Re-Imagining the Front Entrance of a Wauwatosa, Wisconsin Home

Our client had a vision for their front entrance. Originally constructed in the 1930’s the concrete porch and walk had settled, cracked and weathered. The existing iron railing was failing and the landscaping was unimpressive, with overgrown and mismatched plantings.

The American Landscape team was charged with creating a front entry that complemented the home’s distinctive architecture and was visually stunning. The client wanted to maintain the original semi-circular layout of the porch landing and add a path to their south patio. The final design included a raised porch landing, primary and secondary walkways, a step at the junction to the city sidewalk, surrounding landscaping and lighting.  

Selecting the Right Materials for Texture, Color & Style 

Choosing the right materials is a critical aspect of creating the right aesthetic for a hardscape project. In this case, our team constructed the new front porch landing using Summit Stone® risers and full nose paver step treads. We flanked the lower step section with low-rise pillars of Summit Stone and Ledgestone caps. 

To introduce additional texture and pattern, the team built the porch landing and walkways with Elements pavers in a three-piece field pattern. A Brussel’s paver accent band is incorporated along the perimeter border, to accentuate the gentle curvilinear layout.

We eliminated an existing path of disheveled stepping stones that connected the front walk with a south side patio and replaced it with a paver walkway of the same materials as the primary front entry walk.

Our designer gave the colors of the materials careful consideration. The façade of the home is a cream brick veneer, so hardscape colors of cream, deep brown, tan and buff were carefully selected to complement and accentuate the home’s exterior.

Finishing Touches: Landscaping & Lighting

Our crew removed declining and overgrown landscaping from the front. We created a combination of formal and casual layouts using classic boxwoods, hydrangea, lilac and assorted perennials.

Low-voltage lighting from Kichler and Volt was used to enhance the night time atmosphere. Path light were positioned along the walkways, and under-cap accent lights were set on the entry pillars to create a soft welcoming glow as one approaches the front door.

Re-imagining the front entrance of this Wauwatosa, Wisconsin home was a challenge and rewarding for both our team and our very happy client.  

Ready to tackle your own dream project? Get in touch with our team today to start the conversation. (262) 252-4260

Why All the Neighbors Can’t Help but Look at the Landscaping of this Brookfield Home

Transforming a blank space takes vision. For this project, we were tasked with the landscape development for a newly-built, contemporary home in Brookfield, Wisconsin. The design and construction involved hardscape, landscape, drainage, irrigation and lighting elements for the property.

“Classic, timeless, simplicity, and refined” were the directives given by the client for the design and implementation of this project. This was achieved through the right selections of hardscape colors, mature landscaping elements and an eye for connecting all the outdoor spaces into one cohesive design.

See the transformation in this short video compilation of before and after images:



Spacious, classic bluestone patios provide restful retreats for peaceful relaxation and stunning sunset vistas.

Retaining Wall & Staircase



Elegant, modern-themed retaining walls and staircase flights transcend the steep grades of the site and the use of U-Cara wall block for the wall and steps complements the modern style of the architecture. 




A sweeping front walkway and intimate courtyard of patterned bluestone creates a beautiful and timeless front entryway to the residence. Pathways of natural flagstone and contemporary rectangular concrete steppers cross the lush green lawns, connecting the outdoor living spaces and introducing texture, pattern and visual interest to the hardscape aesthetic.





Specimen trees, arcing evergreen hedges and generous groupings of flowering shrubs and perennials provide a diverse combination of bloom, structure and seasonal splendor throughout the site.  


As the sun sets, the home comes to life with a stunning display of up-lite trees, highlighted architectural features and the warming glow of path lights along patios, walks and wondering pathways.

All elements of the landscape were carefully designed to complement and beautify the home’s exterior. A mix of materials gives the landscape interest and texture, while the trees, shrubs, and perennials soften the hard edges and provide seasonal color.

Put our talented designers to work on your own landscape project. Contact us today at (262) 252-4260 or

Creating a Rain Garden in Delafield, Wisconsin

Earlier this year, we were happy to be a part of establishing a rain garden at a commercial property in Delafield, Wisconsin.

The purpose of the rain garden is to collect, absorb and filter run off from the parking lot.  A rain garden in this situation has specially engineered soil and filtration layers. Having the rain garden plants and filtration layers serves multiple functions:  

  • helps prevent contaminates from reaching our waterways
  • assists in preventing flooding and drainage problems
  • increases the amount of rainwater that filters directly into the ground
  • benefits our native wildlife because they are filled with native plants 

How a Rain Garden Works

A rain garden sits lower than the drainage pipe to allow as much water as possible to filter through the root systems of the plants and the filtration materials.  In the event of a substantial flood event, water would enter a traditional drainage overflow system to prevent flooding of the public space.  Rain gardens in the home landscape rarely require extra drainage systems as they do not need to filter runoff from a large paved surface. 

On this jobsite, the building contractor engineered and built the structure and American Landscape planted and established the gardens.  The builder constructed the areas for the gardens in fall, but since it was too late in the year to establish the small plants we planned on using, we waited until spring to get started.

Establishing Native Plants in the Rain Garden

First, the crew prepared the area by removing any weeds and lightly tilling the surface, being careful not to damage any layers. 



We sorted the plants by variety and planted them in groupings to mimic the native environment.  A variety of native grasses, sedges and wildflowers were chosen based on their ability to tolerate varying moisture levels.  Over 700 native plants will be used between the 2 beds. You can find native plants that will work for your own rain garden plans here.


Plants will be watered regularly so that they can develop strong root systems, and weeds will be kept to a minimum to prevent competition as the young plants grow.

Once they are established the garden will require little care, other than monitoring for and removing invasive weeds, and some watering during times of drought.  As with any planting, a little maintenance will always be required, but the payback to the environment in this situation is well worth the effort.  

