H+G Landscape


The landscape firm Heynssens + Grassman Inc., headed up by René Grassman Heynssens and Chris Heynssens received high honors recently for their outstanding work on two challenging North Shore properties. An annual competition hosted by the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association invites submittals from its members across Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, and Iowa to participate in the awards program that recognizes individual firms for their excellence in the landscape industry.

This makes three awards in three years for the firm, which specialize in high-end, unique, and design-driven projects. The competition peaks shortly before the holidays when the honorees are informed just in time for recognition at the industry’s annual winter convention called Mid-Am. Remarkable “before” and “after” photographs of the award-winning projects are blown-up to poster-size and put on display where the almost 13,000 Mid-Am attendees pass by and pay tribute.

Both of this year’s award-winning projects, a Winnetka and a Lake Forest residence, entailed the complexities of an historical restoration in tandem with modern feats of engineering to include luxury amenities like pools, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, and plenty of garage and parking space, “…Complimentary to the architecture and surroundings”, remarked one of the ILCA judges. The actual awards ceremony takes place on February 25th at the Drury Lane Oakbrook where Heynssens + Grassman will share the accolades with the rest of their design team with whom they collaborate on the sixty or so projects they do a year, mainly on the North Shore. Earlier in 2004, another one of the firm’s projects was recognized with a plaque from the Lake Forest Historic Preservation Society for recycling the remnants of an old-time, wooden cold frame and reusing the materials to construct a plant pergola on an historic property.

Heynssens + Grassman, Inc. is one of only a handful of landscape companies that is female-owned and operated, with René Heynssens, a grad of the Harvard School of Design, holding the position of president of the company.

Besides her involvement in the day-to-day operations of her firm she lends her 25 years of industry experience to the board of the Illinois Landscape Contractor’s Association and mentors other women in the field through various workshops and seminars.

René Grassman Heynssens and Chris Heynssens met while they each worked at other firms and later combined their talents as landscape architects to found the firm that bears their names. They first set up shop from their own home in Libertyville, Illinois, geographically ideal to serve their target clientele along the North Shore. Now in a larger space further up the shore they continue to court challenging design projects, some of which last several years at a time, and have been featured on the cover of West Suburban Living Magazine as the new trend in “Patio-chic”.

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