Project Spotlights

Fountain Parterre Garden

Fountain Parterre Garden
Fountain Parterre Garden
Fountain Parterre Garden
Fountain Parterre Garden

Project Details:

  • High-end Residential Design for a Medieval-inspired fountain and garden.
  • Recipient of the 2023 ILCA Excellence in Landscape Gold and Platinum Awards

Austin Engineering’s Roles:

  • Sean Rennau, Project Lead
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Civil Engineering
  • Land Surveying

Project Overview:

Now and then, Austin Engineering receives a request for site design that entails a unique landscape architectural component.  Recently one of these projects received some exciting praise and recognition from the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA).

Every year, the ILCA invites participants to submit their best works for a chance to be honored at its annual Excellence in Landscape Awards Ceremony in Schaumburg, IL. First started in 1972, the purpose of the awards program is to be a source of inspiration and education, allowing fellow landscape contractors to compare different design styles and materials, and get new ideas. Each project entry is anonymously judged by industry peers from across the Midwest and awarded a Gold or Platinum award based on the quality of materials and workmanship, execution, function, aesthetic aspects, and presentation. The Judges’ Platinum designation is only awarded to the top of each class.

For this year, Austin Engineering entered its Fountain Parterre Garden for consideration. Our team was pleasantly surprised when the ILCA awarded the project with their highest accolades: the Gold and Platinum Excellence in Landscape awards for the Specialty Element category.

The client desired a Medieval European-style formal garden for their residence. The site for the garden was situated on a river bluff that allowed for the creation of a series of formal garden terraces to traverse the backyard hillside. The first in this series of terraces would be the Fountain Parterre Garden, with the focal point being a 15-foot-tall, hand-carved three-tier limestone fountain.

“One of the best surprises relating to this project was the joyful journey of creating a program for the project and developing relationships with the client and consultants from all over the world. These new friendships helped to develop a unique knowledge and appreciation of medieval European cloister gardens and Gothic architectural design principles. However, hearing the client rave and celebrate over their completed garden and fountain was without a doubt the apex of the project.” – Sean Rennau, Project Lead

Project Highlights:

  • Design inspiration was taken from Medieval European cloister gardens and Gothic architecture.
  • The garden features a large-scale, one-of-a-kind, hand-carved three-tier limestone fountain.
  • The hand-carved limestone was also accented with custom ornate bronze sculptures.
  • Linear clipped hedges, topiary, espalier trees and mass plantings of flowers fill the parterre.
  • The vision was to create a fountain and terrace design that “walks a fine line” of using authentic medieval design principles while evoking a timeless sense of reality. One step into this fountain terrace and we feel this goal was accomplished.
  • Sean Rennau was the lead landscape architect and civil engineer for this project.
  • Notable comments from the ILCA Excellence in Landscape judges:
    • “I read the description before looking at any of the photos. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but when I opened the first photo, I actually said WOW out loud to myself. What an impressive fountain and garden area.”
    • “Unique, Fabulous, Breath-taking, Very Complex project from A to Z. All expectations met!!”
    • “Very well done with manicured hedges, simple plant palette and detailed large fountain.”
    • “Fits the house architecture well.”
    • “Excellent attention to detail for unique homeowner’s goals and doing the research to make it possible. Wonderful symmetry to surrounding plantings to compliment central fountain area. Water is falling lovely and nicely over the tires. Gorgeous.”