Landscaping Tips for Home Gardeners

     This section is to give you landscape ideas to solve everyday problems.  Have you ever tried to find the perfect flower or plant to solve that one empty spot in your landscape design? The design plans and plant choices you are looking for to complete any home garden can be found in this web site. These will be complete solutions.  I hope to have photos of spring, summer, fall and winter of the different plants that grow in the Chicago area.

     My wife, Mary and I have developed a love of landscaping and gardening and with our neighbors try to beautify our yards with a wide range of plants and flowers, annuals and perennials. 
The Bearded Iris is a spring bloomer, that grows up to four feet tall 
with a spread of as much as two feet.
Aster is an easy care summer bloomer.

Great Landscape Designs and Perennial Garden Plans

Here is a short list of our popular perennial gardens and landscape designs. The designs carry a wide range of popular backyard garden plants perfect for the do-it-yourself gardener. The designs all have just what you need to make your backyard beautiful.
The perfect perennials for the shade garden
Landscape Design for Foundation Walls
Fall Beauty Landscape and Backyard Garden
Corner Lot Landscape Design
Four Season Landscape Design Hides Fence

The Aster was recently added to our landscape and this late summer bloomer is an easy care perennial.

     As you gain experience in gardening, I hope that you will come to love the outdoors and take care of our world. I hope this site helps you in your quest to be a better gardener and offers you the plants and landscape ideas to beautify your yard. 

Latest Additions to our Plants and Landscape Pages

Flowering Crabapple

Are you looking for some color and fragrance in early spring? Then the Flowering Crabapple tree may be right for you. This tree makes an excellent specimen plant. You can get cultivars that produce small fruit that won't mess up your yard. Today's crabapple trees come with more disease resistance. This plant is cherished for the abundant flowers produced in spring time.

Holly

Try out the Holly in your partial sun or partial shade portion of your yard. The Holly adds interest to your yard in many different ways. It is an evergreen plant and it is interesting in winter as a backdrop to snow covered lawns and landscapes.

Hosta

Hosta comes in a variety of cultivars and produces many shades of green in your shade garden. The Hosta works great in shade and is an excellent border plant.

Endless Summer Hydrangea

Do you like huge blooms of flowers? You can plant the Hydrangea in your flower garden. The Hydrangea is also known as the Snowball Bush.

Beacon Silver Lamium

Silver Beacon Lamium has silver heart shaped leaves edged in green, with purple flowers. The Lamium works great in partial shade and is a wonderful border plant.

Globe Blue Spruce

The great short blue needles of the Globe Blue Spruce make this compact evergreen shrub a real eye pleaser. It is an evergreen shrub that you can plant under your window sills so you can keep that beautiful view out your window. It is a slow grower and adapts well to most soils.

Burning Bush

The Burning Bush produces brilliant red leaves in the fall. This perennial makes a terrific specimen plant as all eyes turn to the red. It is easy to care for and handles hot dry areas of the garden and yard. Plant in full sun though it can tolerate full shade.

Aster

The Aster is a late summer bloomer, that grows up to four feet tall with a spread of as much as four feet depending on variety. You can get a variety of colors: blue, purple, and pink. It is an easy care plant that requires well drained soil.

Bearded Iris

The Bearded Iris is a spring bloomer, that grows up to four feet tall with a spread of as much as two feet. Though the Iris blooms in early spring like bulb plants, most grow from rhizome systems. There are some that grow from bulbs. You can get a wide variety of colors: blue, violet, yellow, purple, red, white and pink.

Common Yarrow

The Yarrow comes in a variety of colors, pink, yellow and lavendar. The wispy leaves require little care. The yarrow will grow best in the sun, though it can be grown in the shade. If you grow it in the shade you may need to stake the plants as they can become floppy.

Threadleaf Coreopsis

The Threadleaf Coreopsis produce blooms in early to late summer. It is also known as tickweed or tickseed. The flowers of the threadleaf coreopsis are normally yellow with a light brown center. You should plant in full sun in well drained areas. They are hardy in hot dry areas and withstand poor soil conditions. They are native American wild-flowers.

Rhododendron

The Rhododendron is a beautiful shrub that blooms for two weeks in early spring. The same time the tulips are flowering. The plant comes in a deciduous variety or an evergreen variety. The leaves of a Rhododendron are small and leathery looking and change from dark green to a maroon color as winter approaches.

