Low Maintenance Landscaping Plants and Shrubs for Your Yard

Not everyone has a green thumb.  And other people just simply don’t like spending a lot of time gardening.  For those that don’t have an interest in horticulture, low maintenance landscaping plants can be a great solution.  

Here are just a few low maintenance landscaping plants and shrub ideas:


Want to keep your Chicago property colorful yet carefree?  These plants and shrubs are all great options to incorporate into your landscaping design:

  • Peony
  • Poppy
  • Blanket Flower
  • Daylily
  • Switchgrass
  • Hardy Geranium
  • Hardy Hibiscus
  • Russian Sage
  • Coneflower
  • Hostas

And don’t ever think that low maintenance plants can’t be stunningly beautiful as well!  There are many options that offer massive curb appeal without all the high demands!


There are many low maintenance landscaping shrubs to choose from.  The possibilities are endless and you really can’t go wrong. But you also would be smart to choose one that is not only easy to care for but also enhances your outdoor space.  Consider these self-sufficient yet beautiful shrub options:

  • Gold Spiraea
  • Lilac Bush
  • Dwarf Arborvitae
  • Hydrangea Bush
  • Weigela

When designing your next outdoor project, trust the experienced team at Martin John Company.  We are the leaders in helping Chicago residents choose the best options for their home. Whether you want to incorporate low maintenance landscaping plants or ones that require a little more attention, let us help!  Based in Libertyville, we are proud to serve the North Shore area and beyond!

Contact us or call 847-634-2184 for more information or to schedule an appointment.


Outdoor Pots and Planters Trends to Spruce Up Your Yard

Want to spruce up your outdoor space this year? There are many new trends that are not only gorgeous but also cost-effective and functional.  Adding the fun back into your property, these hot ideas are just what you need to get your summer landscaping started off right!

Here are a few of the hottest trends for outdoor pots and planters in 2018:

Indoor Hanging Plant Pots – Indoor hanging plant pots are back and hugely popular.  Macramé stringing, geometric designs and metal touches are becoming one of the biggest trends of the season.  Indoor hanging pots add an interesting yet practical way to incorporate plants into the home.

Decorative Outdoor Planters Pots – More and more often people are looking to enhance the color and design of their greenery by simply using a decorative and interesting planter pot.  Pots with a dramatic design or shape will be the new standard as well as ones crafted from gold or silver materials. Some gardeners are even opting for a more natural feel with wooden planters.

Outdoor Hanging Plant Pots – Outdoor hanging plant pots have always been popular.  They are gorgeous and a great way to add a BIG impact without a lot of work.  This summer you will see more of a variety in the mix of flowers within each individual pot.  You will also notice a lot of succulents being planted in them too.

Who wants their front yard to look dated and tired?  Start implementing just a few of these pots and planters trends into your landscape design to create a stylish and beautiful yard.  

Need help with creating that dream space?  Trust the job to Chicago’s leading landscaper – Martin John Company.  We specialize in landscape design and maintenance as well as snow removal and more.  We cater to residential and commercial clients throughout the North Shore area. Contact us to help get your lawn looking great!


Impressionable Plants for Your Curb and Front Entrance

The entry of the home is truly “where it’s at” when it comes to the feel and look of your home. When you use only so-so plants out front, your home starts to look pretty boring. But a great front entrance incorporates beautiful curb appeal plants and greenery to make the property really stand out in the neighborhood!

But where do you begin when it comes to your front porch? Here are a few great ideas on the best front entrance plants to make the perfect first impression:

Container Plants

Colorful container plants are perfect for a front door entrance. Begonias, violas, and fuchsias are all gorgeous varieties which are also perfect for the shade. Covered porches will flourish with a combination of any of these wonderful container plants.


At Martin John Company, we love helping customers incorporate interesting topiaries into their design. Topiaries add color and appeal giving front yards a polished look. Today’s customers can choose from thousands of types of topiaries in all different shapes and sizes.

Pavers, Stone & other Hardscape Materials

When you are brainstorming driveway entrance landscaping ideas, don’t forget the importance of hardscapes. Plants are great but adding gravel or wood or even pavers can add style and appeal while also being low maintenance. No trampled flowers or driven-over shrubs!

