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. An effort to preserve ancient oaks (and restore the woodlands)

    November 20, 2018 by MAX

    Ed Max is an arborist with Maxs Greener Places, of West Chicago, Wheaton area , maxlandscape.com

    We care deeply about the preservation and care of centuries -old oaks such as this behemoth (Bur oak) and the species that have coevolved among the oak biome. Ed Max is an arborist and naturalist involved in oak woodland projects in the Chicagoland Wilderness.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Woodland restorations begin in winter, planning and cleaning.


  3. Fine foliage of the Maidenhair Fern (seen in this Wheaton Il. shade garden)

    January 2, 2017 by MAX

    Woodland species, native ferns of the Chicagoland area, native landscapes by Ed Max and max's greener places

    Maidenhair fern has an unusual leaf, with black stems. Landscape designer Ed Max’s favorite native fern.

     

    Contact Max’s Greener Places for spring designs and installations!

     


  4. The benefits of fire on this small remnant prairie in Carol Stream, Il, lit by naturalist Ed Max and crew of Max’s Greener Places

    December 21, 2015 by MAX

    caring for rare plants and controlled burns by Ed Max of West Chicago, Il., prairie plants and fire.

    Fire is the key ingredient to maintaining these few prairie remnants we have left in the Chicagoland area, like this one near Wheaton and Carol Stream IL,
    Experienced naturalist and landscape designer Ed Max led his team on this annual burn. As seen in this picture…it was a success!
    Fire keeps the invasives at bay, and recycles the old growth and debris.
    See maxlandcape.com for more on caring for your open spaces.

    Contact Ed Max for advice and ideas for your prairie, and adding native  species to your landscape palette.

     

     

     

     


  5. Late winter blooms , 3/18/15

    March 18, 2015 by MAX

     

    maxlandscape.com max's greener places,  Ed max, landscape designer, West Chicago landscapers company, landscape consultations of Wheaton,  Glen Ellyn Il landscaping

    Yes, you can have loads of color in mid March, by planting the right mix of early blooming species such as aconites, witchhazels and more. Max can help with that!

    Spring is the time to spruce up the landscapes. Design services, lawn and garden maintenance, spring clean ups, burns, and shrub and tree care avail. West Chicago based landscape company, near Winfield, and Wheaton, St. Charles and Geneva landscape services.


  6. It’s almost spring! Time to consider the landscapes

    March 2, 2015 by MAX

    It is time to get thinking about the landscapes. Time is upon us to get moving on that outdated garden, that uneven patio, and that eyesore of a front landscape. You know what I mean. Late winter is the time to get things lined up-so when the spring weather finally (?) hits , you will be prepared to move. Give a call or shoot off that email now!                   WILL SPRING EVER COME? This has been one of the top three coldest, snowiest Februaries on record-crazy!

    landscape company in Wheaton, Il, maxlandscape.com

    A sign of spring: the Winter aconite, which pops while the snow may still be present. Good for pollinators, given it’s early appearance. Though a non native, it will stay put in your woodland or perennial garden. Divide and move around while in bloom.

    Other early blooming plants for the garden: witch-hazels, forsythias, native wildflowers such as bloodroot, trillium, and violas, plus tulips, crocus, and hellebores.

    maxlandscape.com, west Chicago il and Winfield landscapes,

    maxlandscape.com, west Chicago il and Winfield landscapes,

     


  7. Invasive Buckthorn; it may look nice cloaked in snow but….

    January 25, 2015 by MAX

    maxlandscape.com, invasive species

    Buckthorn (nasty invasive) shrouded nicely but choking the light and the life out of our woodlands and open spaces.