How Green Roof Consulting Benefited Orland Park

Posted by Ecogardens


In partnership with the Village of Orland Park, the Ecogardens team developed a novel model of green roof construction. Not to brag, but this consultation-based approach to green roof design and installation is something we need more of.

Download our FREE infographic explaining the benefits of green roof consulting.

Here at Ecogardens, we like to be groundbreaking.

Not just in the literal sense (although we do enjoy the prospects of a fresh project), but also in the figurative sense: If we can put a novel spin on an old model and make it work better, why wouldn’t we?

That’s why when the Village of Orland Park reached out to us to build them a green roof, we came back with a truly collaborative idea: Why not work together?

Our thinking was simple: If we could save the city money, impart ecologically conscious ideas to city workers, and create an amazing municipal amenity space all at the same time ... obviously we’re going to, right?

... Right? RIGHT.

So that’s exactly what we did. From the first foray into design through to the last native planting – and the ongoing tweaking that is a part of any stewardship contract – we have put our very best ideas into this project.

It stands to reason, therefore, that we had to tell you all about it. If you are considering a green roof, but want to cut costs and learn lots, we’ve included all our secrets below.

Read on, or download our beautiful infographic to share with family, friends, colleagues, peers and fellow restaurant-goers. (Okay, maybe not that last one. It’s lunchtime; sue us.)

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Topics: Green Roofs

SPOTLIGHT on Water Pollution: The Biggest Problems + What We’re Doing

Posted by Ecogardens


That water pollution exists is hardly a state secret. What form it takes and what we should do about it, however, are facts a little less well-known. Here’s the skinny.

The Blue Planet got that name for a reason (and it’s not because it’s full of Democrats.)

Earth earned its moniker for the simple reason that it is largely composed of water – 71 percent, according to our good friends at NASA. It’s spread out across the oceans, lakes and rivers of the world, and trickles through soil, aquifers and Other Underground Spaces.

Sadly, that water is not as pure as it used to be. Not by a long shot.

Today, water pollution is one of the biggest issues we face, and solving it is crucial for the wellbeing of people, wildlife and the planet as a whole. As with most things, knowledge is the first step in becoming good stewards. Let’s take a look at where water pollution is found and what forms it takes today.

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Topics: Stewardship

Cradle to Cradle as a Way of Life: An Interview with Jack Pizzo

Posted by Ecogardens


If you’ve long believed that you must choose between a garden that looks like a magazine spread and one that helps the Earth, think again: Jack Pizzo is here to set you straight.

(Download a free PDF of this interview to take with you, and share it with family and friends!)

With the global climate crisis in full swing and environmental panic mounting, more people than ever are asking: “What can we do?”

When they’re told to change their gardens, plant more natives and keep a weather eye on their pollinator populations, however, many folks become a bit wary. They like their gardens how they are, thankyouverymuch.

That’s where The Pizzo Group comes in, self-described as “a family of four companies that restores ecosystems and provides sustainable landscape solutions that are both beautiful and functional.”

Jack Pizzo, president and senior ecologist of all four companies, as well as the past president of the Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, is happy to report that interest in natural landscapes is rising, from residential backyards to large swaths of public land.

Increasingly, individuals, organizations and municipalities are reaching out to design landscapes that, as Pizzo says, look “like Martha Stewart’s perennial garden except that it’s native plants. People are beginning to see nature as an asset and not a liability.”

A development of which, it goes without saying, we are huge fans.

That’s not to say we’ve fixed every problem in the landscape industry or that we’re perfect stewards, however. Far from it. Recently we were lucky enough to sit down with Jack and have a heart to heart on these issues.

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Topics: Stewardship

Citizen Scientists at Their Best with the Monarch Community Science Program

Posted by Ecogardens


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Topics: Stewardship

SPOTLIGHT on the Living Shorelines Act

Posted by Ecogardens


As our coastlines face increasing threats from climate change, threatening to submerge natural areas and displace people, a new bill proposes putting nature to work for change.

You already know we’re huge fans of nature. Walking in it. Barbecuing in it. Bathing in it, even. You get the picture.

Now it’s time to put nature to work protecting our shorelines, oceans, coastal inhabitants and wildlife.

How? Well, that’s just what the Living Shorelines Act proposes to answer. Before we look at that, though, let’s take a gander at why shoreline restoration is so important and the role nature plays in stormwater management.

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Topics: Stewardship

What Can You Do to Help Earth TODAY? (A Citizen Action Sheet)

Posted by Ecogardens


Being a good Earthling sometimes feels impossible, but there are some surprisingly easy steps you can take to improve your environmental stewardship today. That’s why we’re giving you this Citizen Action Sheet for free!

Download our free checklist to share with family and friends today.

