There’s no doubt that quality landscaping is key for curb appeal, but it is often also the most important element to transforming a backyard into something really special. Spending a warm summer evening in your very own secret garden, or practicing your putt on your own private golf green are just some of the ways to enjoy these remarkable properties currently on the market in several of Chicago’s most idyllic suburbs. Some of these homes provide a move-in ready oasis, others lay the groundwork to add your own unique flair, with a fledgling arboretum that promises a future of tranquil footpaths in the shade, or the perfectly framed lawn for a private sculpture garden.
620 South Elm Street, Hinsdale, $3,475,000
The backyard of this 6-bedroom residence is framed by mature trees that cocoon the property in privacy. Centered on a wide, gently curving lawn creates opportunities for multiple kinds of outdoor features, including gardens, play zone, and several seating areas. A stone covered patio off the house is framed by flowering climbing vines. Neatly trimmed low shrubs and hedging create borders and help guide the eye through the picturesque space. Located on a Southeast block of Hinsdale, the deep lot has plenty of space for a pool.
106 Longmeadow Road, Winnetka, $5,350,000
This 5-bedroom, Chateau-style estate combines architectural sophistication with lush landscaping across the 1-acre lot, along with 10,000 square feet of interior space. Set on privately-owned Lake Longmeadow, features such as wrought-iron gates, a herringbone-paved circle drive, dueling turrets, Juliet balconies and a slate roof create a fairytale effect. A tiered bluestone patio provides the perfect seat to take in the perennials and trees designed in the round. This home was designed by award-winning architect Wayne Zediker.
77 Baybrook Lane, Oak Brook, $3,590,000
Mature landscaping creates privacy on this unique property with a 6-bedroom abode and direct lake access. Since the original landscape design was completed in 2006, significant additions have been made to the design, including a fenced-in French Garden with flowers, herbs and vegetables. With a focus on perennials, the estate gardens are washed in color year-round. An elevated pool with a waterfall feature, a par-3 golf hole, and a boat dock make this a recreational oasis.
390 East Woodland Road, Lake Forest, $2,450,000
Built in 1924, this updated and restored 5-bedroom English Country House sits on 3/4 of an acre near Lake Michigan. With landscaping designed by celebrated landscape architect Craig Bergmann, the house offers wonderful views, from bay windows, twin sets of French doors and a tranquil garden room that overlooks the east lawn. A patio and fenced-in yard provide space to roam and relax, with an intimate sculpture garden between a quadrant of young trees that will grow into a serene arbor.
2256 Farnsworth Lane, Northbrook, $2,850,000
This Prairie-Style home was completed in 2018, with nearly 7,000 square-feet of thoughtful design. Clerestory windows fill this five-bedroom residence with light. Yard spaces are designed around multiple bluestone patios. Outdoor entertaining is easy with a natural fire pit, a putting green and a waterfall feature. Custom stone planters add unique flair to the established flora and mature landscaping. The home has won awards for both engineering and design.
How to Help:
If you’re interested in helping more people have access to design services, you can support the nonprofit Designs for Dignity, which transforms nonprofit environments through pro bono design services and in-kind donations.
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Stephanie Fallon is a freelance writer who has spent her professional career in non-profit adult education, first in adult English literacy at Blue Ridge Literacy and then overseeing interpretation and public programming for the Taubman Museum of Art. She lives in Roanoke, Virginia and writes about visual culture, design, motherhood, and work.