Creating Beautiful Landscapes

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We use your vision & ideas to put together landscape plans for your exterior spaces: 3d renderings, budgeting and everything else needed, from concept to installation.

Landscape design is the art and science of creating functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor spaces. In urban environments, such as Chicago, landscape design plays a crucial role in enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors alike. R & G Almanza Landscape Inc, a family-owned landscaping company with over 20 years of experience, offers a wide range of landscape architecture and construction services to clients in the greater Chicago area.

Benefits of Landscape Design

A well-designed landscape offers numerous benefits to property owners and the environment. Aesthetically, a thoughtfully crafted outdoor space can significantly enhance the curb appeal and overall value of a property. Functionally, garden design can improve the usability and enjoyment of outdoor living areas, creating inviting spaces for relaxation, entertainment, and recreation. From an environmental perspective, sustainable design practices, such as native plant selection and efficient irrigation systems, can help reduce water consumption, promote biodiversity, and minimize the ecological impact of urban development.

Landscaping Front Yard

Chicago Landscape Design Services

Chicago is home to a diverse array of urban design styles, each influenced by factors such as architectural trends, cultural preferences, and the unique character of the city's neighborhoods. Some of the most popular design styles in Chicago include:

  1. Modern: Characterized by clean lines, geometric shapes, and a minimalist aesthetic
  2. Traditional: Inspired by classic European garden design, featuring symmetrical layouts and formal plantings
  3. Naturalistic: Emphasizing the use of native plants and organic forms to create a more relaxed, informal atmosphere

R & G Almanza Landscape Inc has extensive experience in incorporating these and other design styles into their projects, working closely with clients to create customized landscapes that reflect their individual tastes and preferences.

Most Popular Garden Elements in Chicago IL

To create functional and visually appealing outdoor spaces, our Chicago landscape designers often incorporate a combination of hardscaping and softscaping elements. Hardscaping refers to the use of non-living materials, such as:

These elements provide structure and definition to your outdoor living space, while also creating usable surfaces for outdoor activities. Softscaping, on the other hand, involves the use of living materials, such as:

  • Native plants
  • Ornamental gardens
  • Lawns

Softscaping elements add color, texture, and visual interest to the landscape, while also providing ecological benefits such as habitat creation and stormwater management.

3D Design

3D landscape design software has revolutionized the way designers and clients collaborate on projects. By creating detailed, realistic visualizations of proposed designs, 3D software enables clients to better understand and appreciate the potential of their outdoor spaces before construction begins. This technology also allows for more efficient communication between designers and clients, facilitating the refinement of design ideas and ensuring that the final project meets or exceeds expectations. R & G Almanza Landscape Inc utilizes state-of-the-art 3D design tools to help commercial & residential landscape clients envision the possibilities for their Chicago landscapes.

Planning and Budgeting

Successful projects require careful planning and budgeting to ensure that they are both functional and financially feasible. Some key factors to consider when planning an outdoor redesign project include:

  1. Site analysis: Assessing the existing conditions of the property, such as soil type, drainage, sunlight exposure, and vegetation
  2. User needs: Identifying the intended uses of the outdoor space, such as entertaining, relaxation, or recreation
  3. Maintenance requirements: Considering the ongoing care and upkeep needed to maintain the landscape over time
Factor Description Impact on Design
Site analysis Assessment of existing conditions Informs plant selection, hardscaping materials, and drainage solutions
User needs Identification of intended uses Determines the layout and features of the outdoor space
Maintenance requirements Consideration of ongoing care Influences plant selection and hardscaping materials

Creating a realistic budget is essential for ensuring the success of a yard design project. R & G Almanza Landscape Inc works closely with clients to develop detailed project proposals that outline all anticipated costs, including materials, labor, and any necessary permits or fees. By providing transparent and accurate cost estimates upfront, R & G Almanza Landscape Inc helps clients make informed decisions about their landscape investments.

Chicago Weather and Soil Type Impact on Design

Chicago's climate and soil conditions play a significant role in shaping outdoor design decisions. With cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers, Chicago area landscapes must be designed to withstand a wide range of temperature and moisture levels. Native plants, which are adapted to local weather patterns, are often preferred over non-native species due to their increased resilience and lower landscape maintenance requirements.

Season Weather Conditions Impact on Landscape Design
Winter Cold, snowy Plant selection, hardscaping materials
Summer Hot, humid Irrigation, shade provision

Growing Zone

A 'hardiness zone', also called a growing zone or a landscape zone, is a ranking system that divides the US into 13 individual zones based on the average minimum temperatures in the winter months. The temperature difference between one growing zone and the next is 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

The 2023 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map update shows that about half of the country, including much of Illinois, has shifted to a slightly warmer zone. Most of the Chicago area is now in zone 6a.

Read more on the Chicago Botanic Garden blog.

Understanding the Chicago hardiness zone is crucial when selecting plants for your yard. While the shift to a warmer zone may encourage gardeners to try new plants that typically grow in warmer areas, it's important to keep in mind that Chicago can still experience unstable winter weather and extreme conditions such as polar vortexes.

