Modern Garden

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Modern Garden

In the summer of 2012, Architectural Gardens (AG) of Lake Forest, Ill., won an Excellence in Landscape Award for transforming a rather featureless backyard into an urban-like outdoor living area.

The annual competition among the landscape industry’s elite is a showcase of the Chicago area’s most beautiful gardens and outdoor spaces. AG’s award-winning project, entitled The Modern Garden, was styled to bring the feeling of an urban rooftop garden to a standard suburban backyard. The re-design effectively screens out views of the neighbors’ houses and garages, and instead focuses on the space within, particularly the ground plane. The surrounding mature trees in the neighborhood are metaphorically like the skyscrapers of the famous Chicago skyline.
Structures and surfaces serve dual purposes; the tall, veneer stone fireplace serves as a privacy screen, large tubs of culinary herbs divide the grilling area from the dining area, the patio surface of natural stone adds beauty – both unifying and sub-dividing the space according to use, as well as directing flow. Trees inserted between spaces act like architectural columns and help to balance the mass of paving stone, while adding softness. The masonry steps and stoop to the house replaced a high-maintenance and dated wooden deck. Risers are clad with Windsor stone and treads are of dimensioned bluestone so that everything matches, without being formal.