Under the guidance of founders Juan Hernandez and Anay Garcia, the professional landscapers at Sunnyview Landscaping keep home exteriors looking their best. In 2001, the company owned only a single truck and lawn mower. Today, it handles a wide range of services, including full-landscape construction, maintenance, and tree care. Landscapers leave lawns dappled in pleasant shade by healthy trees for summertime parties. In the winter months, homeowners can call upon the team to remove snow from driveways and sidewalks, which can be slippery or attract large groups of landscape painters.
Lawn Doctor's roots lead back to the mid 1960s, when friends Bob Magda and Tony Giordano took on the endeavor of reviving uncared-for lawns in their hometown of Matawan, New Jersey. Their local business has since blossomed into a national franchise with more than 400 locations across the United States, each adhering to the mission of enhancing lawns' allure with time-tested techniques, dedicated customer service, and dabs of foundation makeup.
Before Lawn Doctor's assiduous staffers unleash expertise on swards, they arrive at the client's home for a complimentary consultation to gauge each lawn's specific needs. Grass gurus can thicken turf with their patented Turf Tamer power seeder and foster healthy growth for grass, trees, and shrubs with fertilizer. Uninvited lawn assailants—such as grubs, ants, and grazing neighbors—shudder at the sight of Lawn Doctor's pest-control experts. With Lawn Doctor’s Yard Armour, annoying flying pests like mosquitoes can be contained to return enjoyment to outdoor spaces. The company also helps to preserve Mother Nature's receding hairline with organic lawn treatments and natural, eco-friendly products.
The Center has welcomed kids onto its farm since 1936. It probably wasn't as much of a novelty back then, when Illinois was home to more than 220,000 farms and the U.S. government issued everyone a farmer's hat at birth. But that number has decreased steadily with each decade, dropping to just 76,000 by 2010, per the USDA. Which means that today, The Children's Farm at The Center gives kids and their families something increasingly special: the chance to experience life on an independent rural farm. Here, chickens lay eggs, goats give milk, and horses eat hay harvested right on the farm. The staff also leads tours of these grounds and explains how each animal fits into farm life. They even let kids pet some of the livestock before finishing up tours with a hayride.
For a completely immersive experience, The Children's Farm hosts summer camps for ages 3–17. During each camp session, campers live on the farm for days or weeks at a time, spending their days riding horses and caring for the animals.
County Line Orchard embraces guests with outstretched branches that hold more than 20 varieties of apples and a pumpkin patch flush with the warm and welcoming colors of the autumn harvest. Friends and families can traverse an orange-tinted wonderland with unlimited access to harvest activities of all sorts, from Moo-Choo tractor rides to fruit-picking excursions in the orchard. Those who attempt to navigate the two 10-acre corn mazes are well advised to fill rucksacks with butter, as even steadfast explorers must occasionally use their teeth to hack a path through the profusion of twists and turns. Bellies not filled with raw corn can make room for the bakery’s famous homemade donuts (not included in this Groupon) or an apple snagged from one of five U-Pick fields to which Grouponers enjoy unfettered access. Pumpkins available for purchase make ideal jack-o'-lanterns or catapult fodder, though honey farmers beseech guests to aim all launches away from the orchard’s active beehives.
City Escape Garden Center and Design Studio fills 17,000 square feet of space with pottery and internationally sourced houseplants, trees, and shrubs. Take a topiary-centric trip to the Eastern Hemisphere with a japanese maple ($144.99 for 6 gallon), or adorn yards with an ornamental, evergreen, or conifer tree ($29.99+). Embed shrubs, 6-inch table ferns ($14.99), or stolen Betamax players in one of City Escape's indoor or outdoor pots made from cast stone, iron, or fiberglass ($8.99+). The ever-changing gardening gamut encompasses grasses, perennials, and annuals, as well as trellises, bird feeders, and other accessories. City Escape beckons motorists with plentiful free parking, keeping greenery gurus from crowding the rush hour "L" with yet another tree.
For the designer Marisa Gora of Kemora Landscape Designs, it's not enough for a garden or yard to be beautiful. It must also be functional, and it has to work with the natural environment it borders. It's no question that she holds her work to a high standard. But it's the way she surpasses even those standards that has earned her company awards from Angie's List, the Flower and Garden Show (which applauded Kemora's work on the American Girl Garden), and the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association.
Her business's mission to give beauty and function equal importance might have something to do with Marisa's background: she was pre-med at the University of Chicago when she decided to switch careers. Her love of drawing and previous work in landscape maintenance for the Wilmette Park District sparked the inspiration that eventually drew her to landscape design. After graduating and working in the industry, she founded Kemora, and today gives life to homeowners' design dreams.