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.
Inspired by a search for quality dog care for their own dog, the owners of Furtastik—finding no options that satisfied their wants—decided to create a 3.000-square-foot, climate-controlled space themselves. Now, they operate a hands-on, cheerful, and intimate facility for dogs and dog services. Licensed and accredited groomers sculpt away excess piles of fur after they clean, wash, and buff dogs into bright new existence, and organic food products line the front room for canine perusal. Meanwhile, daycare and boarding enrollments are limited to 20 and 10 dogs at a time, respectively, allowing for individual attention and care during the cage-free services.
In the same year that Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick was published and California celebrated its official admission as a state, Hinsdale Nurseries sold its first tree. Since opening its doors in 1850, the family-run nursery—now under the helm of a fourth generation of green thumbs—has upheld its dedication to fostering hardy and beautiful gardens in the oft-extreme climes of the Midwest region, thanks to the staff’s exhaustive knowledge of area growing conditions. These plant enthusiasts coax trees, ornamentals, and perennials from 550 acres of earth in Plano before trucking the verdant bounty to their Willowbrook store for purchase. Hinsdale Nurseries also beautifies green spaces via landscaping services ranging from seasonal yard maintenance to pruning backyard labyrinths and shaving their minotaurs.
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.