Creating curb appeal in your front entrance can be one of the best investments you make into your home. Rather than an expensive kitchen update or bathroom renovation, why not spend a few dollars on adding incredible plants to your front door entrance?

Not sure where to start? Reach out to the design team at Martin John Company for help. We have solutions to fit every budget and every style home. Plus we are one of the most trusted full-service landscaping firms in the North Shore area.

Contact us today to learn more.

Low Water Plants That Are Perfect For the Summer

There is something about summer and flowers that go hand-in-hand.  With each warm day, we get to see new buds opening and leaves sprouting and growing.  But there are some parts of summer that can be not-so-nice on your foliage including those scorching heat waves. (more…)

Budget Conscious Landscaping Ideas for the Front of Your House

When it comes to first impressions, the front yard is where it’s at when it comes to your Chicago home’s curb appeal. It can either make your property a stunning masterpiece or one that sticks out like a sore thumb. While creating an attractive landscape design is important, it also shouldn’t break the bank. There are many landscaping ideas for the front of the home that add that outdoor appeal while still being cost-conscious.

Here are some great budget-friendly front yard landscaping design ideas:

  • Go vertical with your design. Creating height with your outdoor design can instantly make it appear more high-end. Add tiered planters or rows of flower boxes to enhance the appeal of your front yard.
  • Fill in with evergreens. Evergreens such as boxwoods keep your home full of color all year long. They can be a great way to add texture and vibrancy without the upkeep of planting flowers annually.
  • Add a pathway using pallets. Reclaimed pallet wood can create a striking pathway between two points of interest. It can also add both function and beauty to the front yard.
  • Invest in landscape lighting. Good lighting isn’t just important for the inside of the home. It can also be an essential design element for the exterior too. Lighting adds security illuminating pathways while also highlighting your front yards existing architectural details.
  • Create landscape art. Landscape art can vary from large, all-encompassing designs to smaller pieces dotted throughout the yard. These features are a fantastic way to add unique features to your home that your guests will notice.

What to Avoid – Keep the landscaping ideas for the front of your home budget-friendly by also knowing what to avoid. First, steer clear of plants that require high maintenance such as frequent watering. This can really rack up the utility bill. Also, most water features are affordable enough to upkeep but you always need to consider replacement cost down the road. Lastly, don’t fall into the trap of believing that a DIY project is always the cheapest route. Hiring a professional to help design or install new landscaping can often save you time and money with many different types of projects.

When crafting a front yard landscaping design, there is always a lot to do. Seek out the help of a local Chicago landscaping contractor such as Martin John. We can lighten the load by creating the perfect plan for any size budget. From landscape design services to basic upkeep and care, our team helps your Chicago property shine all year long. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

Landscaping Care Trends to Watch In Chicagoland

Is your Chicago landscape less than stellar? Are you tired of doing the same thing over and overachieving only lackluster results? As we move into summer, our Chicagoland homes will require even more landscape care needs. Maybe it’s time to take a different approach to how we tend to our lawns? Maybe it’s time we go beyond the traditional landscaping ideas?

Here are the latest landscaping trends to watch in the Chicagoland area:

Planning for Unpredictable Weather Patterns

Over the last couple decades, it seems as if the weather in the Midwest has become more and more unpredictable. Extremely frigid winters and sweltering hot summers make it hard to maintain a healthy lawn.

Homeowners are tired of seeing their plants and shrubs fall victim to these erratic weather patterns. Many are now embracing the extremes and figuring out how to work with them rather than against them. Pergolas with retractable coverings are an easy way to combat the heat while protecting planted pots. Selecting hardier hardscapes can make your vegetation more able to withstand those dropping winter temperatures.

Use of Organic Fertilizers

These days everything is going organic. The lawn’s fertilizer is no exception. Organic fertilizers are fertilizers derived from animal matter, animal excrement, and vegetable matter. Homeowners are opting to splurge on the extra expense hoping to achieve a more natural, earth-friendly property.

