If you live in a condo or have a small yard, you can
exercise your green thumb with a window box — and note that these
containers are trickier than your average ones. “A window box,
because of its small size and narrow proportions, is more subject to
drying out,” says Kurt Bartel, the vice president of the landscape
management department at David J. Frank Landscape Contracting Inc.
“The soil, water and nutrients are the three keys to keeping
whatever plants you use happy.”
Kurt Bartel of David J. Frank Landscape Contracting Inc.
recommends seven types of blooms to decorate your landscape with
color, whether you prefer pastels or vivid shades.
From suburban backyards to condo balconies,
landscaping for a small area poses its own challenges.
The first challenge, our experts say, is understanding
the scope of work. Most people are surprised to find that designing
a small space takes more time.
The Ground Up
On a hot Saturday in June, our tour group exits the
yellow school bus, crosses Ring Street and steps past the threshold
of a corner-lot community garden. It’s the home of Andre Lee Ellis’
We Got This, a program that teaches 12- to 16-year-old boys in the
community about growing food, and here they are: watering plants and
digging dirt to fill new raised beds.
prepare for winter’s icy presence, consider what snow, sleet and
freezing rains might do to your plantings. Yet don’t panic. There
stated, saving rainwater saves money. Plus, for Milwaukee area
homeowners, there are other important justifications in using nature’s
own "beverage" for lawn and garden irrigation.
at Stano Landscaping knows more than a thing or two about planting
native garden species rather than planting exotics. After all, he is
the company’s landscape design/sales project
all in the soil, says John Lewandowski, retail manager at Bluemel’s
Garden and Landscape Center. "Far too often, I’ve seen
customers spend hundreds of dollars on high-quality plants only to
take them home and plant them in a cheap 99 cent bag of ‘dirt’
without giving it a second thought," he laments.
of an herb garden can excite many home cooks — snipping chives for
a summer salad, picking a bunch of basil for pasta fresca, or
grabbing some mint to muddle mojitos.
outside the pot
Shorewood-based garden store MOD GEN, terrariums are favored.
Assistant manager Jamie Bruchman offers grounding tips when creating
your terrarium, stating, "Most terrarium plants prefer shade or
indirect light and will cook under glass if given too much
the backyard of a Milwaukee area home, this "pub shed" is
not only an adult entertainment space, but one that caters to the
interests of children, too.
originated as simply a garden area filled with white flowers has
evolved into a full-fledged outdoor living trend — that of moon
gardens. In its most traditional sense, a moon garden is a cluster
of luminescent plants and blooms, many of which are cast in white
hues, that reflect off the moon’s pale light, creating a dimly lit
should not let any grass grow under their feet when it comes to fall
prep for next spring’s landscape wonders. There are many tasks
necessary this autumn to secure a good-looking lawn and garden by
the time robins are at their hop-hop-hopping best. To help,
landscape experts have plenty of seasonal suggestions.
like paintings, need a frame that complements and completes the
it is for the reconfigured midcentury-style Bayside home of Bob and
xeriscaping your yard
to many landscape professionals, a typical homeowner can use 40 to
60 gallons a day on average to water lawns and gardens. About half
of that is wasted. Those who know say the water loss is the result
of evaporation, lousy watering systems and, yes, even overwatering.
your own forest
southeastern Wisconsin means enjoying a plethora of trees dotting our
landscape. We marvel at their size, grace, flowers, fruit, aroma and
the entire package that creates a pleasing ambience. So what to do
when we want to add that mighty foliage to our own space?
secret that fresh fruits and vegetables are the staple of any
healthy diet. But in urban areas like Milwaukee, fresh quality
produce can be hard to come by. Supermarket chains tend to avoid
central city neighborhoods where crime is high and incomes are low,
resulting in "food deserts."
Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power, is on a mission to change
the world’s food systems — one country at a time. "Over the
22 years we’ve been in business, we’ve moved along the continuum
to be able to work with people throughout the world," says
doesn’t get home to Brew Town too often. The West Allis Central
High School grad is busy making wine in Oregon.
and hazelnut trees just may save us all, insists third-generation
farmer Michael Gutschenritter, co-owner of Three Brothers Farm in
the town of Oconomowoc, and he’s out to prove it.
often deemed our state’s most picturesque season, but there’s
something to be said about the rich greenery and aromatic flowers
that fill our yards and landscapes in the summertime.
outside of Pewaukee on a street lined with split-level homes and
perfectly manicured lawns, Bill Reichenbach has transformed the
grounds of a 1940s-era cottage into a natural landscaper’s dream.
live a more environmentally friendly life? Start in your own
backyard. The harsh weather, water shortages and pervasiveness of
pests make it a good idea to think "green" when it comes
to landscaping our gardens and yards.
hard to believe Daniel and Erica Galligan’s backyard paradise
began with frozen mounds of dirt. The Galligans were moving to a
newly built house in Cedarburg from Fox Point and the property had
zero landscaping. They knew they wanted a pool for their three young
boys, but that was it.
your garden grow? If you live in Wisconsin, the answer is most
likely very well. "We can grow just about anything here, except
of course tropical fruit," says Mike Timm, head horticulturist
for Ebert’s Greenhouse in Ixonia.
is on its way, and it’s going to get down and dirty. That’s just
fine with volunteers and staff members at the Milwaukee-based
Victory Garden Initiative, who plan to create about 500 vegetable
gardens across the city May 10 to 24.
the year of the petunia — and echinacea and cucumber. That’s
according to the National Garden Bureau, which highlights one
annual, one perennial and one edible each year. The national
gardening nonprofit chooses the plants based on their popularity,
variety, ease of growth, adaptability and versatility.
arrangement, with its paaopping orange hues, is a welcome rush of
color this spring. Yellow and gray and pink and mint are also hot
color combinations for the season, according to Katie Zignego,
floral department manager at Sendik’s in Mequon.
head-to-toe in khaki including his signature boonie hat; Tony
Farrell looks ready to dig in the dirt. But the dirt this
Milwaukee resident digs in isn’t in his backyard — it’s in
compost bins stacked floor-to-ceiling in his kitchen.
Winters’ background in interior decorating is evident in the
designer’s eye she bring to the landscape of her Cedarburg yard.
The design of the nearly 2-acre property on Hidden Valley Lake is
loosely modeled after palace gardens in Europe she and her
husband, Frank, have visited in their travels.
Jim Liebert can
tell you every detail of his 2.5-acre property on Beaver Lake. For
more than 30 years he and his wife, Cathy, have diligently
nurtured the land, transforming it into a plethora of beautiful
gardens containing an even blend of perennials and annuals growing
in the ground and in 100 containers sprinkled across the property.
a hidden oasis next to the ninth hole of the Broadlands Golf
Course in North Prairie. Golfers have nicknamed it the Blueberry
House in reference to the exterior color, but the real attractions
are the large water feature and beautiful flowerbeds on the
and Mike Schinzer’s colorful garden — a riot of tulips, roses
and peonies, to name just a few — is the talk of their East Side
drought of 2012 may have left your lawn looking more brown and
crunchy than green and lush. Now that another winter has passed
and spring is upon us, what can we expect from our lawns and
As the caretaker
of Judy Peck and Stephen Kaniewski’s yard for the last decade,
Stewart Dempsey appreciates the ephemeral beauty of the landscape.
"It’s not static. When it comes up you have to enjoy it because
it’s never going to be the same again," Dempsey says.
there is such a thing as a "mad gardener," William Radler,
inventor of the wildly popular Knock Out Rose, might qualify.
Radler, who was director of the Boerner Botanical Gardens in
Hales Corners from 1981 to his retirement in 1994, is known as
"Mr. Knock Out" in the gardening community.
