Landscape Design Services in Milwaukee

How to Achieve a Modern Landscaping Design Style

What is modern landscape design and how can you achieve this style in your own landscape? First, let’s look at where the aesthetic of the modern landscaping design style came from. We really need to look no further than the modern design movement of the early to mid 20th century (think of the architectural style of masters, like Frank Lloyd Wright).  The industrial age, where there was less focus on natural materials and designs incorporated more manufactured products, along with using more concrete, glass and steel found its way into landscape design as well.

Characteristics of Modern Landscape Design Style

Any landscaping style is a combination of  function, design, and materials. In this style, the function of the landscape is typically to complement the modern architecture of the home. The function of the landscape in the modern design style seeks to redefine how outdoor spaces are used. Rather than spaces to be cultivated and maintained, the outdoor areas are seen more as aesthetically pleasing spots to visit.

As for design elements, rather than riots of color, you will see  simple structural elements, panels of perfect lawns, tightly sheared shrubs and large swaths of ground cover.  The modern landscape design style appears as minimalistic, with an emphasis on structure and simplicity. Main features in the modern landscape style are clean lines, natural colors and balance of scale and symmetry.  The materials used in the modern landscape design style may include manufactured items, like concrete pavers or walkways, glass and steel for elements like fire pits, fencing, and containers.

Plantings to Use in Modern Landscape Design

  • Columnar trees & evergreens, like arborvitae, columnar hornbeam
  • Tight, clean looking shrubs, such as boxwood
  • Foliage perennials and groundcover

Hardscapes Found in Modern Landscape Design

  • Straight, clean lines
  • Manufactured materials, including concrete, glass, and steel
  • Natural, muted colors

Using these elements in your landscape design can bring a touch of the Modern Style to your yard. See how we transformed a traditional aesthetic to a modern style with this before and after case study.

Our designers are experts in achieving the landscape design you want for your property. Get in touch today to schedule a consultation.

June Landscaping Checklist

June landscaping calls for paying attention to the watering and fertilizing needs of every element – flowers, trees/shrubs, and lawns. Be sure to review the complete June landscaping checklist to stay on top of the tasks needed in June to ensure your landscaping thrives all summer long.


  • Continue planting annuals and vegetables.
  • Direct seed annuals and vegetables into the garden early in the month.
  • WATER! Annuals and veggies need regular water due to their shallow root systems. Remember that fewer, deeper waterings are more beneficial than frequent, shallow waterings.
  • Fertilize as needed. Perennial beds can use a slow-release fertilizer or can be fed along with annuals with a liquid like Miracle Gro. Vegetables can also be treated this way although many people have moved towards organic methods like compost to enrich the soil in the vegetable gardens.
  • Deadhead annuals and perennials for enhanced appearance and improved blooming.
  • Stake or trellis newly planted things like vines and tomatoes right away to avoid damaging the plant later.
  • Get on a regular weeding schedule. It’s easier to keep up a little at a time than to let things get out of control.


  • Apply fertilizer and broadleaf weed control. 4-6 weeks after your prior application is best. Avoid using weed control on newly seeded areas.
  • Monitor for disease and insect problems and consult a professional if needed.
  • Keep grass cut at about 2 ½” to 3”. Cutting the grass shorter will allow more heat and light to penetrate to the roots causing stress. It also creates more openings for weeds to take hold.
  • Water as needed. Remember that fewer, deeper waterings will be more beneficial than frequent, shallow waterings. Lawns require about an inch of rain per week.
  • Newly seeded or sodded areas will require more water than an established lawn.


  • Monitor for disease and insect problems and consult a professional if needed.
  • Prune spring blooming shrubs right after they are done blooming.
  • Trim boxwood, yews and other evergreens.
  • Fertilize roses and pre-treat with fungicide if they are prone to disease issues.
  • Trees and shrubs planted within the last year should be monitored for water. They will need it before your established plants do. If it’s hot and dry and we’re receiving less than an inch of rain per week, give them a good long drink.

Download Checklist

How to Create a Cottage Style Landscape

The Cottage style landscape is inspired by the old English garden. It typically showcases a harmonious blend of colorful flowers, lush foliage, and an abundance of plants, often arranged in a seemingly random or natural manner. Cottage gardens typically feature a mix of perennial flowers, annuals, herbs, and sometimes vegetables, with an emphasis on fragrant blooms.  The Cottage style landscape feels informal and organic, but is actually well planned so as not to appear messy and chaotic. This style is an explosion of texture, color and form.  You will often find curving pathways leading to seating nooks and hidden fountains or statuary. The end result is a cheerful, relaxing landscape providing a quiet sanctuary.

