Going green in your yard

Turn your yard into a haven for wildlife and native plants. Help keep our water clean with smart landscaping.

organic gardening

Kitchen Gardens

A kitchen garden is essentially any type of garden that provides food for you, whether in pots, raised beds or just a plot of yard space dedicated to growing edibles.  These can vary greatly from home to home and even be an option for those in multi unit housing, on a porch or in a sunny window. With a some soil, seeds or starters and a little digging, you can grow many wonderful fruits, vegetables and herbs to enjoy throughout the seasons. Many kitchen gardens also incorporate flowers (there are even some edible ones) to attract pollinators and add beauty. Kitchen gardens offer many opportunities to teach and learn as well, once you try growing your own food, you’ll have greater appreciation for your farmers.

pollinator garden, butterflies, monarchs, Illinois

Pollinator / Butterfly Gardens

Pollinator and butterfly gardens are becoming more and more popular, which is good news for everyone. These gardens are designed to attract important insects and birds necessary to pollinate plants that produce the food we eat. Pollinators include butterflies, moths, beetles, hummingbirds, bats, flies, and wasps. In North America, 99 percent of pollinators are insects and, of those, most are bees.  Here in Illinois, we are also working to increase Monarch habitat by planting milkweed, the main source of food for Monarch caterpillars. Did you know? The monarch butterfly is our state insect. Additionally, many pollinator gardens are full of native plants and flowers which require less maintenance and are naturally suited to thrive in our area and climate.

native plants, milkweed


The care of our yards has a big impact on our environment in many ways. Conventional lawn care equipment causes air and noise pollution. Highland Park has gas powered leaf blower restrictions, learn about them here. Water is wasted when lawns and gardens are watered inefficiently. Runoff from yards stresses our stormwater management systems and dumps harmful fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides into our waterways. Turf grass and non-native plants offer little food or habitat for native birds and beneficial insects. The disposal of yard waste instead of composting it locally uses a great deal of energy to collect and transport it long distances.

There are many ways we can help the planet with smart lawn care choices.