Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects
City Garden; Chicago, Illinois  

Client: Client: Private
Architect: Booth Hansen Associates
Contractors: Mariani Landscape (landscape contractor), Tip Top Builders (general contractor)
Consultants: Masonry by Fernando, Lightscape Inc., Antares Iron & Copper
Category: Constructed/Residential 

When the owners of a modern home in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood wanted security, privacy and connection to the city, the landscape architect combined an unusual integration of visual access from the street with private spaces of intimacy and enclosure to unite a horticulture-rich garden with a home's architecture and urban surroundings.

Creating spaces flexible enough for child-play, family dining and entertaining large groups, the landscape architect worked closely with the architect on the final layout and siting of the home to create gardens that could be enjoyed from both the interior and outdoors. Multi-story windows at the central stairs look out onto a courtyard garden, library views highlight the garden along three sides of a room and a screened porch at the back of the house topped with a 320 square foot green roof links two distinct gardens.

Complementing the home's powerful architecture, the landscape architect incorporates strong design elements in stone, iron and horticulture that both reference the house and balance its scale. Massive slabs of Eden Stone at the front walk create a clean, uncluttered experience for the entry; a heavy iron gate both references the grid and ‘breaks up' the mass of the house with its contrasting color; large swaths of pachysandra and lawn soothe the eye in the side garden; and groves of large birch trees create an alluring foreground to the lawn beyond. In the back gravel garden, free-form plantings that move into the gravel relax the hard geometry and create a more casual space.

One of the greatest design challenges on the site was the absence of one of Chicago's common neighborhood features - an alley. The clients wanted an attached three-car garage, but feared a suburban aesthetic. The solution to this problem involved more than 40 design concepts with the architect for the entry and garage alone. The landscape architect minimized its presence by designing a birch grove to visually ‘pinch' the entrance drive near the street.