Focus on Water Management & Conservation

Sustainability in lawn care continues to increase in popularity in the Chicagoland area. This can be seen in the surge of homeowners looking to create a more water-conscious landscape design. One of the biggest steps in this direction is smarter irrigation technology. There has also been a trend to utilize more plants native to the region leading to less additional water supplementation.

With the rise of plants such as succulents, many Chicagoland homeowners are also considering xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is landscaping planning which utilizes low-water-use plants. This in turn conserves more natural resources limiting the environmental footprint.

Early summer is a great time to take a look at what is and isn’t working in your Chicagoland landscape care. Hiring a professional landscaping team such as Martin John Company can help you find the best ways to create a landscape design that works both with your lifestyle as well as your personal taste. Our crew can assess your Chicago property and make recommendations on how best to create that stellar look you want. Contact us today to learn more about our landscaping care services or receive a landscaping estimate.

Why Now is the Perfect Time to Update Your Yards

Finally, we’re out of the snow season. Chicago is always unpredictable during this time of the year. It’s not warm enough to start having people over, but yet it’s not snowing. That’s why this is the perfect time to update and clean up your yard.

Odd One Out

Everyone loves seeing their yards full of color and the liveliness that flowers add to their yard. It’s never too early to start consulting your options and plans when it comes to planting. You never want to be that neighbor when it’s well into springtime and everyone has beautiful flowers while you only have buds. Make sure you plan ahead with your landscaper to guarantee you won’t be the odd one out this spring.

Typical Chicago Weather

Snowing in January is not unheard of in Chicago. But what do you when you hit the inconsistent precipitations of April & May? The best thing to do is to have a weekly or biweekly clean-up schedule to make sure your driveway is clean and ready for your kid to start practicing for the basketball season.

Porridge-like Weather

Have you been putting off your backyard renovations? Well, this is the perfect time to start! Spring’s temperature is much like the 3 Little Bears’ porridge, “not too hot, not too cold”. That is why May is the perfect time to start planning for construction, so you can have the luxury of taking advantage of spring’s beautiful scenery in a backyard that you love.

Whether you’re planning to reconstruct your backyard or plant flowers in your yard, Martin John wants to guide you through this process from beginning to end. We are dedicated to the precision that goes into our work to meet your needs and our standards. To help plan for this reconstruction, you can set up an appointment to address all the things you want. From there, we’ll turn your wants into a reality.

How to Grow Beautiful Succulents

The hottest trend right now in greenery both inside and outside the home are succulents. They are everywhere! From the Roseum to the Parva and more, there are many different and beautiful varieties of succulents to choose from. And they are also extremely easy to care for. These two attributes combined has made succulents rise to the top when it comes to 2018 landscaping trends.

At Martin John Company, we want to help our customers stay on top of the latest trends when it comes to creating custom landscaping designs. Here are some of our top tips for growing and maintaining the elegant succulent:

  1. Plant Well
    Give your succulents a great start by planting their roots into the soil suited best for them. An organic-based compost mixed with PermaTill can be a great option. You can also incorporate sand gravel or volcano rock into the mix or on the top layer. And most succulents will require some kind of fertilizer.
  2. Water by Season
    Did you know succulents require different amounts of water depending on the season? During early spring, they need thorough watering’s nearly weekly to flourish. During summer and into fall and winter, succulents require less frequent refreshment. In fact, during winter they may only require a once-a-month check.
  3. Allow for Drainage
    Succulents don’t like “wet feet.” They require adequate draining to grow well. Make sure you support a well-drained soil system by planting them in containers with drainage holes.
  4. Know Your Zone
    Succulents can thrive (yes, thrive!) in colder climates but you need to choose hardier varieties. They may appear dull at first but sunlight helps intensify their colors turning them into a thing of beauty.

Because they do so well inside, succulents can be incorporated into your home any time of the year. You can even transplant your indoor varieties into outdoor planters come spring. For more assistance in creating a custom, beautiful landscape design, contact the team at Martin John Company. We are the leader Lake Forest homeowners turn to for all of their lawn care needs. Going beyond the typical, we offer unique outdoor designs that fit each person’s individual needs and desires. Whether you enjoy working in the garden or would rather have an outdoor space that can be easily maintained, we help you discover your personal perfect fit. Contact us today to learn more.

