Low-maintenance yards gain ground
Land Escapes Inc., the Barrington-based landscape design and maintenance company, has been improving homeowners' and businesses' exterior environments in one way or another since 2000.
Dean Strom, its owner and a Palatine native, found his calling while mowing and weed whacking neighbors' yards in grade school. Then, late in high school, he began helping with a landscaping business a friend of his sister had started. He then chose to pursue an education in horticulture at Harper College.
Strom worked for that friend's company for 13 years, eventually running the maintenance side of the operation, working with commercial clients and homeowners' associations and handling their accounts.
Then, in 2000, he and two others chose to leave the business and go out on their own. The name of their company -- Land Escapes -- is a play on words that was suggested by his brother-in-law and has often been accompanied by the company's slogan, "Escape the Ordinary," over the past 19 years.
Today, Land Escapes Inc., which also does commercial snow plowing, has 15 employees and serves clients in the Northwest suburbs, primarily, but extending as far as Northbrook on the north and West Chicago on the west. Interestingly, Strom said 95 percent of the company's landscape maintenance clients are commercial businesses, while 75 percent of its installation and design work is residential -- and 100 percent of snowplowing is done for commercial customers.
"We design lots of patios for homeowners, as well as walkways and even driveways," Strom said. "Our patios are generally great for entertaining with seat walls, columns and lighting. Many times we also build firepits and occasionally outdoor fireplaces if people want those. But some towns' codes restrict them."
Land Escapes, which is taking part in the Daily Herald's Get Your Summer On promotion series this year, is also well-known for helping homeowners mitigate problems with wet basements and standing water in the yard by building French drains.
While Land Escapes offers a full complement of landscaping services, from design to installation of everything from trees, bushes, plants and flowers of all kinds, it does not, however, install ponds, fountains, waterfalls or irrigation systems, Strom said.
"Outdoor living has become really big so we find ourselves being asked to do more hardscapes than landscapes these days," he continued. "People are very busy and don't think they have time for a lot of landscape maintenance. They just want to be able to walk outside, light the grill and open a bottle of wine.
"So we are generally asked to concentrate our attention on the patio and plantings right around the house to minimize the time and money involved," Strom said.
Right now, Strom and his crew are scheduling installation work into mid-August because of weather delays. "The economy is so good we are really busy and a shortage of labor right now is preventing us from growing larger."
As for keeping your lawn looking nice despite all of the rain, Strom was reassuring. "Cutting (grass) isn't bad for a lawn unless it is super wet and you get ruts from the equipment. We always want to cut so that we don't fall behind, but if you have a particular area of your lawn that is super wet, ask your lawn maintenance firm to skip that area for a week."
For more information, contact Land Escapes at (847) 670-7301 or visit www.landescapesinc.com.