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Reading the land

After moving to the country, landscape designer Pauline was challenged by the property. There were no gardens, and basically the only good plants were a few large trees. "I was taught to read the land," she says. "It's very hilly here, so I wanted to expand on that theme and create more natural, rolling garden areas."
Pauline Boyle and her husband, Tom, a 30-year veteran of the Chicago police department, lived for years in a suburb where they fell asleep every night to the sound of jets flying overhead. Now, it's rare that they hear an airplane.
In a mass of overgrown brush and tangled undergrowth on her new property, Pauline Boyle found pieces of a large three-tier fountain. She fixed it up and moved it to this spot by her new patio and pergola.
Pauline mixes it up in her gardens, planting an informal collection of annuals and perennials, plus vegetables. “I switch back and forth on what I plant, depending on what mood I'm in,” she says.

Starting from scratch

Pauline Boyle and her husband, Tom, a 30-year veteran of the Chicago police department, lived for years in a suburb where they fell asleep every night to the sound of jets flying overhead. Now, it's rare that they hear an airplane.

Six years ago, after Tom retired, they moved to Barrington Hills, a small town 50 miles west of the Windy City. They bought 5 acres where Pauline could fulfill her dream of raising chickens and peafowl.

A landscape designer, Pauline was challenged by the property. There were no gardens, and basically the only good plants were a few large trees.

"I was taught to read the land," she says.

"It's very hilly here, so I wanted to expand on that theme and create more natural, rolling garden areas."

But there were masses of buckthorn and other tangled undergrowth that needed clearing, so Pauline launched into that huge task. In the midst of this daunting project came two pleasant surprises, however. She unearthed the remnants of a three-tier fountain and an antique birdbath. Now cleaned up and rejuvenated, they occupy places of honor in her yard.

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