Light up the
days inspire us to spend more time outdoors entertaining,
gardening or just meditating amid the sounds of nature. But
enjoying the outdoors doesn’t have to end when the sun goes
down. The use of appropriately placed lighting can help you make
the maximum use of outdoor spaces.
three-seasons room is the centerpiece of the backyard renovation by
Northouse Landscape Co. for the Gerondale family of Mequon.
natural setting provides the stage for Peter Kudlata’s artful design
of Mark and Laurie Tebon’s Mequon yard. "I went with more
aggressive perennials that I could plant in large sweeping beds to
create large pools of drama," says Kudlata, owner of Flagstone
Landscape Design and Contracting, Cedarburg.
seeking a tranquil retreat or a fuss-free environment, the following
garden styles are sure to result in an impressive outdoor living
the right plants for your landscape can be overwhelming. Along with
maintenance and expense, you need to consider how plants will fare in
Wisconsin’s unpredictable weather conditions.
The edge of
Edge condos in Milwaukee is the setting for the 2011 M Magazine
Designer’s Challenge. We paired three of Milwaukee’s top
landscaping firms with a few of our favorite furniture places to
create an urban lounge on the balcony of the sixth-floor penthouse at
The Edge. Their inspired designs up the cool factor on city living and
might just motivate you to create your own outdoor paradise, whether
you’re living in a high rise or in the ’burbs.
Espenscheid enjoys looking out at the city skyline from the roof of
the Walker’s Point building in which she lives, but spends most of
her outdoor time looking inward at the lush garden, playground, work
and gathering space she has created in its 4,000 square feet.
ago, immigrants were limited in what they could bring to America. Only
a finite number of things could be packed into a trunk. Often those
trunks were packed with family treasures and heirlooms, many of which
ultimately were buried in the ground once they reached their new
Any excuse for a party. If there’s a
celebration or a reason to get together, Tizza and Glenn Meyer love to
host. For the past 16 years, Stone Fences Farm, their 160-acre
compound outside of Dousman has seen just about everything. Local
charity luncheons, family get-togethers by the lake, a garden wedding
and even dinner parties in the field or an afternoon glass of tea with
a friend. Next up? A birthday party for a tree.
says summer like fruits and vegetables freshly picked from the garden.
Whether your yard is big or small, anyone can grow a kitchen garden,
and it’s easier than you think.
fresh bouquets all summer long, plant a cutting garden and reap the
rewards well into the fall. Gilbert Yerke of Yerke’s Frog Alley
Greenhouse, Mukwonago, says a wide variety of blooms perfect for
flower arranging are easy to grow in Wisconsin’s climate.
"Zinnias are a great cut flower," Yerke says, "and most
of the time, they can be started from seed right in the garden."
small piece of paradise is perched in the middle of Elm Grove on
Marjorie Clark Takton’s property. The 5-acre parcel has been in her
family for decades and is the location of her childhood home. Takton
tore down the original house and built a new home for her extended
family to enjoy.
Vertical gardening is getting a lot of
buzz as the "next big thing," but Lisa Neske, horticultural
consultant at Bayside Garden Center, says the technique is really as
old as the hills. "People have done it forever, but it’s
getting trendy now because of limited space," Neske says.
partial ravine in the backyard of Maureen and Chris Greene has been
transformed from eyesore to eco-friendly eye candy, thanks to a rain
garden grant from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District,
Maureen’s diligence and the expertise of her landscaping team.
personalities define us, shaping our wardrobes, our homes and even our
landscapes. A home can tell a visitor a great deal about its owner,
but so too can what is found outside of its doors, making a garden a
creative way to express yourself.
garden is filled with enticing sights and smells, but it can be a
potentially dangerous place for people and pets. Young children are
There is nothing like stepping out your back door in the summer and
picking fresh herbs for dinner. Growing herbs is easy and certainly
has its perks of adding fragrance to your yard and taste to your food.
