The Perfect Outdoor Spaces
After being cooped up all winter long, there's nothing locals look forward to more than enjoying their summers outdoors. And for more than 22 years, they've turned to Horvat Design Group to create perfect outdoor spaces.
Photography by Jim Prisching
My grandfather was a landscaper. My father was a landscaper. And I’ve been a registered landscape architect in Illinois for over 20 years,” says Dan Horvat, owner of Horvat Design Group, a landscape architectural design build firm which has created its reputation for quality and excellence by beautifying the North Shore. They specialize in building award-winning water features (including pools), perennial gardens, and hardscapes made with natural stone.
Horvat was also one of the first firms to reorient how the barbeque was featured in a landscape design. “We turned it around so that our clients no longer had their backs to their guests when they entertained,” Horvat says. “What makes us different from other firms is that we offer our clients the total package. From the plants, to the views, to the hardscapes—we think about how these all work together—how the space flows.”
To Horvat and Horvat Design Group as a whole, psychology plays a large role in the design of an outdoor room. “When we meet with clients, I like to assess their existing site and see how I feel standing there—what’s good about it and what bothers me,” he says. “We then conceptually create the flowing outdoor spaces, or ‘rooms’ as we call them, that are comfortable whether it’s just the two of them or a party of 20.”
Horvat is also a stickler on quality, giving his cell phone number to each of his clients. “I’m involved in every aspect of every project,” he explains. “When we’re working on a masonry project, I may visit the site twice a day during the work. My guys get nervous when they see me coming,” he adds with a laugh. “Because if something’s not perfect, I will make them fix it. If it was my BBQ, or my fireplace, it would drive me crazy if it wasn’t perfect.”
As a high honors graduate from the University of Illinois’ Landscape Architecture Program, Horvat prides himself on the engineering he has in his background. “More and more, clients call on us to help them problem solve. And it doesn’t always involve a landscape issue. It may be a leak in their pool or a crack in the wall of their house. Our clients know us for our practical experience, too.”
Most of the crews at Horvat Design Group have worked together for 20+ years, especially their stone masons. “Our customers really like our friendly crews. They quickly have a comfortable relationship with our team,” says Horvat.
Having just finished one of Lake Forest’s largest historic garden renovations, where he devoted himself over the past three years, Horvat is looking forward to new and interesting design challenges this spring. “We love to have our clients tour our garden center in Lake Bluff to pick out their own flowers and plants. It’s just another way we ensure their new outdoor space is all about them.”
To learn more about Horvat Design Group, call 847-234-5400, or visit them online and review their picture galleries at horvatlandscaping.com.