Thank you for joining Nick Fobes on a tour of the Historic Hillside Gallery Garden in Winnetka. Enjoy more photos of the project below as well as a detailed plant list.

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Project Overview

Being the home to a family who is passionate about Irish history and art, this property acts as an outdoor gallery, complete with a series of different gardens sparkling with opulent Irish artifacts carefully collected over time and displayed alongside expansive vistas of Lake Michigan.

Touted as Winnetka's oldest home, the immediate gardens surrounding this Irish Georgian-style mansion embrace its history with traditional elements that harken back to its classical aesthetics. Manicured gardens continue from the property's entrance into the side yard, where a family terrace is outlined by a white trellis and softened by verdant plantings with a season rotation of pink and purple annuals. Past the family terrace parterre, a stone walkway leads to a bocce court, surrounded by boxwood hedges and flanked at the far end by one of the owner's curated pieces—an ornate archway that focuses all eyes on the stunning lake view.

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Beyond the formal gardens, what was once a bare expanse of lawn, has been meticulously transformed into a traditional entertainment lawn. In collaboration with an event planner, the team worked through various tenting design options to discretely place anchors and concrete footings to accommodate large tent structures to accommodate 400+ person outdoor gatherings.

Hidden below the great lawn, an engineering feat in its own right, lies a new basement that tunnels from the main home to a gallery space opening onto a pool terrace that appears tucked away, immaculately carved into the sloping coastline. Continuing down the bluff, the landscape seamlessly transitions into an Italianate style with darker stonework, meandering retaining walls, and more naturalistic, cascading plantings.

Today, the property is a celebration of history and home, a space redefined for 20th-century family gatherings and entertainment.


Architect: Northworks Architects

General Contractor: Sylvester Construction Services

Landscape General Contractor: Mariani Landscape

Landscape Masonry: Douglas & Company

Landscape Lighting: Lightscape Inc.

Irrigation: Advanced Sprinkler Systems

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