Tag Archives: hardsurface

Long Grove Bluestone Patio and Fire Pit

One of the advantages of doing great work for nice people is that they share the excitement of their new landscapes, with their families and friends…and with us through photos and videos.

These are not professionally staged photos by acclaimed photographers.  These are real photos that depict daily life, taken after they finished their cup of tea while enjoying a seat by a fire on an Autumn evening.

I love it when our customers send me these moments, because there is great satisfaction in helping them have a more enjoyable and hopefully more serene, relaxing interaction with the outdoors.

Here are two photos of a bluestone patio and custom fit pit sent to us from a customer in Long Grove, Illinois.  The landscape architects on the project were our very own Harry Vignocchi and Ken Horinko.

A great thank you to our customer for sharing them.

-Donna Vignocchi Zych

Full range ashler pattern bluestone

Granite Boulder Fire Pit embedded in bluestone patio

Never to early to plan

At ILT Vignocchi we love those folks who call us in late fall and winter in order to start planning their next year’s project.

Winter Containers


Typically those are people who have been through the process before.  Be it a landscape renovation or a remodeling project.  They have correctly found that the most successful projects are those that are not just flushed out creatively, but those where the time line and how construction will ultimately effect your lives is planned out as well.

There are steps involved in planning and executing a renovation that are sometimes perceived as “surprise delays” because some designers and project managers don’t communicate them until the paperwork is signed.  Below are some of those items that you should be aware of, and ask your professional about prior to committing to a provider.

The permitting process.  Many Villages differ when it comes to requirements, fees and timeliness of a response.  What you can expect is 2-4 weeks for a response depending on your project’s complexity.  There may be revisions because codes are constantly changing.  Most Villages require a fee that is non-refundable.  At ILT we handle the permitting process for our customers because it can be confusing and laborious.

Material procurement.  Not all materials are readily available and some have to be custom made.  Our project managers have these conversations with customers during the material selection process so it is not a surprise when you are waiting 4-6 weeks for a custom counter top for an outdoor kitchen or a special name plate for your outdoor fireplace.

Scheduling.  It may sound simple, but most companies have a back log.  Always ask what it is and keep track of it during the process.  Spring tends to come with longer backlogs than fall. Take advantage of placing a deposit to hold a space.

Effect on your lifestyle.  I find it shocking how many people call and say they are having a huge family event in 30 days and can we design and install a new patio for them in that time.  It is always best to really consider what your summer schedule is and plan accordingly. Waiting until the last minute can lead to lapses in quality.



Newly installed patio and seat wall in Glenview, IL

The hardsurface industry has made some gigantic strides in terms of creating concrete products that resemble more closely natural stone.  When these products first hit the market decades ago, they were long lasting, but still looked like concrete and had a hard time holding their color over a long period of time.  Eventually turning “concrete grey.”

Today products have evolved in both reliability, quality and aesthetics.  Since we view ourselves as very picky about such things we are thrilled to continue to introduce and install these products for our customers.

Below is a recent installation in Glenview, Illinois, that we are pleased to announce will be submitted for Unilock’s Awards of Excellence competition.

Furnishings and annual flowers by others

Furnishings and annual flowers by others

Unilock Double Border (color: Courtstone)

Unilock Double Border (color: Courtstone)

Unilock Rickcliff patio (color: mix of Dawn Mist & Pebble Taupe)

Unilock Rickcliff patio (color: mix of Dawn Mist & Pebble Taupe)

Patio Glenview Patio Glenview Patio Glenview Patio Glenview

Unilock Rivercrest Piers & Seat Walls (color: Coastal State)

Unilock Rivercrest Piers & Seat Walls (color: Coastal State)