Stonecrop

The Stonecrop is an excellent border plant and works well in rock gardens. Mass plantings of stonecrop bring out the rich burgundy colors in late fall. You will see flowers as early as August with the pinkish reds gradually turning a darker shade of red as the weather turns cooler.

Broadleaf Purple Coneflower

The large purple flowers of the Broadleaf Purple Coneflower stand out in the back of the garden. They prefer sunny areas in your garden. They grow from two to four feet tall and flower all summer.

Shasta Daisy

The bright yellow centers of the Shasta Daisy offset the white petals beautifully. They prefer sunny areas in your garden. They grow from one to three feet tall and make nice cut flowers.

Astilbe

The delicate feathery flowers of the Astilbe blooms from June to July. They prefer moist shady spots in your garden. They come in a variety of colors and styles with colors of pink, red, magenta, cream and white.

Allium or Flowering Onion

The violet-blue flowers of the Allium or flowering onion bloom from late spring to early summer. They produce wonderful tall plants to 5 feet tall or small 1 foot tall plants.

Salvia

The purple, pink, white or yellow flowers of the Salvia bloom all summer long from June to September. Salvia withstands summer heat and dry conditions. Place the salvia in borders and rock gardens as they require little care.

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob's Ladder is a plant that requires partial sun. The polemonium Snow and Sapphires variety has variegated leaves and light blue flowers in the shape of bells. It grows wonderfully in shady areas that get some sun during the day. Requires moist, well drained soil.

Catmint

The many blue flowers the Catmint produces grows to a height of 12 to 15 inches. Each plant should be spaced 18 inches apart. Recommend you put the plant in well drained soil. It is a perfect plant to place in those dry areas you always forget to water.

Clematis

The Clematis is a climbing vine that produces beautiful flowers from late spring to the first frost. The vine can grow from 5 to 20 feet. Grow the clematis in full or partial sun. The more sun the greater number of flowers.

Rhododendren

The Rhododendren is a beautiful shrub that blooms for two weeks in early spring. The same time the tulips are flowering. The plant comes in a deciduous variety or an evergreen variety. The leaves of a Rhododendren are small and leathery looking and change from dark green to a maroon color as winter approaches.

Red Twig Dogwood

The Red Twig Dogwood provides winter interest with stems that are red in winter. There is something to see all year long with this perennial. Profuse tiny flowers show up in springtime. The green leaves make a great backdrop for other flowering plants during the summer and then will change to a crimson in the fall.

Coral Bells or Heuchera

Coral Bells are grown for their beautiful leaves. The leaves may be purplish, metallic silver or purple bronze. The underside of the leaf can also be purplish-pink in some cultivars. Coral Bells are also known as Heuchera.

Start Your Spring Garden with Seeds

Start your spring garden with seeds. It is almost spring time. Sure there is snow on the ground, but now is the time to begin thinking about starting seedlings. The seeds of today will turn into the beautiful flowers and fruit of the summer.

The Rose of Sharon

The Rose of Sharon is a perennial that is hardy in harsh conditions. This perennial can withstand dry areas in your yard, next to the driveway and is a great row plant between neighbors.

Jackman Potentilla

The Jackman Potentilla is a native Midwest perennial that produces bright yellow flowers throughout the summer. The potentilla does well in sunshine and can survive in some shade. They can be used as foundation plantings, in low hedges and in masses.

The Butterfly Bush

The Butterfly Bush is a hardy bush that flowers during the summer and lasts until late in the season. The first year it gets its roots but by the second year it is putting out beautiful clumps of flowers. This sunny shrub has flowers that attract butterflies.

Time to Plant the Tulips, How and When to Plant Bulbs.

This article describes how and when to plant tulips and bulbs. What is the proper depth, the proper direction and how do you ensure a healthy start for your beautiful tulips, crocuses, dahlias and begonias? What amendments to the soil is necessary for a successful start in the spring?

Fall Beauty Landscape Design

This landscape design is a real winner. I have named it the Fall Beauty because of the beautiful purple flowers that show toward the end of summer. You will love it in your backyard, frontyard, by the pool or next to the mailbox. Drought resistant and easy to maintain.

An Excellent Border Plant -- Works Well in Rock Gardens

Autumn Joy Sedum is an outstanding landscape plant with long lasting flowers. Mass plantings of Sedum bring out the rich burgundy colors in late fall. You will see flowers as early as August with the pinkish reds gradually turning a darker shade of red as the weather turns cooler.


