Dealing with a Difficult Slope

This client had a failing stairway and hodgepodge of slope, plant and utility problems along the side of their home.  There was no good way to get from the front yard to the back yard.

We proposed a wrapping stair way and planter design that would be safe, functional and attractive.

Our crew did a great job, responding to hidden challenges and adjusting on the fly.  The client is thrilled with their new side yard.




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Driveway Entrance Facelift in Brimfield, Il

This Brimfield client had old driveway entrance that did not complement their beautiful property and home.   The home owner had a vision for something more grand.  Together, we investigated ideas and similar projects Designer Concepts had completed.  The result was a transformation that added elegance and beauty to their driveway entrance.  We used Unilock retaining wall block and pavers to revamp their culvert walls and create columns and walls that frame their approach to the house.





Dealing with Wet, Clay Soils

When you dig in the dirt like we do, you occasionally find some unexpected things underground.  This patio project started as a routine excavation.  We removed the old concrete patio and found a spongy, clay subsoil that would not dry out. 

Kevin and Shawn prepare the base for a new paver patio

Kevin and Shawn prepare the base for a new paver patio

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If we were to build directly on this soil, our patio would settle and shift. Owner and Project Manager Corey Koch determined that we needed to reinforce the base material to stabilize the patio.  Corey is a Certified Paver Installer through the International Concrete Paver Institute training, the international authority on paver patio construction.

Corey’s training and experience told him that the answer to the problem was to add both lateral support and vertical support to the crushed rock patio base.  Our team installed Geo-grid to provide lateral support that keeps the patio from shifting from side to side. 

Then they enclosed the area with a woven landscape fabric to keep the base rock from sinking into soil, stopping any settlement.  This combination will allow us to bridge the wet clay and provide a stable base for the client’s paver patio.  We will show you more photos after the project is complete.


Some Dos and Don'ts For Your Plant Beds


Nothing says spring like a freshly mulched planting bed. Mulch protects tree trunks from lawn mowers, suppresses weed growth in flower beds and helps retain moisture for plant root systems. But improper mulch use can harm your landscape. Too much mulch disrupts airflow and may encourage insects and disease.

Plants will benefit from mulch in any season as long as they have the right amount. Tree rings and shrub beds do well with 3"-4" of mulch. Don't allow mulch to be piled on trunks or bury branches. Both perennial and annual flowers only require a 2" layer of mulch during the growing season, but a thicker 6" layer in late fall will protect them from winter cold.  We recommend a pre-emergent herbicide, like Preen, to reduce weeds in your plant beds.  

The desire for longer lasting mulch color has given rise to the use of color-enhanced or dyed mulches. Buyer beware, all mulches fade. It is merely a matter of how quickly. Hardwood mulches are naturally dark in color because they come from hardwood trees. They do break down more quickly, but add nutrients to the soil.


Color enhanced mulches often come from shredded lumber or pallets. The dye not only fades, but also can stain hands, tools, and sidewalks. We recommend shredded hardwood mulch for its added nutrient value and natural appearance, but personal preference still rules the day here. Choose the mulch that compliments your home or business best.

Did you know that we provide both mulching and bed maintenance services?

Call us if we can help at 309-303-0919.

East Peoria Walkway Upgrade

This East Peoria client wanted a more direct and attractive connection between their front walk and their garage, as well as a beautiful garden space. So we provided that for them!


The sun finally came out long enough to dry out our East Peoria project and we were able complete the front walkway. As seen in the “before” photos, the concrete front step was crumbling and there was no walkway from the house to the garage. We have now connected that area with a paver step and walkway that contains attractive hues of blue to match the house siding. There is also a nice mulched area with steppers all ready for plants of their choice.