When Peggy Ann looked at her property in the town of Mukwonago, she
envisioned paths wandering through her woods and how the mowed
landscape would abut and blend with the natural grass in the meadows.
have been around for centuries, yet people still don’t understand
the purpose of having a roof with holes in it. This is especially true
in the Midwest, where the weather can turn on a dime and, frankly, we’re
just a tad more practical when it comes to our structures.
"You can’t plant roses and forget about them, because they’ll
pop up and say, ‘Here I am, look how beautiful I am," jokes
Chuck Steele, long-time garden enthusiast and rose expert.
best way to enjoy a well-landscaped yard is to get outside and savor
it. Homeowners can make it an even more unique experience by custom
designing a pathway with stepping stones.
a little girl growing up in Shanghai, Anna Tsai never dreamed of
having her own garden. "I was always crazy about flowers and
stopped by a nursery every day on my way home from school," the
Bayside resident says.
Renovating the exterior of a 1953 contemporary house opened up a
multitude of landscape and gardening possibilities for Joe Kresl and
his wife, Jennifer.
Only the occasional traffic noises from nearby Silver Spring Drive
remind Patty Tagliapietra that she is in the city. The Glendale
interior designer has transformed the backyard of her city-sized lot
into a lush urban retreat.
Garden tours provide plant lovers with
inexpensive inspiration. Wondering what to do with that sunny area of
your yard? Take a look at what gardeners featured on this year’s
Waukesha Symphony Orchestra League Garden Tour have done in a similar
With over 200 species of irises, how
does the amateur gardener know which ones are the best to grow?
Durability and easy maintenance make the tall bearded irises some of
the easiest to grow.
Hasselkus willingly admits that the seed for his life’s work was
planted while growing up on a farm two miles south of Dousman.
A taste of
India comes to Elm Grove
In many ways, Vinod and Anjani Shidham
are just like any other gardeners in the area. They grow flowers,
fruits and vegetables as well as perennials and annuals in their Elm
Peter Van Ommeren’s backyard proves the point that small can be
beautiful. Not letting size reduce his vision, over the past 15 years,
this Wauwatosa homeowner has planted 18 trees in his postage-stamp
size space while leaving room for both a significant selection of
perennials and a bit of grassy lawn.
As people spend more time at home, they naturally want to make
their surroundings more livable — and that includes the outdoors. In
fact, landscaping is now one of the top discretionary projects for
With plenty of varieties of daffodils to choose from, even veteran
gardeners have a hard time picking which ones to put in their yard.
Next spring, take your garden to the next level with the advice of UW
master gardener Ann Weid and Tom Kulich of Prairie Gardens in
Cedarburg. All six varieties will grow in Wisconsin.
East has definitely met West in the gardens of Wauwatosa residents
Tom and Patti Krause. An Asian influence is reflected through plant
selections, hardscapes and design that was inspired by visits to major
key to enjoying the great outdoors just outside one’s back door is
creating the right environment. Just ask John D’Agostino and John
Borchardt, who last year worked with local landscape design firms to
carve out the perfect niche for their respective suburban and urban
know maintaining a healthy landscape often takes a lot of work, from
proper design and planting to maintenance. Those lush gardens and
velvet lawns require a lot of sweat equity.
gardens are no longer possible only on solid ground. Balconies and
terraces are being transformed into a new kind of backyard for
millions of apartment, condominium and townhouse dwellers across the
country, and the Milwaukee area is no exception.
you’re green you’re growing … when you’re ripe, you rot."
This saying covers a lot of ground — even the rotting part —
when it comes to organic gardening, the philosophy of using natural
matter to enrich soil and make it useful.
Braunreiter hopes her wildlife-friendly Wauwatosa yard will inspire
others to discover the delights of inviting birds, bees, butterflies
and all manner of critters to share their properties.
gardens" is not a redundancy. Planting your little corner of the
world in grass or flowers or vegetables is great, but there are better
or worse ways to benefit the air, the soil and your own health. For a
more ecologically healthy garden, consider the following...
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