We were grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a project and look forward to future projects as more and more communities are starting to require environmentally sound storm water management practices.

If you’re interested in learning more about rain gardens you can go to this link provided by the Wisconsin DNR

Our designers have the expertise to work with you to create your own rain garden. Get in touch today to schedule a time to discuss your plans.

A Landscaping Makeover

Brookfield, Wisconsin


Our clients purchased this Brookfield, Wisconsin property because they were looking for a home more conducive to spending their golden years than their previous two-story home, which was located atop a large hill. This particular home struck their fancy, mainly for its unique configuration with a central courtyard in the back of the home. They have a special appreciation for the outdoors and landscape, and felt like the footprint afforded unique opportunities for strong visual and physical connections, as well as an uninterrupted flow from the interior to the outdoor living spaces.


Front Entrance BEFORE


Front Entrance AFTER


With those goals in mind, the home was completely re-imagined both inside and out, in collaboration with an architectural team. Interior walls and functionality were reorganized to create an open concept and new opportunities for clear sight lines through the center of the home out to the landscape. Furthermore, the rear wall to the courtyard was replaced by floor-to-ceiling sliding glass panels – basically putting the courtyard space on center stage within the context of the building architecture.

Courtyard BEFORE


Courtyard AFTER


The design challenge, as we saw it, was to create a plan that worked in context with the very symmetrical, modern appearance of the home, yet broke from that rigidity to create a softer, more livable feeling within the outdoor space. With that in mind, the hardscape was organized to highlight the newly-created visual corridor through the center of the home from front to back.

Along this central axis is a front entrance courtyard with a raised central planting bed and over-sized black metal planters planted with rotating seasonal decor.



Paving material selections were intended to blend with the contrasting black and white color scheme on the building exterior. Paving stones were selected to be large so as to contrast with the size of the bricks on the façade. Planting beds were intentionally woven through the space in a very non-symmetrical manner to accomplish the goal of softening the lines. Site furniture was meticulously selected for its combination of modern appearance and ergonomic comfort.

See the full transformation in the video.

Ready to tackle your own landscaping transformation? Get in touch with one of our expert designers today!

May Landscaping Checklist


  • Remove spent flowers and foliage (once yellowed) on spring flowering.
  • Plant tender annuals after the last expected frost date, approximately May 15.
  • Set flower supports early. Let plants grow through them.
  • Over-wintered tender annuals or tropicals such as hibiscus, gardenia, mandevilla and geranium may be pruned, cleaned, fertilized and gradually introduced to a protected location outdoors once night temperatures reach 50°F.
  • Begin pinching top 1-2 inches of new growth on chrysanthemums to encourage full bushy plants.
  • Prune sage, butterfly bush, Russian sage and Caryopteris back to the point of new growth.
  • With sharp spade, edge flower beds.


  • Fertilize with a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer and apply a broadleaf herbicide for weed control.
  • Make sure you are mowing at the proper height.  Never remove more than 1/3 of the turf height at one time.  We recommend keeping your grass at a length of approximately 3”.
  • Re-seed or repair damaged turf areas. Keep newly seeded or sodded turf areas well watered.


  • Prune spring flowering shrubs right after they are done flowering.  These plants use the growing season to develop next year’s flowers, so pruning them late in the season will prune off next year’s blooms!  These include:  Forsythia, lilac, viburnum, fothergilla, kerria, mockorange and weigela.
  • Start monitoring your plants for pest infestations. Insects in moderation are a natural and necessary part of the environment, but excessive groups of them or excessive damage from them sometimes warrants treatment.  Contact your landscape professional for identification and a treatment plan.
  • Apply systemic insecticides to trees and shrubs (for example birch & viburnums) prone to borer right after they are done blooming.
  • It’s still a good time to apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to shrubs and perennials.

Download Checklist

Spotting and Treating Turf Damage from Winter

Is that grass I spy finally emerging? We’ve had some heavy snowfall this winter! Because of the thick snow cover we’ve had this season, many of you will probably look out one day and see damaged areas in your turf. Let’s address some of the things that may be the culprit:

Moles and voles:  These will look like little trails through your lawn.  The animals burrow right under the soil surface and move through your yard.

Snow Mold:  This is a fungal issue and will manifest as 2’-3’ large bleached out looking areas in your turf.  

Salt and plow damage.  These are obvious reminders of what we endured over the winter and are found along the edges of driveways and walkways or where snow piles containing salt have been sitting. Turf may also be torn up from plows or snow blowers, or it may be brown and dead from excessive salt.

Restoring Damaged Turf

Now the good news! Turf is tough and generally easy to restore. In most cases raking out the dead areas and allowing nature to take its course is enough, although with plow damage, you do want to replace any divots to allow the turf to root back in.  As the weather warms and grass starts growing, these areas will repair themselves.  A light over-seeding after raking can also be beneficial.

In more severe cases you may want to add topsoil and do a more thorough patching with seed and straw, straw mat, or Penn Mulch.  Make sure to wait until the ground is warm enough to do your seeding in the spring.  For best results, daytime temperatures should be at least in the 60’s for a period of time before you put down new seed.  

Preventative Measures to Take in Fall

While there is no guaranteed prevention against damage each year, you can mitigate damage in the fall by doing a few things:

  • Contact a pest control specialist regarding moles and voles in your yard and follow their recommendations.
  • Use plow markers to indicate the edges of your driveways and walks.
  • Use ice melt products in moderation per manufacturer’s instructions.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about snow mold as we can’t control our weather conditions.  Thankfully with a little TLC the turf will recover quickly on its own. If you would like some professional help with your lawn and garden maintenance, get in touch today for a consultation and quote. Call us today! (262) 252-4260.