Nature Inspired Suburban Life

There is a reason my alarm clock has three less obnoxious settings, chirping birds, babbling brook, and crashing waves. I’d rather be coerced out of my dream like sleep with images of grassy fields, a hike up a mountain to a glacier fed lake or a sandy sunset along the beach, than a noise that sounds more like a fire engine running directly into my bed room. I like to think that I am like most people out there, and perhaps that it why my whole job is centered around bringing nature into the lives of normal, suburbanites, that don’t usually get to start their mornings with a jog around the Grand Canyon or a breath fresh aspen air at their high perched cabin. Though it is true that many people seeking my help, just want a few nice plants to highlight their home, or a basic patio, the underlying request is to create relaxing spaces, and views they can enjoy all the time.

The green screen is by far the most requested nature inspired landscape feature. Whether it’s the neighbor in their bathrobe, or the busy road, everyone wants to block some views, and enhance others. A fence does great for keeping children and animals in, but not much for the view from your kitchen table. A wall of green is less like a fortress and more like a forest.

Before: View to the neighbors and utility boxes

Immediately After: No more utility boxes and view to the neighbor is softened.  A few more years and the evergreens will enclose the lower patio.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature instead of the four lane highway. A pond or pond-less water feature can look natural when designed into the landscape using boulders,  and planted with ground cover to hide the man-made elements. At EverGreen we tend to go a little heavier on the pump size and add a valve to lower the water flow, so that the water can be more or less raging rapids depending on your taste. It won’t take long for visitors like frogs, raccoons and herons to make frequent appearances or take up residence. Just watch the raccoons and herons if you have fish or they may make an expensive snack out of your new pets.

A nature inspired finishing touch or two….

Becca LaBarre 2010

These boulders are part of the dry land garden at Cantigny Gardens in Wheaton, IL. The boulders are unique for what can be found for sale in the area. The look could be duplicated using New York Boulders (

Becca LaBarre 2011

The Water Stairs at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.  The water flows in the railings.  The palace had an enormous amount of water inspired features where the sounds of a fountain were hardly ever an ear shot away.  The over all feel is that of a sanctuary of luxury. My quest to find the perfect client for this still hasn’t happened, but I will continue to seek.

Gail Simpson

Lastly, this is a custom-made bench made of bluestone done for my most favorite theme garden. The three pieces are irregular to look natural.  It was done in memory of a friend and dedicated educator, Connie Johnson at Davis School in St. Charles, IL.




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