1. Consider more landscapes, and less lawn: beneficial not just in less humdrum lawn, but better for habitat (less chems).

    April 10, 2019 by MAX
    Interesting article and numbers in this NYT article:
    By Ronda Kaysen
    Spring is here, and that means millions of Americans will soon be seeding, fertilizing and mowing their grass.
    America has a lot of lawns. Add them all together, and they’d cover an area roughly the size of Florida, making grass the most common irrigated plant in the country. And all that grass comes with an environmental cost.
    To keep weeds at bay, homeowners dumped around 59 million pounds of pesticides onto their residential landscapes in 2012, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Some of those leach into the waterways, potentially exposing children and pets to harmful chemicals.
    Grass is thirsty, too. Americans use about 7 billion gallons of water a day, a third of all residential water consumption, to irrigate. Roughly half of that water is wasted because of runoff, evaporation or overwatering. And then there’s the mowing, edging and leaf blowing. According to a study by Quiet Communities, a nonprofit group, that equipment, mostly powered by gas, emitted 26.7 million tons of pollutants into the atmosphere in 2011. Those emissions contribute to climate change.
    Despite the time and resources needed to maintain a tidy lawn, they provide no habitat for bees, butterflies or the birds that feed on the insects.
    “Lawns are a significant environmental problem,” said David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. “We put in these lawns, and we basically turned these important habitats into dead zones.”
    The good news is: You don’t necessarily have to let your yard go wild, or dig the whole thing up to plant rocks, in order to lower your environmental impact.
    You can reduce your lawn by chipping away one weekend and one season a time, dedicating a few of the hours you might normally spend caring for your lawn to planting native grasses, shrubs, trees, flowers and food.
    Consider replacing some of that needy grass with a low-maintenance ground cover like clover, creeping thyme, mint or strawberry. You can also plant a tree and surround it with a bed of mulch. If you already have trees on your property, you could put in shade-loving plants — like hostas, ferns, impatiens and primrose — below the canopy.
    Before you head to the nursery to buy any new grass, plant, shrub or tree, try to choose something that’s native to your area and not an invasive species. If you’re not sure, punch your ZIP code into the Native Plant Finder, which is managed by the National Wildlife Federation.
    Another option for reducing lawn area is to start a flower bed or a kitchen garden. The beauty of these plots is that they can start small and expand a bit each season. Plus, they look great, you can get fresh food and herbs, and they’ll support butterflies, bees and birds.
    Whatever you plant, avoid pesticides and aerate the soil instead. Fertilize grass with leaf clippings and accept that you may need to coexist with dandelions. 
    landscape with no lawn
    Spring time in a near-lawn- less garden

    Bluebells and other bulbs, ephemerals etc will vanish by May, then mow as usual.

    Contact us about landscaping with less lawn, we have solutions!


  2. Milkweed (time to rename this one- it ain’t no stinkin weed!) Its actually a fantastic plant for your garden, and it helps save an imperiled species. Whats not to like? Except the weed part in it name?

    July 23, 2018 by MAX

    Ed Max collects milkweed species and uses in designs where he can.

    One of our more common milkweeds, and a life line to the struggling monarch populations. Plant more milkweed! Maxlandscape plants milkweed and all the other pollinator species to benefit butterflys and pollinators.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    landacpe with natives, natural landscapes designs by Ed Max, West Chicago, Il.

    Butterfly milkweed at Bluff Spring Fen, Elgin (also an asclepias)

     

     

    more butterfly weed, is a milkweed. Very pretty! Maxlandscape is a natives design company

    Aesclepias, native milkweed near Belmont prairie

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As the summer winds along on its way-too-fast trajectory, do not let the summer slip away without planting pollinator friendly species- and milkweed. The bugs and pollinators will appreciate it! And so will you!

    Contact us about a nice list of mega pollinators- as in plants that really draw them in. Some do more than others!

    Late summer is a good time to seed, or plant plugs, well before winter. And have fun!

     


  3. A Glen Ellyn landscape design- adds color and privacy to this outdoor living space (3 yrs aft)

    January 21, 2016 by MAX

     

    • Glen Ellyn Il landscape design: showing a small raised bed which encloses this  outdoor patio space and pergola. We used many low maint. native species plus the ever-blooming ‘Rosanne’ Geranium, and Peach ‘Drift’ Rose. A colorful palette of plants to be sure- in this landscape for seasonal color and winter interest.
    • Natural stone walls were built to hold the new planting to compliment this vintage Glen Ellyn residence
    • Perennials and native species selected for their hardiness and drought tolerance.
    • Color year-round with varied species

     

     

    Landscape company in Glen Ellyn, and Wheaton, Lombard landscapes, patios and stone walls by Ed Mx

    An outdoor living space and Glen Ellyn landscape make over & design by Max’s Greener Places. Utilizing native species and grasses ( important for many reasons- CONTACT us to learn more), plus many perennials are seen,  DRIFT roses and juniper for winter cover.

     

     


  4. White Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium can.)

    May 22, 2015 by MAX

    Another good year for these rare (threatened status in Ill.) orchids. I’ve had the uncommon chance to witness two large stands of these beauties in Dupage Co, and two days apart in two diff. areas!
    Fond of fens, and calcareous soils, these native orchids were once plentiful. Now, with few remnant prairies, we need to do all we can to protect their health through habitat quality, such as burning, and keeping invasive species at bay. Slow to reproduce, they also tend to get browsed by hungry deer.

    landscape design by ed max, maxlandscape.com,

    Wheaton native habitats, and landscapes, natural landscapes of the West Chicago area.


    Native landscapes of the western suburbs of Chicago are at your fingertips! Do not dig wild orchids. They can be bought from reputable on-line sources.
    Call us for landscape design services or for a quote to renovate your existing landscpaes and woodlands.


  5. What’s in bloom: April ephemerals (Bloodroot) in West Chicago Il

    April 11, 2014 by MAX

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    native landscapes , maxlandscape.com

    Once thought to have medicinal properties, quite toxic.

     

    Many parts of this fleeting beauty are toxic. The root exudes a red-orange juice, once used for dyes, and the plant was used for many medicinal applications. There is on-going  research as to it’s possible benefits. Once pollinated – all gone, sometimes in as little as a few days. Great attractant for early pollinators!


  6. a landscape design takes shape in St. Charles, Geneva Il

    March 16, 2014 by MAX
    A preview we provide as to how your landscapes would appear in the future

    landscape design, maxlandscape.com, ed max