It’s Tax Refund Time: 4 Smart Ways to Invest into Your Landscaping

While the dullness of winter seems to keep going and going, it does bring with it one positive thing… income tax refund time! That check from Uncle Sam can get spent quickly if you forget to plan ahead on how best to invest it.

While some homeowners put these resources towards the inside of the home, investing into the outside can often be just as smart.
Here are four smart ways to invest tax return dollars back into your own backyard:

1. Create an Outdoor Oasis

The ultimate backyard is one which offers a sense of escape. When you combine a beautiful deck with a warming fire pit or even an electric fireplace, it feels like you just added another “room” to the home. A new outdoor oasis can be a great place to entertain with friends and family or just unwind from a long day.

2. Add a Water Feature

Waterfalls and fountains can be wonderful additions to a home’s outdoor space. Not only do these features add a relaxing atmosphere, they also can create visual interest to an otherwise boring backyard.

3. Install Quality Lighting

Installing outdoor lighting can be a great way to invest in your landscaping. Not only does it increase the security and safety of your home’s surroundings, it also can add value to the property itself. Good lighting can highlight unique architectural features of the home, illuminate a path or even be a warning sign of potential criminal activity.

4. Consider a Raised Garden Bed

Want to grow a garden but avoid some of its many common pitfalls? A raised garden bed can be a great way to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables without the constant upkeep. These types of gardens are less likely to become overgrown with weeds and less prone to animal damage. Raised gardens also offer better drainage and soil retention than the typical bed.

Ready to make 2018 the year you invest back into your own backyard? Contact the team at Martin John Company today to start planning your dream outdoor space. We are a full-service landscaping contractor specializing in custom design services as well as lawn care maintenance.

Need more inspiration? Visit our online portfolio.

5 Shoveling Tips to Prevent Aches and Pains

Once the holidays are over, it often feels like we will be digging our way out of winter forever. Dragging ourselves outside to shovel the sidewalks and driveways is never fun. And what can make this chore even more dreaded is how we feel after we clear the snow.

Shoveling can take a toll on the body. Aches and pains from lifting heavy loads of slush can leave you worn, tired or even immobile for a period of time. For those with pre-existing issues, it can exacerbate an already tough situation making it even worse.

But luckily there are techniques you can start doing today to lighten the load! Here are five expert tips on how to prevent post-shoveling aches and pains:

1. Warm Up

You wouldn’t run a mile without warming up first. And you wouldn’t go golfing without taking a few practice swings to get loose. Approach shoveling the same way. Warm your arm and leg muscles up before you head outside for a better recovery after.

2. Use the Right Tools

If you are still using that old, beat-up shovel… it’s time to say “goodbye”. To do a job quickly and effectively you need the right tool for the job. There are many great ergonomic shovels on the market today that help reduce the strain on your back while efficiently clearing the snow.

3. Lift with Your Legs & Don’t Twist

It’s time to start paying attention to how you pick-up and drop those heavy loads. Always make sure to lift the shovel with your legs rather than heaving using your lower back. And don’t twist the torso to throw the snow off to the side! Lift first, turn your body and then dump the load off the shovel.

4. Brace Your Back

Back pain is the most common injury people experience from shoveling. If you are prone to lower back pain aches wear a brace belt while you shovel. It will help give your back the support it needs so you can finish the job.

5. Know Your Limits

Not everyone can handle the straining task of removing tons and tons of snow. Know your limits! The time might be right to hire a professional to keep your pathways clear for the winter season. They can quickly and easily finish the job before you could even clear a small section.

Winter doesn’t have to wreak havoc on the body. Using the right techniques to shovel your driveway and sidewalks can mean the difference between a pain-free season or one with aches and injuries. Martin John Company is there to help when the load becomes too much. We offer affordable and professional snow removal services and are there right when you need us. Around the clock care is how we give our customers the best service in the Chicago area. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you stay pain-free all the way until spring!

Contact Us

Contact Info
To contact a landscape company who raises the bar of service and design, you can call Martin John @ 847.634.2184 .

507 East Park Ave.
Libertyville, IL 60048

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