Chicago area homeowners spend all winter dreaming about summer and the time they can spend enjoying their yards. Most don't want to slave on their yard, but they do long to enjoy it with family and friends.
Lurvey Garden Center, 2550 E. Dempster St., Des Plaines, works hard to provide homeowners with all of the plant material, hardscape materials and advice homeowners need to create the outdoor home environments of their dreams.
The Lurvey family has been selling sod, landscaping supplies and other garden items from their nine-acre Des Plaines location since 1986 when they purchased the garden center and former truck farm from Ray and Marion Lindemann, who had operated it for about 50 years. The Lurveys continued to operate the business as Lindemann's Garden Center until 1994 when the name was changed to Lurvey.
In 2014 the Lurveys added three greenhouses for additional covered shopping and to protect plants from the elements. They also added more hard surface walks. Then last year, they cut the ribbon on their new 14,000-square-foot building with wider aisles, lots of elbow room and natural light and much more room for garden essentials, boutique gifts, gourmet foods, house plants, fountain-scaping, water-gardening supplies and more.
Lurvey is now a "destination" shop instead of just a garden center. It has a classroom for workshops, a conference room for consultations and even a lounge area with comfortable furniture and a two-story fireplace where customers can read brochures and meet with designers, said Jean Bragdon, operations and marketing/special events manager.
"We also have a conservatory where customers can stop in for grab-and-go gift plants," Bragdon said.
Lurvey stocks and sells trees (including disease-resistant varieties), shrubs, perennials, annuals, hanging baskets, vegetable plants, herbs, sod, hardscapes, stone, soil, water features and much more from its large campus.
The garden center also offers a container planting service -- take in your container and Lurvey experts will plant them for your home or business -- and it delivers and/or plants trees at your location.
"Now that we have the space, we are reaching out even more to the community. We have started a garden club for kids on the third Sunday afternoon of each month, for instance, in order to get the next generation excited about gardening, and we offer many more special events now that we have a place to host people, even in inclement weather," Bragdon said.
Seminars and demonstrations by experts are free while workshops involve a fee and registration. Participants are asked to R.S.V.P. for all.
During the remaining weeks of May, for example, there is a free seminar on pollinators and native plants on May 20; a spring container workshop on May 27; and an organic gardening seminar on May 27. A Grapevine Wreath Decorating Workshop is scheduled for June 10. Check the calendar at lurveys.com for times and other upcoming events in the coming months.
For instance, on the evening of June 7, Lurvey will team up with the Daily Herald for a container gardening program. Appetizers from Johnny's Kitchen and Tap will be served while a gardening expert demonstrates how to make a beautiful container arrangement. Guests will enjoy a 15 percent discount for the evening. Register at events.dailyherald.com.
On July 15-16, Lurvey will hold its Perennial and Summer Garden Fair with inspiring displays, demonstrations, talks, fun activities for kids and more. It is our "midsummer hoopla," Bragdon said.
Then on Sept. 14, the business will once again team up with the Daily Herald for an evening of autumn flavors and fun, which is still being finalized. Register at events.dailyherald.com.
Individualized expert assistance in several forms is available by appointment throughout the year.
If you have a project in mind, but don't know where to start, experienced product specialists can provide the guidance you need through "Lurvey Connect," a free, by-appointment service. They will discuss your project and timeline, help you determine the best starting point, refer you to contractors and even help you choose your materials. But they do not provide design services.
If you need basic, sketched-out design services, Bragdon said, make an appointment for an in-store design consultation and bring photos and measurements of your yard (up to 500 square feet) to the store and get a simple, sketched out planting idea for $149. This is ideal for the do-it-yourself landscaper.
Finally, if you want a comprehensive, draw-to-scale design to hand to a professional landscaper, a Lurvey consultant will make a site visit to your house or business to take detailed measurements and discuss your long-term goals and overall plan and how to get there. Then they will generate a computer-aided design (CAD) layout for you at a price that depends on the size and complexity of the job, but starts at $400.
Lurvey has even initiated a loyalty program that allows members to participate in exclusive sales and receive special perks. For more information about Lurvey Garden Center, visit www.lurveys.com or call (847) 824-7411.