Optima Towers is a modern, luxury high-rise residential building located in downtown Evanston. A large decorative sign overhead marks the main entrance, and a paved walk flanked with planting areas leads one down a shady, long courtyard to the main lobby. The existing landscaping of sparse, leggy plantings was not thriving due to low light conditions and wet soil. Seasonal color and visual interest was desired, and it was also important to screen off-site views and address the drainage issues from stagnant water that collected from the upper terrace of the building.
A Japanese woodland setting was the inspiration for the design. Layers of shade-tolerant plants, such as Japanese Whitespire Birches, Japanese Maples, Golden Japanese Forest Grass and Evergreen Bamboo impart Oriental influence and beauty.
Other Asian influences can be found throughout the space, including rain chains to divert the water dripping from the overhead drains, a raked Zen garden with mossy rocks by the main entrance and lobby, and large, mossy, bluish outcropping boulders that rest along a meandering “river” of liriope. The masses of liriope create openness and lend serenity to the space, while masking existing numerous drain inlets.
Upright evergreens and vines along the decorative metal fencing on the south perimeter screen unsightly views especially from the lobby. Groups of blue Hostas, fuschia Astilbe and golden Lysmachia complete the vibrant transformation.
Residents are thrilled with the new and intriguing experience that welcomes them and visitors to their home.