparent that two factors, the grading of the lot and the required amount of impervious coverage, would dictate the final results. Meetings over the winter led to a few changes and the development of working construction plans for all hardscapes by April 2015.
"We were actually thinking we would start it right away in spring, but with the construction schedule with the home they weren't ready until about May," said Shawn Pawlak, project manager. "We started with the hill, getting that cleaned up and removing poison ivy, then installed the outcropping on the hill."
The grading came next. "I would say the biggest challenge was the grade," said Pawlak. "We probably over-engineered it a little." During the installation, a large drainage system consisting of 6" PVC pipes, a series of catch basins, and a very large drywell were installed to further solve any drainage or lot coverage issues.
The existing concrete surfaces were covered with natural bluestone in both the front and back. After completing that, crews moved on to excavating for the permeable base of the new patio and walk areas that connected the front and back. Pawlak estimated there was about 1,000 square feet of mortared bluestone, and the rest - about 2,000 square feet - was permeable, due to lot coverage regulations. The patio and walk are bluestone with a Brussels block soldier course, and the sunken fire pit area is a barn plank paver.
An outdoor lighting system, using Unique Lighting products, was installed simultaneously with the hardscapes. Wall lights, path lights and uplights on the large existing oak trees add finishing touches to the landscape.
After all hardscapes and drainage systems were finished, final grade could be applied to the entire property, and sod and planting beds installed. The final touches were completed in October 2015.
Contractors and Designers
Grant and Power Landscaping Inc.
Shawn Pawlak - sales/project manager
Jose Andrade - construction crew foreman
Sarah Grabowski - designer
American National Sprinkler and Lighting - irrigation system
Kramer Tree Specialist - tree work (large removals and pruning)