The garden, newly installed in November 2009.

The garden the following summer.

The English Walled Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden features six different garden “rooms”, paying homage to the contributions of English gardens over the centuries. English gardens mix annuals with perennials and appeal to the senses, and the sound of water plays an important role. This concept of garden rooms inspired our clients, who came to us to create a similar outdoor setting to enjoy at the home in which they have lived many years.

The current backyard consisted of a three-foot high, raised timber retaining wall along one side facing the street, planted with a tall, unsightly hedge. The yard was mostly an expanse of lawn, with some shrubs and perennials. Our clients no longer wanted the old deck against the house, but wanted to keep a large shed, and needed an inconspicuous dog run for the four-legged member of their family. They also wanted a new picket fence along the side facing the street, and a tall white privacy fence for the remaining two sides of the backyard.

Nature’s Perspective removed the timber wall and the old deck, and moved the shed to a corner of the property by the gate leading to the alley. The fenced dog run was placed in the side, back corner of the house, between their house and the neighbor’s fence, away from view. We designed three different “rooms” in the garden using natural clay pavers and natural bluestone, connecting them with a clay paver walk. The Pergola Room will house a lounging area and have an outdoor chandelier. The Dining Room seats a table for six, and also has a seat wall for additional seating. The Multi-Use Room is off to the side of the Dining Room, accommodating the grill and providing room for larger gatherings.

The Pergola Room is surrounded with boxwoods, and wisteria and clematis vines will climb up and bloom over the pergola. The Dining Room is screened from the street with tall yews,  and hydrangeas will bloom here on summer dining occasions. Elsewhere, weeping crabapples, river birches, a tree lilac, shrub roses, and lilacs were installed, bringing texture and seasonal interest. Finally, a palette of 150 perennials and over 300 spring-flowering bulbs will emerge each year, eventually covering the space with delightful blooms from spring to frost.


A three-foot basalt column water feature adds the lovely sound of water. Colorful perennials planted outside the new white fence serve to delight passersby, heightening the charm of this pleasure-filled English garden.

Click on the layout above to enlarge.