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Latest You Can Learn Series Blog Articles:

We Arrive in Santiago de Compestela Spain

We walked for Thirty Three days straight

We have arrived in Santiago. We walked for 33 straight days. Some days were 12 milers and as many as 18 miles or more in one day. We reached our destination. We decided not to rush to reach the city. Mary had accidentally banged her knee on the table at the restaurant the night before and it was a little tender.


Day 31 Palas de Rei to Ribadiso

We have walked 31 days to Santiago de Compostela

Today we started early because we had reserved a room at an albergue and we had to get there by 2pm or we lost the reservation. Mary set a blistering pace in the dark morning mist. Sunrise is at 8 am but this morning we had clouds and fog so it was darker than yesterday. The path through the city was okay but then leaving the city it became more difficult.


Three days of walking left in our Camino

We only have 66 kilometers to Santiago

We have walked for 30 days with only 3 days till we reach our destination of Santiago de Compostela. It has been an amazing journey. We are in the Galicia region of Spain known for the rain it receives. Well we are extremely lucky because the weather has been beautiful for walking. It starts out cool in the high 40s but then warms up to the low to mid 70s. With plenty of sunshine.


We arrived in Sarria

Five walking days to Santiago

Today we started late at 8 am. We were almost the last people out of Triacastela walking the Camino.


Ocebreiro to Triacastela

Only 6 days remaining on the Camino de Santiago

We are sitting in a restaurant in the little village of Triacastela on day 27 having tapas. It was a short 12 miles that were mostly down. Tomorrow we hope to go to Sarria.


Views from Astorga Spain

From Leon to Astorga on the Camino de Santiago

We visited Leon, Spain yesterday and then we walked 35Km today. Leon was wonderful. Today we walked in rain for the first time. We went 35 KM yesterday for no other reason than we could.


Walked 17 Miles Today

Today we walked 17 miles on the Camino

Today we are sitting at the albergue in Terradillos de las Templarios. We are at the halfway point in our journey. We have walked over 250 miles or 400 kilometers. I truly didn't think we would be able to do this. Mary has been a real trouper walking through bad knees and the pain of shin splints.


Finished a Third of our Camino Experience

We have walked a Third of the way to Santiago

Today finds us in Ages, Spain only 14 miles from Burgos. We are quite excited that we have managed this distance. We hoped we could but we had doubts especially those first few days where we hurt so much.


The Path to Najera Spain

Eight Days of Walking

We have been walking for 8 days now. It has been interesting, tiring, painful, fun and a real learning experience.


Walking Through the Pyrenees

Walking Through the Pyrenees

Mary and I started our journey to Santiago Spain. The first day we started in Saint Jean Pied de Port in France. The goal was to arrive in Roncevalle, Spain before nightfall.




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  You Can Learn Landscaping Plants Series Plants

   Allium or Flowering OnionAllium
   AsterAster
   Astilbe flowersAstilbe
   Bearded IrisBearded Iris
   Burning Bush or Winged EuonymusBurning Bush
   Butterfly BushButterfly Bush
   CatmintCatmint
   ClematisClematis
   Columbine PlantsColumbine
   Coral Bells perennialCoral Bells
   Flowering Crabapple TreeCrabapple Tree
   Daisy perennialDaisy
   Emerald Gold EuonymousEmerald Gold Euonymous
   Variegated FallopiaFallopia
   Flowering Crabapple TreeFlowering Crabapple
   Allium or Flowering OnionFlowering Onion
   Globe Blue SpruceGlobe Blue Spruce
   HeucheraHeuchera
   HollyHolly
   HostaHosta
   HydrangeaHydrangea
   Jacob's LadderJacob's Ladder
   Jackman PotentillaJackman Potentilla
   Silver Beacon Lamium, White Nancy Lamium Lamium - White Nancy, Silver Beacon
   Broadleaf Purple ConeflowerPurple Coneflower
   Red Twig DogwoodRed Twig Dogwood
   RhododendrenRhododendren
   RhododendronRhododendron
   Rose of SharonRose of Sharon
   Russian SageRussian Sage
   Perennial SalviaSalvia
   Autumn Joy SedumAutumn Joy Sedum
   Shasta Daisy perennialShasta Daisy
   StonecropStonecrop
   SpireaSpirea
   Threadleaf CoreopsisThreadleaf Coreopsis
   Burning Bush or Winged EuonymusWinged Euonymus
   Yarrow Produces mounds of summer color Yarrow
   Yew, evergreen Yew

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