Jay and Jill have a beautiful, active family that they are absolutely in love with. They have a vibrant social life and live in a home in Glen Ellyn, Il, that fits their taste and lifestyle perfectly, but…something about the landscaping just didn’t seem right. The problem was they weren’t exactly sure what was “wrong.” It just didn’t feel right, so they called Hursthouse in search of an answer.

It didn’t take Bob Hursthouse long to recognize what it was that wasn’t clicking with their landscaping: “It was simple. Though the landscape had been done well from a construction standpoint, the design did nothing to reflect the family’s lifestyle, the home’s architecture, or who Jay and Jill really are.”

“Jay and Jill had built the new house and done an amazing job—the look and feel of the home was crisp, formal, and elegant—a perfect fit for the owners and their family. In order to complement the home’s design and his clients’ architectural taste, Bob knew that the landscape needed to be tight, tailored, and ordered while at the same time providing space for their active children to play.


Hursthouse’s plan includes three key concepts:

  • Geometrical lines of force that emphasize the order and elegance of the home.
  • A construction material palette that uses building materials that either replicate or complement the home’s architecture.
  • Water. Jay, Jill and kids love water, and the plan accommodates that love with five water features.

The first phase of the project focused on the front of the home.

Hursthouse redid the front sidewalk by creating foreground and putting a subtly patterned cut bluestone walkway square to the home’s architecture. This creates a completely different, welcoming approach to the house that allows the grandeur of the front entry to be more fully appreciated.

“We aligned the planting beds to frame the front lawn and placed a fountain that is centered on the home’s front dining room window,” Bob says. “It’s a grand embellishment that projects a fabulous focal point from any angle.”

The choice of bluestone for the walk and limestone for this spectacular fountain plays off of the cut limestone on the house and creates a sense of formality and sophistication.

The second phase of the project was the back yard. A much more complex endeavor, the yard had a big, sloping hill that dropped off, which meant Hursthouse needed to engineer the site, perform extensive re-grading and build retaining walls, ultimately creating five spaces at varying unique elevations.

Highlights of the backyard include a main terrace for entertaining that opens onto the grand lawn with its central fountain framed by a brick retaining wall. The wall is anchored at both ends with matching classic dolphin fountains. The fire pit defines its garden for evening use. An exquisite 12-month pool and spa with its own water feature of brass scuppers is located at a lower elevation for additional privacy.

The transitions of the backyard spaces flow as beautifully as the water features. From the spacious back terrace to the cozier fire pit, each area offers beauty and comfort.

The final aspect of the backyard plan was a very practical one: Jay and Jill love their four dogs, and they needed a place for them to run without damaging the landscaping. Hursthouse filled that need by designing a gate-accessible utility area. Even the dogs have their own space!


Jay and Jill have been enjoying their Hursthouse landscape for four years now, and it is indeed a perfect fit to their home, their personalities, and their lifestyle.

It was built for the enjoyment of the family—to make the outdoors an extension of the home. And that is exactly how it feels. Family activity is thriving…and the pool and spa have really made a splash.

Bob asks his clients how they want to live, and then the Hursthouse team gets to work so that answer can become reality. For Jay and Jill, the landscape of their grand, tailored home is elegant, warm, and inviting. It is not only beautiful, but also full of life.

Jay and Jill aren’t the only ones who are thrilled with the work Hursthouse has done with their landscape. The project has been selected to receive an Excellence in Landscape GOLD Award in Residential Landscape Construction by the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association. As one of the award judges summed it up, “Stunning! What more can be said? 10 perfect 10s!”

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