The unique weather patterns and historical events in Chicago can also impact the local climate. For example, Lake Michigan influences Chicago's climate by moderating temperatures, resulting in more snowfall, cooler summers, and warmer winters. This can create distinctive growing conditions that may differ from other areas in the same hardiness zone.

When selecting plants for your garden, it's essential to choose cold-hardy varieties well-suited for the Chicago hardiness zone. Check the hardiness zone information on plant labels or packaging to ensure a good fit for the local climate, and purchase plants from reputable garden centers specializing in varieties suitable for the area.

However, the hardiness zone is just one tool to consider, along with other variables such as soil quality and composition, sun exposure, and microclimates within your landscape. By understanding the unique characteristics of the Chicago hardiness zone and selecting appropriate plants, you can create a thriving landscape that will stand the test of time.

Soil Composition and pH

Garden Soil

The soil type in your garden is very important to your plants' well-being. The dirt in the Chicago IL area is mostly a mix of clay (about 85%) and a small amount of loam soil. This influences the soil texture, its ability to retain water, and nutrient availability.

Soil in the Windy City is also between neutral to a little bit alkaline, with a pH between 7-7.5. The pH of the soil influences the availability of nutrients to your garden plants, and most of these plants thrive in slightly acidic soil, between 6-6.5 pH. In this case, plant growth and health might suffer because they will not be able to get enough nutrients through their roots.

Soil testing kits are widely available at garden centers, specialty stores, and online. You can also hire a professional landscaper to test your soil as its quality influences lawn care and your garden's health.

Chicago Outdoor Design Permits & Licenses

The City of Chicago has a program called the 'Easy Permit Program'. It allows obtaining a permit without supplying architectural plans:

  • Fences higher than 5 ft. -Chain link or masonry walls require permits even if they are below that height
  • Sheds (more than 70 sq. ft)

Some of the things you do not need a permit for are:

  • Repairing or replacing playground equipment
  • Repairing or replacing fences, other than chain-link or masonry and shorter than 5 ft
  • Construction or alterations of some of the sheds up to 70 sq. ft. at residential buildings with 1-3 dwelling units
  • Landscape construction or alterations of some gazebos up to 150 sq. ft. at residential buildings with 1-3 dwelling units

This is not an exhaustive list and it regulations might change at any time, so it is always best for you or your Chicago landscape contractor to check if a permit is needed for quality work.

In Illinois, no state license is required for general landscaping work. However, for applying restricted-use and general-use pesticides, a Pesticide Applicator license from the Illinois Department of Agriculture is necessary, which requires passing an exam. Licensing is required for specialized work such as plumbing, electrical, etc.

R & G Almanza Landscape is a ILCA Illinois Landscape Contractors Association member

Sod Installation

Lawn Grass

Sod installation is an important aspect of most landscaping design projects in the Chicago area. Unlike traditional seeding methods, sod provides an instant lawn that can be enjoyed immediately after installation. When incorporating sod into designing your green space, it is important to consider factors such as:

  • Grass type: Selecting a grass species that is well-suited to Chicago's climate and soil conditions
  • Soil preparation: Ensuring that the soil is properly graded, amended, and fertilized before sod installation
  • Irrigation: Designing an efficient irrigation system to maintain the health and appearance of the sod over time

R & G Almanza Landscape Inc has extensive experience in sod installation, and can help clients select the best grass type and installation methods for their specific project needs.

Planning and Construction

The landscape planning and construction process typically involves several key stages, each of which requires careful planning and execution.


Stage Description Key Tasks
Design Development Creation of detailed plans and specifications Site analysis, concept development, material selection
Pre-Construction Preparation of the site for construction Demolition, grading, soil preparation
Construction Installation of hardscaping and softscaping elements Paving, planting, irrigation system installation
Post-Construction Finalization and handover of the completed project Clean-up, final inspections, client walkthrough

chicago landscape design project steps

R & G Almanza Landscape Inc employs a team of skilled designers and craftsmen who are well-versed in the latest construction techniques and materials. By managing all aspects of the construction process in-house, R & G Almanza Landscape Inc can ensure that projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the highest standards of quality.

Hardscaping in Chicago

Hardscaping elements are a key component of many Chicago landscape designs, providing both functional and aesthetic benefits. By incorporating features such as patios, retaining walls, and walkways, designers can create usable outdoor living spaces that extend the functionality of a property. Hardscaping materials commonly used in Chicago include:

  • Concrete
  • Natural stone
  • Pavers
  • Brick

When selecting hardscaping materials, designers must consider factors such as durability, slip resistance, and ability to withstand Chicago's freeze-thaw cycles. R & G Almanza Landscape Inc has a deep understanding of the performance characteristics of various hardscaping materials, and can guide clients in selecting the best options for their specific project needs.