Plantings for a Cottage Style Landscape

Choose a mix of flowering plants, including perennials and annuals, that are well-suited to our Wisconsin climate and soil conditions. Opt for a variety of colors, shapes, and heights to create visual interest. Some suggested plant selections include:

  • Roses, hydrangea, lilac, peonies
  • Hedges – cotoneaster, privet, boxwood
  • Specialty evergreens and specimen trees.
  • Perennials galore (to minimize upkeep)!

Layout Tips

Avoid rigid geometric patterns and lean into a more relaxed and naturalistic layout. Meandering borders, and irregularly shaped beds enhance the cottage landscape feel.When setting up your cottage garden beds, plant densely for a lush and overflowing look. Layer plants with different heights, placing taller plants towards the back or center and shorter ones towards the front. This creates depth and a sense of abundance.

Pathways and Seating Nooks

Curved pathways, are a perfect fit for a cottage style garden. They inspire exploration and enhance the sense of informality. You can use hard surfacing like pavers or brick or  wood chips and gravel also work well. Be sure to incorporate seating in the cottage garden. Choose natural materials, like wood to reinforce the naturalistic feel of the cottage style landscape.

Structural Accents

Embedding accents, from picket fences to vintage or rustic-inspired garden accessories will add to the character and ambiance of a cottage style landscape.

  • Fences, arbors, trellises and archways – create vertical interest and provide support for climbers. Use natural materials like stone, wood, and gravel to enhance the rustic appeal.
  • Architectural accents, such as statuary and planters – weathered pots, finials and sculptures add a sense of whimsy and fun to the cottage garden
  • Birdhouses, birdbaths, and bird feeders – include features that will help attract wildlife to your garden space.

Embrace the informal charm of a cottage style landscape on your property. Our designers are experts in creating the ambiance this colorful and whimsical landscape style provides. Connect with one of our experts today to start planning!

How to Add Edible Plants and Trees to Your Landscape

Incorporating edible plants and trees into your landscape is a great way to not only enhance the beauty of your outdoor space but also provide you with fresh, organic produce right from your own backyard. Whether you have a large yard or a small balcony, there are many different types of edible plants and trees that can thrive in a variety of settings. Here are some tips and ideas to get started with incorporating edible plants and trees into your landscape.

Plan Your Space

Before you start any kind of planting, it’s important to assess your space and determine which types of plants will work best. Decide which areas of your yard you want to dedicate to edible plants and trees. Consider the amount of sunlight each area receives and choose plants that will thrive in those conditions. Make sure to leave enough space between plants for them to grow and spread out.

If you have a large yard, you may want to consider planting fruit trees such as apple, pear, peach, and cherry. These trees can serve the dual purpose of providing delicious fruit, but also add shade and beauty to your landscape. If you have limited space, you may want to consider growing herbs and vegetables in containers. This puts fresh herbs and vegetables at your fingertips, even if you don’t have a large yard. Some great herbs to grow in containers include basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley. Vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers can also be grown in containers with proper care.

Choose the Right Plants

When choosing edible plants and trees, it’s important to consider your climate and the type of soil you have. Some plants thrive in cooler climates, while others do better in warmer weather. Make sure to choose plants that are well-suited to your area. Some examples of edible plants and trees include tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, apple trees, and pear trees.

Consider Aesthetic Appeal

Incorporating edible plants and trees into your landscape doesn’t mean sacrificing aesthetic appeal. There are many edible plants and trees that are not only delicious but also beautiful. For example, lavender is a popular herb that not only smells great but also adds a lovely pop of purple to your garden. Other edible flowers like marigolds, nasturtiums, and pansies can also add a colorful touch.

Think About Seasonal Harvests

When planning your edible landscape, think about the timing of when your plants will be ready to harvest. Planting a mix of edible plants that mature at different times can help ensure a consistent harvest throughout the growing season. For example, planting early-maturing plants like lettuce and radishes alongside later-maturing plants like tomatoes and peppers can help ensure that you have fresh produce throughout the summer.

Include Edible Shrubs

Shrubs, like blueberry bushes and raspberry canes, are a great addition to any edible landscape. These plants are relatively low-maintenance and can be grown in containers or in the ground. They also provide a delicious and healthy snack for you and your family! When choosing edible shrubs, make sure to consider their size at maturity and select a variety that is well-suited to our Wisconsin climate.

