The homeowner’s colorful collection of glass
artwork was used as color inspiration for the finishing touches in this
airy family room.
A DIY garden and landscaping project that took 10
years to perfect — and another five to maintain — is still a vividly
positive memory, even several months after moving.
Khushrow Madon and Corinne Choisy-Madon of Delafield recently explained
their project, sharing challenges and triumphs.
Their work’s triumphant result is seen in a nicely organized front yard
filled with color from yellow daisies, pink coneflowers, red bee balm
and more. The backyard includes hostas surrounding a stone fountain and
two patios. A 700-square-foot walled area is for conventional family
activities and entertaining, and a natural space is set deeper into the
The challenge of getting there began in 2002, two years after the couple
moved into their Waukesha home. The lot itself, which measures more than
half an acre, was blanketed by trees in the backyard.
“When we moved in, we saw that the rear yard was a big mess,” Khushrow
says. “The previous owners had not done anything. The scope may have
The couple was undaunted, especially in the winter season, as they could
see the trees’ potential.
“We were novices at this,” Corinne writes their project overview. “I did
not have any prior experience. I grew up in the suburbs of Paris and
lived in a small house, which had a manicured garden (that) my father
had developed. My husband is from Bombay, India, and had no experience
with gardening or yard work. But we both share a unique characteristic:
we always take on a challenge, and we always tinker and make everything
The first phase was to clear out a number of trees and overgrowth that
had spread to within 20 feet of the home. They estimate clearing 100
trees over their decade-long project — some with the help of Corinne’s
father, who was visiting after their first child was born.
As the landscape cleared, they planned the flower beds, paths, patios
“We never recruited any contractors or professionals because we could
never agree with what they proposed or within ourselves,” they say. “So
it could have to be trial and error — lots of errors and learning. It
was to be our achievement — our doing or undoing.”
Occasionally joined by their children, the couple painstakingly worked
on the project over the years. Parts of the project, such as the walled
patio brickwork’s level and associated electrical work, required
professional help to meet local codes.
Khushrow and Corinne say they learned through experimentation which
plants were best for the climate and terrain. They also began to rely on
products and advice from local home improvement stores and garden
Even after they’ve moved from their Waukesha home, the couple have a
lasting impression of their outdoor work. “In the
end, we got
everything,” they say, with great fondness, of the project’s final