Native Landscaping in Chicago

Native landscaping, which involves the use of plant species that are indigenous to the Chicago region, has gained popularity in recent years due to its numerous environmental and practical benefits. Native plants are well-adapted to local weather and soil conditions, requiring less water, fertilizer, and maintenance than non-native species. Additionally, native landscapes provide valuable habitat for local wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and other pollinators.

Some examples of native plants commonly used in Chicago landscape designs include:

  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

R & G Almanza Landscape Inc has experience incorporating native plants into a wide range of landscape styles, from naturalistic designs to more formal, structured layouts. By working with clients to select the right mix of native species for their specific site conditions and aesthetic preferences, R & G Almanza Landscape Inc can create beautiful, sustainable landscapes that thrive in Chicago's unique environment.

Shrubbery and Garden Design

Shrubbery and gardens play a vital role in creating visually appealing and ecologically diverse landscapes. When designing gardens, landscape professionals must consider factors such as:

  • Plant selection: Choosing species that are well-suited to the site's soil type, sunlight exposure, and moisture levels
  • Color and texture: Combining plants with complementary colors and textures to create visual interest throughout the seasons
  • Maintenance needs: Selecting plants that align with the client's desired level of ongoing care and upkeep

R & G Almanza Landscape Inc employs a team of experienced horticulturists who are knowledgeable in the selection and care of a wide range of plant species and tree service. By providing expert guidance on plant selection, placement, and maintenance, R & G Almanza Landscape Inc can help clients create stunning gardens that enhance the beauty and ecological value of their properties.

Privacy and Fencing Solutions

Privacy and fencing solutions are important considerations in many Chicago landscape designs, particularly in densely populated urban and suburban areas. Fences and screens can provide a sense of enclosure and seclusion, creating intimate outdoor spaces that feel separate from neighboring properties. Popular fencing materials used in Chicago include:

  • Wood, such as cedar or pressure-treated pine
  • Vinyl
  • Aluminum
  • Wrought iron

When selecting fencing materials, designers must consider factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, and aesthetic compatibility with the overall outdoor area. Cedar fences, for example, are prized for their natural beauty and resistance to decay, making them a popular choice for Chicago landscapes.

R & G Almanza Landscape Inc offers a range of fencing installation and maintenance services, working with clients to select the best materials and styles for their specific needs. By incorporating privacy solutions into the overall landscape design, R & G Almanza Landscape Inc can help clients create functional and visually appealing outdoor spaces that meet their unique requirements.

Backyard Re-design and Transformation

Backyard re-design projects offer an opportunity to transform underutilized or outdated outdoor spaces into functional and aesthetically pleasing living areas. Some key elements to consider when undertaking a backyard re-design include:

  1. Defining the use of the space: Identifying the desired activities and functions of the backyard, such as entertaining, relaxation, or play
  2. Creating a cohesive design: Developing a unified aesthetic that complements the architecture of the home and the surrounding landscape
  3. Incorporating multi-functional features: Designing elements that serve multiple purposes, such as retaining walls with built-in seating, pergolas that provide shade and structure for climbing plants or landscape lighting that keeps your outdoor space cozy and safe.

R & G Almanza Landscape Inc approaches backyard re-design projects with a focus on creating customized, functional spaces that reflect the unique needs and preferences of each client. By working closely with homeowners to understand their vision and goals, we can develop detailed residential and commercial landscape design plans that maximize the potential of the space, while also ensuring that the project stays within budget and on schedule.

Why Choose R & G Almanza Landscape Inc as Your Landscape Designer

Choosing the right landscape designer is essential for ensuring the success of your outdoor living project. R & G Almanza Landscape Inc stands out as a top choice for Chicago homeowners, property managers and businesses due to their:

  • Extensive experience: With over 20 years of experience in the landscape industry, R & G Almanza Landscape Inc has the knowledge and expertise to handle projects of all sizes and complexities
  • Comprehensive landscaping services: From the initial design process to final installation and maintenance, R & G Almanza Landscape Inc offers a full range of services to meet the diverse needs of their clients
  • Commitment to quality: R & G Almanza Landscape Inc is dedicated to providing the highest level of craftsmanship and customer service, ensuring that each project is completed to the client's satisfaction

Additionally, R & G Almanza Landscape Inc is deeply invested in the local Chicago community, and understands the unique challenges and opportunities presented by the region's climate, soil conditions, and architectural styles. By partnering with R & G Almanza Landscape Inc, clients can benefit from their extensive local knowledge and network of suppliers and tradespeople, ensuring that their projects are completed efficiently and to the highest standards of quality.

In conclusion, landscape design plays a vital role in enhancing the functionality, aesthetics, and ecological value of outdoor spaces in Chicago. By working with a skilled and experienced landscape designer like R & G Almanza Landscape Inc, homeowners and businesses can transform their properties into beautiful, sustainable, and enjoyable living environments that provide lasting value for years to come. Whether you are looking to create a relaxing backyard retreat, an inviting entertainment space, or a low-maintenance native landscape, R & G Almanza Landscape Inc has the expertise and dedication to help you achieve your vision.