Projects

Living Rooms for the Outdoors

O’Brien Landscape prides itself on our award-winning designs but what brings us the greatest pleasure is creating outdoor living spaces that are a delight for all the senses. Browse through our portfolio to find some inspiration, then let's get started on your dream outdoor living space.

Wilmette

Challenges

This majestic site, located on a steep bluff, had a cumbersome, unattractive retaining wall system that was at odds with the beautiful lake setting.

Challenges:

We had to integrate a new terrace, outdoor kitchen, and fireplace between the house and a magnificent pond

Opportunities & Solutions:

Utilizing stone outcroppings to mimic the pond construction we created an upper and lower terrace delineating a dining room, kitchen, and fireside lounge. The intent was to bring the pond into the outdoor living space, creating a harmonious whole 

Wilmette, IL

Challenges

Our objectives were to eliminate an unusable deck with “bird cage” railings and develop outdoor living zones in the tight space between the home and the detatched garage.

Opportunities & Solutions

We lowered the new deck, providing a comfortable transition between the elegant upper kitchen/dining area and the relaxed lower terrace with seating around a fire table. We integrated the gargage wall into the design, adding a trellis, window boxes, and plantings, providing a beautiful bookend to this cozy outdoor room.

Challenge

The original deck was a stark box, lacking any interest or connection to rear yard.

Opportunities & Solutions

We lowered the deck to develop the feeling of cascading into the yard, replacing railings with benches and a grill island. The new deck flows to a lower stone terrace and fire feature, which creates a gentle connection to the rest of the backyard.

Chicago

Challenges

The goal was to compliment this iconic home with tasteful accents and provide a modern, secluded outdoor living space in an urban setting.

Opportunities & Solutions

Cast iron urns set on limestone pedestals capture the scale of the building and bring color and structure to an area where it is difficult to grow plants in the ground. The terrace is thoughtfully located to protect existing trees, while masonry walls with artwork provide screening from the busy streets. Decorative gravel paths provide access to this sanctuary in the city.

Evanston

Challenges

This historic home had no viable outdoor spaces to connect the home to the yard, which was choked by severely overgrown vegetation. The family wanted room for entertaining as well as to accomodate their young children and large dogs.

Challenges

This new construction home's yard was a clean slate where the owners wanted maximum play zones for the kids yet as much green space as possible in a tight urban environment.

Opportunities & Solutions

We designed clean, simple bed lines to delineate hardscape and softscape zones, allowing for maximum utilization of the space. A sport court was constructed that doubles as a parking pad with retractable gates to gain access to the alley. Outdoor lighting adds both beauty and security while complimenting the home's architecture and landscape.

Wilmette, IL

Challenges

The clients desired a space that appealed to the senses, including water and fire elements, a shaded lounging area, an outdoor kitchen, dining space, a dog run, and screening - all in a modest space anchored with unsightly utilities.

Kenilworth, IL

Challenges

This property was the proverbial low spot on the block. It held lots of water and received everyone else’s. Water does not run uphill, even in a pipe, and the clients needed a solution for times of saturation.

Chicago

Challenges

This charming single-family home is located next to tall apartment buildings, which made the yard feel uncomfortably exposed.

Opportunities & Solutions

We installed and maintain a unique tree hedge, which acts as a living veil that blocks the views to and from the adjacent buildings. A fountain provides pleasant background noise and instills an atmosphere of privacy while  artistic styling draws the eye down to keep the focus within this courtyard oasis. Lighting defines the perimeter of the space, maintaining year-round beauty and security.

Wilmette, IL

Challenges

The owners wanted to beautify and make better use of the empty areas surrounding their backyard swimming pool.

Kenilworth

Challenges

The challenge was to construct a new terrace without disturbing an heirloom elm tree, while making the space feel as if it had always been a part of this stately 1920’s home.

Wilmette, IL

Challenges

Some projects evolve over time. Our goal for this narrow lot was to create continuity between the three distinct living spaces that were built in stages over the course of five years.

Opportunities & Solutions

To ensure a constistant appearance between the outdoor kitchen, dining room, buffet and lounge area, we used thoughtfully unified materials. We combined similar flowers, stone, wood, steel, and glass elements throughout each stage of the project. The result is a cohesive layout carefully blended to create a harmonized "suite" of outdoor rooms.

Wilmette, IL

Challenges

The owners of this gorgeous home wanted a new front landscape and rear terrace, while dealing with the property's drainage issues.

Opportunities & Solutions

A large rain garden was placed next to the driveway which allows a new playground to be located on higher ground for all season play. The segmented design of the gardens reflects the formality of the home's classic architecture, while the hues of the terrace and walkway stonework play off the blue and gray colors of the house. The result is both serene and grand.

Wilmette, IL

Challenges

The goal of the project was to remove a bland patio and transform the featureless yard into an inspired living space and gardens. We also developed a warm, inviting front entry to complement the existing architecture of the home.

Wilmette, IL

Challenges

This country manor needed a plan to graciously connect the home to the backyard swimming pool. Other than a small pool deck there was no place to entertain, and the grill was inconveniently stuck in a landscape bed.

Opportunities & Solutions

Studying the interior layout of the home, we proposed removing a window and then installed double French doors leading to a new raised terrace. The well-appointed entertaining area includes a fire feature, grill, heat lamps and a seating area that allows for attractive views of the yard and pool.

Winnetka

Challenges

The owner wanted a new outdoor kitchen installed directly outside the interior kitchen, topped with a pergola that wouldn't interfere with a clear view of the yard.

Opportunities & Solutions

We engineered and constructed a curved, post-free pergola structure that resulted in unobstructed vistas of the entire pool and yard. Utilizing materials and colors from the interior kitchen, we brought the inside out and created a seamless transition between the two workspaces.

Wilmette, IL

Challenges

The clients' traditional frame house had an aging deck. The sophisticated owners desired a new terrace with a contemporary flair.

Chicago

Challenge

The project entailed constructing two outdoor kitchens on different roof levels and building a significant dining area and fire feature over a three-car garage.

Wilmette

Challenges

The configuration of the mechanicals in the backyard made it difficult to find a convenient, attractive location for the outdoor kitchen. We also wanted to disguise an otherwise plain garage, which was the main focal point of the backyard.