Create a Garden Bed Dedicated to Edible Plants

Creating a dedicated garden bed for your edible plants and trees can help keep them organized and easy to maintain. Raised garden beds are a great option because they provide good drainage and can help keep weeds and pests at bay. When creating your garden bed, make sure to use good-quality soil and consider adding a layer of mulch to help retain moisture.

Pro Tip! Many pests such as aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies can damage or kill your edible plants. However, there are many natural pest control methods that can be used to keep your edible plants healthy. For example, ladybugs and praying mantises are natural predators of many garden pests and can be purchased and released in your yard. Additionally, companion planting, which involves planting certain plants together that complement each other and repel pests, can also be effective in controlling pests.

Establishing edible plants and trees in your landscape is a great way to create a beautiful, functional outdoor space. By selecting the right plants, providing proper care, and utilizing natural pest control methods, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest and a beautiful landscape.

Let our experts guide you in assessing your space and choosing the perfect edible trees, shrubs, and plants to incorporate into your landscape. Contact us today!

How to Achieve an Alpine Landscaping Style

The Alpine Landscaping Style was originally inspired by the mountainous vistas of the European Alps. In the United States, we tend to think of areas that are characterized by sloped terrain, rocky landscapes and dry, well-drained soil. People who live in these areas appreciate the outdoors and prioritize developing spaces for outdoor living. In some ways, the Alpine Landscaping Style overlaps with the Rustic Landscaping Style simply because of our local geography.

Alpine settlers developed their landscapes using the natural features and products available to them. They were surrounded by rock formations, wooded hillsides, tumbling terrain. Bringing this to the modern landscape involves using natural stone materials for paving and walls. Wooden chairs, benches, and structures are used to complete the look.

Alpine Landscaping Style Plantings

  • Specialty Evergreens
  • Poplars/Aspens/Birch
  • Native shrubs
  • Native perennials

Hardscapes and Elements in the Alpine Landscaping Style

  • Outcropping & boulders
  • Natural stone water features
  • Cedar pavilions & furniture
  • Steel fire pits

American Landscape’s expert design team can help you achieve whatever your preferred landscaping style might be, including the Alpine Landscaping Style. Reach out today to start on the path to your dream landscape!

Backyard Renovation Feels Like a Vacation at Home

This backyard renovation was a bittersweet one for our New Berlin, Wisconsin clients.  While they had long dreamed of creating a beautiful backyard oasis where they could entertain, the project was put off for years due to the unexpected passing of their teenage son.  And, standing in the way of the renovation was their late son’s playset.  

This design needed a creative, yet mindful touch.  The clients entertain often and also enjoy traveling.  On their wish list was to create a space that gave them the feel of being on vacation right in their own backyard. To that end, the features they requested included a hot tub, a fire pit, and a large area to entertain friends and family. Of utmost importance was to also provide privacy from the neighbors in the back, as well as around the hot tub area. 

Thoughtful Design for an Expansive Patio and Multi-Purpose Fire Pit

Backyard Renovation

For both the patio and fire pit, we used wet cast pavers to accent and complement the house. The patio also has a double border detail to highlight the curves and corners of the space.  It makes for a spacious and appealing gathering space with plenty of room for multiple tables and chairs. The fire pit is a showstopper, with a full seat wall enclosure to provide a comfortable area to sit by the fire, while doubling as a bar on the backside for bigger parties.  Firewood storage pillars were added with large Lannon stone caps to keep wood dry and readily accessible.

Plantings Lend Privacy for Backyard Oasis

Plantings to Screen Hot Tub Area

The hot tub anchors one corner of the backyard, abutting a neighbor’s yard on the side. To give necessary screening, we surrounded it with juniper and fine line buckthorn. Adding to the ambiance are new garden beds, edged with Lannon cobbles and populated with hydrangeas and ninebark. Large 12-foot arborvitae were installed on the back-property line to instantly provide the privacy needed for this beautiful retreat. 

Finishing Touches


Lighting for Backyard Transformation

To ensure their enjoyment of their backyard oasis extends into the evening hours, we included lighting carefully placed throughout the backyard.

Planting for Backyard Renovation

Lastly, with their late son’s playset gone, we wanted to honor their late son with a memorial magnolia. This colorful focal point will bloom every spring as a memorial. 

Our customers now have a beautiful Backyard Oasis where they can entertain, enjoy the ambiance of the fire with a Brewer game on TV, or enjoy the sounds of live music echoing from down the block while relaxing in the hot tub.  

 Are you ready to create your dream backyard? Let one of our expert designers help you realize your vision for your backyard.  Get in touch! Contact us here or call 262-252-4260 today.