Okay, let’s just take a second and acknowledge: Do-gooders can be annoying.

Yes, even to those of us in the green roofing industry. When they ask about where our coffee came from, how our shoes were made, what kind of mileage our car gets, we become a little fussy. The temptation to reply snottily slowly rises – and sometimes, not so slowly.

Okay, but like, you want to say, what are YOU wearing right now? Is it a handmade coat of finest carbon-offset wool woven on a sustainably sourced bamboo loom using natural dyes that only exist as a byproduct of friendship and goodwill?

No? It’s not??


... Ahem. Just us?

We thought not. The good news is, by integrating the following quick tips into your lifestyle, you can shut the invasive do-gooders up quick. (Though probably not for good. It’s best to live in reality.)

On a more serious note, we all have to live here. At the moment, this is the only planet we have. And while we’re not into climate alarmism, neither are we willing to stand by while our world warms due to human activities (that’s just science, people). Instead, we advocate rational steps in the direction of meaningful change that can aggregate over time.


If you want to be a good steward, you can start here. Ready to download your free Citizen Action Sheet today? All you have to do is click that link!

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Topics: Stewardship

SPOTLIGHT on the Great Lakes: 20 Percent of the World’s Water Supply

Posted by Ecogardens


If you’ve ever strolled down the Lake Michigan shoreline, you know how impressive the Great Lakes can be. Cognitively, you understand it’s just a lake – a landlocked body of usually fresh, not salt, water – but the breadth and majesty of it might as well belong to an ocean.

This intuitive awe of the Great Lakes is even better deserved than you might think. These huge bodies of water comprise a whopping percentage of the Earth’s fresh water. Plus, they are a “strategic opportunity” to better Chicago’s economic standing – and the Midwest’s in general.

That’s not to say we should simply capitalize on a neighborhood resource. Rather, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our environment by doing right by the Great Lakes.

Let’s take a look in today’s spotlight.

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Topics: Stewardship

SPOTLIGHT on the American Prairie Reserve: Building a New Kind of National Park in Cattle Country

Posted by Ecogardens


If we have to rethink national parks to get more of them, should we? Some say yes.

If you thought the American National Park system was working just fine, thank you very much, think again.

And if you automatically want to curl your lip at the mention of Big Money, well, think again ... again.

Why? Because people with deep pockets are reassessing America’s lost wilderness areas and making some unusual plans to bring them back. In the coming centuries, global stewardship might require we think a little differently about The Wild With A Capital W, and the American Prairie Reserve is throwing that idea in sharp relief.

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Topics: Stewardship

Why Green Roofs? Growing + Healing Green Systems (Infographic)

Posted by Ecogardens


Understanding green roofs starts with understanding their power to heal our cities – and what happens when we don’t steward them carefully enough.

 (PSST! Download our free green roof stewardship infographic to share with colleagues and friends!)

One of the questions we get most often here at Ecogardens is Why green roofs?

And we get it. Most people aren’t as familiar as we are with the stormwater retention benefits of an extensive green roof, of the pollution-fighting power of plant roots, or the cooling effects of a blanket of green atop a formerly bare cement rooftop.

The good news is, more people are learning about green roofs today – and getting interested in the possibilities they wield for a healthier tomorrow.

In this infographic, we take a look at the explosion in green roof square footage across the US and Canada in the last few years, their incredible ROI-capturing power, their energy savings and property improvement value, and more.

Check it out below!

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Topics: Green Roofs

Intensive Versus Extensive Green Roofs: What Are They and Which Is Right for You?

Posted by Ecogardens


Green roofs come in many forms, depending on the site, climate and owner intent. So what are those differences, and which is right for you?

Expecting green roofs to solve climate change single-handedly is like expecting any one football player to win the Super Bowl for his team. It’s a severe burden, and probably an unfair one.

However, neither would you dismiss a good player’s role in his team’s chances that year. We need all the tools we can get to find success.

(We’re not calling football players tools, by the way. Just FYI.)

But while we wouldn’t want to send them off on their own to do all the work, green roofs really are one of the best ways to address climate change. They:

  • Insulate buildings so they use less energy
  • Reflect sunlight, raising the planet’s albedo and keeping it cooler overall
  • Help to fight the urban heat island effect, a phenomenon increases the temperatures of cities, which puts more demand on the energy grid and impacts human health
  • Capture stormwater runoff and keep it out of streets at peak runoff times
  • Give birds, pollinators and other critters a place to live
  • Increase the number of native plants in our world

We could go on and on. (And on.) Instead, let’s assume we’ve convinced you of their amazingness and move right along to the question of which one is right for you?

Choosing between extensive and intensive green roofs is an important question in the decision-making process, so let’s take a look at the definitions and benefits of each.

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Topics: Green Roofs