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. Dance of the Wood Betony (Pedicularis), a lovely parasitic native

    May 2, 2017 by MAX

    Native landscape by ed max, butterlfy gardens of wheaton, glen elly woodland native species, west chicago native landscapes, natural landscape by ed max,

    Swirling beauty! This semi parasitic native of our higher quality prairies is quite a sight in spring.   Easily spotted when little else is in bloom in the prairie or oak savanna.

    • Not a plant easily obtained. Not recommended for most gardens – just a fun plant worth knowing and looking for while hiking.
    • Always buy native species (especially rarer types) from known and reputable growers. Never dig plants (such as betony), as they will most likely drop dead upon arrival to your gardens!
    • Inquire for plant lists and growers whom are local.
    • Designer Ed Max is also cert naturalist plus cert arborist, and designs many gardens , woodlands, and other properties (both traditional and naturalistic) and meshes native with non-native species for wonderful and varied garden and landscape!

  3. A victorian era townhome landscape design- in the Frank Lloyd Wright district of Oak Park , Il

    January 4, 2017 by MAX

    Vintage landscape of Oak Park, Il, River Forest vintage designs, old fashion plantings, Oak Park landscape designs by Ed Max.

    What a gem is this unique 1890’s era townhome in the town of Oak Park, Il. And what a unique opportunity to landscape this small space!
    Located just to the south of a rather significant Frank Lloyd Wright home, this is in the heart of the historic Oak Park area. The front is terraced, and framed out in impressive limestone edgers, dating back over 100 years.                                   The soils are intact- meaning deep loam throughout this area. There were not massive earth moving vehicles then, so we enjoy deep black soils; a rarity out in the suburbs. Back in the day, they just dug a hole to fit the loose stone foundations. Adding the new plants and creating this design was exciting.
    We’ve added in some vintage landscape species here: hydrangea, bulbs, and azalea, but used manay other more ‘modern’ species that fit this small site and shade situation.                            Native species such as Little Bluestem and Prairie Dropseed grasses, Bluebells, Rosanne geranium, and sedges for seasonal color, plus a touch of small but beguiling specie tulip, which do well in these habitats, and naturalize well.

     

     

     

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    designs by landscape designer Ed Max

    Vintage landscapes , new design at this 1890’s era home in Oak Park, Il.

     

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    Contact Ed Max and Max’s Greener Places soon for spring designs ,updated landscapes, seasonal bed care and more.

    Maxlandscape.com. Oak Park, Il, landscape designs by Ed Max


  4. Riverside Il landscape design and renovation- a beforehand view. In desperate need for a facelift I’d say?

    January 24, 2016 by MAX

    Vintage landscapes in Riverside by Maxlandscape.com

    A view BEFORE work began.
    New paver walkways will go in, pines removed, new landscapes and sod to be seen soon! A new vintage Riverside landscape renovation is on the way!

     

    Spring is time for new trees and shrubs as well as getting the landscapes updated. Contact us now for a landscape design and consultation- in Riverside, River Forest or Oak Park, or near where you live.

     


  5. 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.

     

     


  6. Our Oak Park landscapes 2015 (by Max’s Greener Places, Ed Max)

    December 22, 2015 by MAX

    landscapes and patios design, oak park, il, maxlandscape.com

    Oak Park Il vintage looking pavers utilized to compliment the new addition to the rear of this 110+ yr old home.

    Copthorne pavers evoke a look of vintage Oak Park and River Forest of the early 1900's.

    Copthorne pavers evoke a feel of an earlier time in Oak Park and River Forest. This clay paver holds up well under our Chicagoland climate.

     

    Winter is the time to begin consultation and designs for your new landscapes in 2016. Call or email Ed now!