Skip to main content

Landscape Design

blackcapped chickadee with a caterpillar in it's mouth

Attracting wildlife with native plants

Invite nature into your backyard A parent fed up with their child’s persistent use of technology (internet, video games, tablet, you name it!) has decided to pull the plug on their sedentary habits. They strip the devices from their child’s hands and throw them outside and say “Go play!” The child...
Finish this story
Flooded road

Stormwater woes, and how rain gardens can help

A local problem with widespread implications What is a watershed? No matter where you live, you are in a watershed. All of Illinois, minus that sliver of land bordering Lake Michigan, is in the Mississippi River Watershed. But we can break down this massive watershed into more local streams and...
Finish this story
A windbreak of evergreens

Tips for a creating a successful windbreak

Hold on to your hats! It is windy here in Illinois. Wind can be destructive to our homes and landscapes, plus it can make being outside miserable. This is why many Illinoisians plant windbreaks around their homes to keep that biting wind from causing a drafty house, prevent drifting snow, and make...
Finish this story
arrows pointing every which way in the lawn

The should’s and should not’s of landscaping

In all walks of life there are do’s and don’ts, but in my world of teaching horticulture a very rare word to use is “should.” I don’t like to use the word should. The word “should” tends to turn people off when receiving advice. When people call the Extension office, I make a conscious effort not...
Finish this story
Japanese gravel garden with mounded plant forms

A plant’s growth habit provides function and beauty

From a horticultural perspective, the term “habit” is not what you think. Though there are certainly some bad habits in gardening like not cleaning soil off tools or buying plants with no feasible location to plant them. When you hear a horticulturist say the term “habit” what we are referring to...
Finish this story

Celebrate the colors of fall with autumn flowers

It has begun. The corn has turned. Transforming much of the Illinois landscape into a sea of tan. The soybeans are following with their yellow hues. Combines churn away, as the heavy scent of plant debris permeates the truck cab. Bright seas of goldenrod sway in the wind, as if a welcome mat laid...
Finish this story
landscape fabric fail

The disadvantages of landscape fabric

Landscape fabric. It’s what goes under the mulch. Right? I’ve had several conversations with home gardeners looking for a permanent solution to keeping the weeds down and each time I warn them about the use of landscape fabric. If you’re thinking, “Hang on! Landscape fabric doesn’t work?” Of...
Finish this story