By Kristin Boza
There is still time to beautify your outdoor spaces! Whether you’re seeking perennials, annuals, or have no clue, check out these garden centers and landscapers dedicated to helping customers and clients create spaces they can enjoy all summer long.
Steuber Greenhouse, 2654 W. 111th St., 773-238-2013
Celebrating 78 years in business this fall, Steuber Greenhouse is currently owned by Scot Steuber, the third generation in this family-owned business dedicated to growing their own flowers and plants on-site to ensure the highest quality. Planting season usually winds down in July, but Steuber still has a great selection to choose from.
In addition to flowers, Steuber has a great selection of plants to get a robust vegetable garden growing. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and herbs are all available.
“If you haven’t started your summer planting or need to fill in some spots in your garden, it’s not too late!” said Laura Steuber Doody, Scot Steuber’s sister. “All of our annuals are home-grown right in our greenhouses, and we have our summer sale going on right now.”
Steuber also has a wide variety of cacti and succulents, including perennial sedums and Hens & Chicks, a drought-tolerant perennial that can go for weeks without water — perfect for those lacking a green thumb.
Steuber also has a variety of tropical indoor foliage plants, including Money Tree, Snake plants, Fiddle Leaf Fig trees, hanging spider plants, Transcendia, and ferns.
“Whether you’re an expert or novice gardener, we are always here to help our customers choose the right plants that will do best and flourish in their garden,” Steuber Doody said. “We have customers that bring in photos or their own pots so we can help them choose the right plants.”
City Grange, 1818 W. 99th St., 312-883-9721
Opened last year, City Grange has enhanced the splendor of Walden Parkway with its bountiful plants and flowers. City Grange now carries a variety of trees and shrubs in addition to the wide selection of plants.
“We’re really excited about the unique and interesting varieties we were able to bring in,” said LaManda Joy, owner of City Grange. “Summer and fall are great times to add a tree or shrub to the landscape. With the soil being warm, they get established quickly before the winter sets in, so homeowners can enjoy them the next season.”
City Grange considers itself the country’s first education-based gardener center. “Our mission is to remove barriers to our gardeners’ success,” Joy said. “We have friendly staff that loves to help our customers and frequent free online classes on a variety of topics.”
Joan Murray, City Grange’s Plant Boss, has a curated palette of annuals and perennials that look great together. The shop also has an extensive collection of native plants in both plug and quart/gallon sizes, which are essential to cultivate safe havens for butterflies and bees.
Landscape design is a service offered by City Grange designers, who conduct virtual and onsite consultations.
“We find many of our customers want advice to DIY their project,” Joy said. “For larger projects, we can do full installs.” While there is a waiting list that extends to late August at this point, Joy says that the fall can also be considered a great time for a landscape project that focuses on trees, shrubs, and perennials.
“We also do container design for homes and businesses, like Nicky’s of Beverly and the SSA planters on Western, to name a few. We love talking about landscaping so visit our website at CityGrange.com and sign up for a consultation,” Joy said.
Head to City Grange during their big summer sale, through July 5 and check out the outdoor plants, houseplants, pottery, and gift collections.
“It’s been a real pleasure opening our shop in Beverly — even during the pandemic craziness — and we appreciate all the people who have become customers and friends. That type of support is what makes small business possible,” Joy said.
Susan Kill Kegan and Associates – Landscape Design, 773-239-7119, SKKeganLandscapes.com
For large-scale landscape design and construction projects, Susan Kill Kegan and Associates are here to help. Since 1985, Kill Kegan and her team have provided creative solutions in landscape architecture for single and multi-family residential, commercial, schools, and other areas. The team is skilled in solving environmental problems through landscape design, including permeable pavers and other stormwater management solutions.
To begin the design process, Kill Kegan meets with clients onsite to establish their objectives. “I ask how they want to use the space, what their favorite plants are, favorite colors, as well as plants they don’t like! This helps determine the client’s style,” Kill Kegan said. “Then, I go back to my studio and prepare a proposal, stating the scope of work charged at an hourly rate with a ‘not to exceed’ amount. Once hired, I ask for a copy of their survey to prepare a base plan which I use to collect existing conditions.”
Finally, the landscape plan is designed and Kill Kegan includes a photo list of proposed plants and hardscape material samples. Once the client approves the design, Kill Kegan recommends a landscape contractor or two to choose from, and she can even act as a construction coordinator.
2021 landscape design trends include creating inviting entertaining areas. Kill Kegan says she is often asked about pergolas and fire pits, along with butterfly, pollinator, and native plant gardens.
“Think about ways to use your whole yard, even underused parts. Think about your views, both good and bad, and decide what you want to enhance or screen. If you just moved in, maybe live in the space for a season to see how you use it and witness any plants that may come up!” Kill Kegan said.
Scott Ware Landscape Design, 708-827-5455, ScottWareGardens.com
Scott Ware Landscape Design offers full design and builds, along with consultations, full plans based on scale drawings, and detailed plant lists. Ware works with a dedicated landscape crew and other as-needed specialists to install his designs.
“We stay in constant touch with our clients to make sure they end up with the garden they want,” Ware said. “Beverly is blessed with housing of many different ages and styles. This allows us great freedom or choice when we plan our yards.”
Ware notes that the climate in Beverly/Morgan Park has shifted from 5b to 6a, which gives the opportunity for more tender plants to grow and thrive.
“The large number of shade trees moderates the amount of sun we get in the summer, and this in turn restricts the number of plants that will grow here successfully,” he said. Therefore, it’s important to work with a professional who can design a really specific plan for an individual backyard based on the amount of shade and sun it gets.
In trends, Ware notes that those with kids or pets are adamant on keeping their grass as much as possible. However, many adult homes are seeking entertaining areas over grass. “People want to carve out places to entertain outdoors, so dining areas and grills are common, and some backyards sport entire outdoor kitchens,” Ware said. Ware has also installed bocce ball courts and even explored putting in a pickleball court.
Fire pits are essential for those who want an after-dark entertainment space.
“The most exciting additions to our gardens are water features. These can range from simple fountains to large ponds with waterfalls, or even “pond less” waterfalls. A water feature is much less trouble than you may think,” Ware said.
Planning is key, according to Ware. “You need to take good measurements of your yard and determine your shade and sunny areas. Get some outlets and faucets in useful spots,” he said. “Do your hardscape first, then trees, then large shrubs. Take your time; this is especially true if you have a tight budget. A garden installed over three years will likely be better than a one-season wonder. Spend your first few dollars on a cheap chair or two so that you can admire your work. If you have trouble admiring your own work, buy two chairs and I will come over and help.”
To find out more about Scott Ware, visit ScottWareGardens.com.
Olivia’s Garden, 10730 S. Western Ave., 773-238-0362
Olivia’s Garden is now a seasonal greenhouse! Open in the spring and summer, Mon. through Fri., 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sun., 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., this spot is a favorite for grabbing gorgeous flowers, potted arrangements, hanging baskets, and an incredible amount of fairy garden accessories.
Since 1992, Olivia’s Garden has grown its own organic flowers and have taken pride and care in producing the best selection. If a customer is stuck about what to plant, they are encouraged to bring in a photo of the problem area and the knowledgeable staff can help figure out what would work best in that space.
On weekdays, customers can drop off their pots, containers, and planters for the staff at Olivia’s Garden to plant. Fill it in with the extensive fairy garden accessory collection to complete the look! And maybe some real-life fairies will pay your beautiful plants a visit.