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Garden Story
A Waukesha County couple reflects back on a decade-long
landscaping project — and the fond memories it still spurs.


April 2018

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 wooded lot.

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 intimidated them.”

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 better.”

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 and more.

“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 centers.

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 outcome.

This story ran in the April 2018  issue of: