Your Words Are Gold

Post-pandemic conversations are occurring at every level of living, particularly around consumerism, which is what led me to comb through some reports yesterday.

I found that “roughly 75 percent of consumers tried a new shopping behavior in the last 18 months, and more than 80 percent of those intend to continue with new behaviors.” (McKinsey). And that 21% of the US population believes that life will not return to normal post-pandemic, and traditional generational buying behaviors can no longer be put into neat little boxes. (WinBigMedia).

My take away? Change, baby, change! 

Obviously, this got me thinking . . . how does Topiarius thrive in this climate of changing behaviors and ideologies? And more importantly, how do you benefit?

And the answer is through our REFER/EARN Program.

In order for a referral to work, two things need to happen. Who you refer needs to trust you, and two, they have to want the same results.

As new referral clients contact us, I know that these two things have occurred which means . . .

  • Despite the massive shift in purchasing habits, the desire and expectation of quality and reliability hasn’t disappeared.
  • That despite the world feeling unsettled, for the next few months or permanently, the need to live outdoors has not changed. If anything, it’s become intensely valuable.
  • Whether or not you know what life was like pre or post internet, you still want to work with a company that knows how to design outdoors spaces for families that are fun, exciting, and innovative. You want to quickly find the right company to work with because you’re ready to have an outdoor space that looks amazing. And you want the best products that ensure a long-lasting, sustainable outdoor environment.

So even in the new consumer environment, when the world may feel a bit backwards, I know that Topiarius’ mission will continue to be accomplished because you continue to refer us. THANK YOU!

AND, I also know that the benefits of the program go directly into your pocket! Matter fact since we launched REFER/EARN in January of 2021, we have allocated $9,000 plus to our clients because they’ve referred someone to Topiarius.

If you want to join this elite group of REFER/EARN clients, then click here for all the details. There’s no where you need to sign up, you simply have to refer . . . and earn!

Sara J-S

CEO / Co-owner

P.S. Please make sure your referral notes your name . . . that’s how you earn the credit.

Topiarius’ mission is to design, create, and maintain luxurious outdoor spaces because you deserve to live beautifully outdoors.

The Best Paving Options

If you want the best look, the best longevity, the best variety, then you will want to use: CLAY, STONE, or PORCELAIN products. Below are examples of projects where we’ve used these 3 options.

Reclaimed Clay Pavers and Flagtone
Clay Pavers and Bluestone
Clay Pavers and Bluestone
Bluestone and Clay Pavers
Bluestone and Clay Pavers
Porcelain Pavers
Porcelain Pavers
Porcelain Pavers

For your complimentary overview of the  above products, click below.

3D Renderings

If someone talks to you about designing your living space (indoors or outdoors) and they say to you there’s going to be a door here, a wall here, and there’s going to be Water’s Edge blue paint on the wall, and your couch will go here, and . . . and . . . and . . . and . . . can you see it all happen?

OR is your head dizzy and you’re like WTF (at least in your mind)? Do you hear the wah wah wah wah adult voice from Charlie Brown?

I get it. Topiarius gets it. Not being able to see something out of nothing is VERY common and there is nothing wrong with you. Pinky swear.

So this is exactly why I have just posted 3 new projects on our website AND most importantly, they’re all 3D renderings!

We get that living beautifully outdoors is an investment and if you don’t understand what we’re talking about, there’s no way you’re going to move forward with us. (As you shouldn’t.)

Our design contracts include 3D renderings so that you can fully understand how your brand new or updated outdoor space is going to be transformed.

So please take a look and get inspired.

Contact us now so we can get started on your project. We promise we’ll turn the wah wah wah into wow wow wow! 

P.S. If you haven’t heard yet, when you refer Topiarius you can totally earn lot’s o’ credit dollars for yourself? Seriously. Check it out.

March Is About More Than Waiting

If I had to pick any month to epitomize waiting, it’d be a Chicago March.

It’s not winter (really) and it not spring (really) . . . it’s a whiplash of temperatures and light. I’m craving summer and I’m mourning winter because each is so clear on its intent. For example, I know exactly how to dress for each season. (And this is molto importante!)

I started Googling how many hours we humans spend waiting.

  • According to thefactsite, the average person spends five years throughout their lifetime waiting in lines and queues.
  • According to a survey Timex completed (businesswire), it revealed that on average, people wait seven minutes for a cup of coffee, 20 minutes a day in traffic, 20 minutes a day for the bus or train and 32 minutes each time they go to the doctor.
  • According to the AAA (finance.yahoo), the average American spends 17,600 minutes driving each year. That’s 3,520 minutes, or 6 hours, spent waiting at red lights every 365 days. 

My research methods probably need to be refined, but all this to say, it’s not difficult to find out that “waiting” is a THING and often presented as something WRONG because it takes away from fully living.

Our crews take pictures of their work on each client’s site and upload them to our shared folders each day. The past couple weeks have been spring clean-ups and all we see are images of brown landscaping with the intermittent evergreen (thanks, evergreens!). When I look out my window at home I see brown perennials, brown Sweet Autumn Clematis, brown trees, a lawn that is 50% brown. It feels like nothing  is going to change and become beautiful. It doesn’t feel like the garden is fully living.

But, here’s what I’ve concluded: March is the deep breath between big moves.

When I take a deep breath, I’m actually still in motion and living. Big inhales and exhales are calming, provide oxygen for energy, clear the mind in order to focus. In a state of waiting I can do the foundational work needed so when the big moves occur, I’m really ready and can really enjoy it.  

As our crews clean off the remnants of winter and prepare gardens with fertilizers, mulch, and irrigation, gardens are really taking a deep breath so that in another month they’re going to be amazeballs. 

And this is why I’m coming around to liking and appreciating (dare I say, needing?) March. March teaches me a personal lesson. When I’m actively waiting, I’m using that space to do foundational work that’s only going to make me stronger and more brilliant for what’s coming next. March is the deep breath necessary between big moves.

I’m curious if the seasons have taught you any life lessons. I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below.

Sara J-S

CEO / Co-Owner

P.S. Speaking of spring clean-ups? Has yours been scheduled yet? Contact your sales person at 773.944.5400 or online.

Connecting Outdoor Spaces

What if all the hallways in your home were left unfinished? So there were just studs and subfloor. No lovely hardwood floors with carpets or walls to display your amazing art collection or family photograph. I mean this would never be allowed! Rightfully so.

So it is with connecting outdoor spaces. Not only do connections between outdoor spaces give direction they also enhance the experience.

Below are a collection of images exhibiting the ways outdoor spaces can be connected. They range from elevated walkways, aggregate paths, mown grass, mulch, to built paths of concrete, stone, or clay pavers.

Inspiration abounds! Connection is everything,

If you’re curious about what this could look like at your home, contact us now!

From gallery of Horizon House / Bauen. Photograph by Darío Mereles
‘The Cancer Research UK Legacy Garden’, designed by Tom Simpson. Photo: RHS / Neil Hepworth
Leiden Botanical Garden. Photograph © GardenVisit.com
Garden Design Magazine.
Old Oak Stouring Park. Posted by Camp & Glamp Glastonbury.
Pinterest image. Credit unknown.
PHOTO BY: Grant Harder POSTED BY: Dwell
Pinterest Image. Credit Unknown.
Zeterre Landscape Architecture. Posted on Houzz.

4 Ways Nature & Built Environments Work Together

We believe that great design incorporates the following 4 design concepts (to varying degrees) in order to maximize the relationship between built environments and nature.


Structures in the built environment can be designed to frame a view of nature (or skylines). Like the below photo, the entrance and hallway frames the view of the backyard.

Frame View_1
DWELL Magazine. POSTED BY: Kelsey Mulvey

Borrowing views is a concept that dates back to the 18th century in England. “The furniture and landscape designer William Kent is said to be the first to recognize that land outside a garden’s designed space could appear to be part of it. He understood that someone else’s fields or farmlands could be ‘borrowed’ visually to make one’s own lands seem larger.”  

Both images below borrow nature to make their gardens feel larger, whether the lake or the field.

Borrowed View_1
DWELL Magazine. POSTED BY: Frits de Vries Architects + Associates Ltd. PHOTOGRAPHER: Ema Peter
Photo: Patterson Webster. Garden: Glen Villa Gardens


Blurring the lines between natural and built creates a seamless transition that is more comfortable and inviting. Nature should creep in and built spaces should creep out. Feeling like you’re indoors as well as outdoors is the place of connection.

Photo: Cesar Rubio. Project by: Longwell MacDonald
DWELL Magazine. Photo by: Ema Peter


This concept is all about the outdoor room, which is a specific area with a specific function, such as seating area around a fire feature or even a vegetable garden.  Each area/room is positioned in nature, not to look like it magically appeared, but to have a sense of privacy and mystique. 

Photo by: Joe Fletcher. Architects: Feldman Architecture
Photo by: Saxon Holt / PhotoBotanic.com


Getting from point A to point B should not look like a sterile hallway in a hospital. With every turn and glance the experience should be enjoyable while creating anticipation of where you’re going. This is especially true if you’re walking from building to the next or from one point of your garden to another.

POSTED BY: Joanna Shaw. PHOTOGRAPHER: Jeff Roberts
Wallace Landscape Associates

If you’re interested in seeing the integrate of built and native environments for your own home, contact us today

City Soirée

Project Brief

Knowing their 2,043 square foot terrace rooftop in Chicago could be an amazing outdoor space, our clients had begun investing in upgrades before hiring us. But they quickly realized that their original vision wasn’t satisfactory. Upon engagement with us, we excitedly conceptualized how their wide open, unprotected space could fulfill their dreams to live beautifully outdoors.

For this couple, the ease of entertaining was key with space for dinner parties as their highest priority. This meant a dedicated space for their large dining table and multiple spaces for people to gather in – all enhanced by ambient lighting. Our clients were also concerned about privacy from a neighboring building that looked directly onto their space which was addressed through plants as screening and the pergola. The noise of the mechanicals needed to be damped. This gave us an opportunity to define separate areas so that we could play with different materials and level changes through decking. Along with privacy, the sun exposure made the space very hot on summer afternoons and they wanted to find a way to create shade that would withstand the punishing winds off the lake. While the custom panels are fixed in place, their design allows for dappled sun and wind movement. With the addition of heaters anchored on the pergola and a fire feature, the couple has a space for extended seasonal use. And, of course, they wanted plantings that would soften the space and invite you outside. By using/transplanting some of the trees and shrubs they had, and adding other shrubs, perennials, green roof trays, and containers for annual displays an urban garden oasis was created.

Their outdoor terrace went from a Hodge podge commercial looking space to a sophisticated, welcoming, relaxing space that make entertaining a piece of cake!