What is Sustainable Landscaping?

Sustainable landscaping is the application of sound economic principles to eco-friendly ideas. It’s based upon three key considerations; social, environmental, and economic. The goal is to create healthy, regenerative landscapes that are economically viable. Sustainable landscaping saves money while also saving the environment.

Read each section below to learn more.

  • CONTRACTOR’S GUIDE TO: CREATING A SUSTAINABLE ACTION PLAN

    This document is intended to help guide landscape companies of all sizes and stages towards a more sustainable future. The SAP template gradually integrates sustainable practices and ethics into all services and operations.

    Download
  • CONTRACTOR’S GUIDE TO: SMALL-SCALE RAIN GARDENS PREVIEW

    This resource not only addresses the “why” but also the “how” involved with rain garden site selection and installation. The guide is free to ILCA members and public officials/public bodies by emailing a request to [email protected] A digital copy is available for purchase ($25) to non-members by filling out the ILCA publications order form.

    Download
  • SUSTAINABLE GUIDE TO RAINWATER HARVESTING PREVIEW

    This guide offers step by step construction specifications for building a rainwater harvesting system. The guide is free to ILCA members by emailing a request to [email protected] A digital copy is available for purchase ($25) to non-members by filling out the ILCA publications order form.

    Download
  • SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPING MAINTENANCE CALENDAR PREVIEW

    v3 Now with updated content!

    This guide is intended to equip Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) members with all the tools necessary to implement a sustainable maintenance program. It takes into account the constraints of a landscape company in regards to costs, time, equipment, personnel, and horticultural knowledge. The guide is written so any landscape company can apply these maintenance principles to almost any commercial or residential landscape and improve the positive impact on the environment without sacrificing quality.

    The guide is organized as a monthly handbook that doubles as a checklist. Each month, crews are equipped with specific instructions on what actions will be completed that month in order to maintain a healthy, regenerative, and successful sustainable landscape.

    The guide is free to ILCA members and public officials/public bodies by emailing a request to [email protected] A digital copy is available for purchase ($25) to non-members by filling out the ILCA publications order form.

    Download
  • MORTON ARBORETUM – SEARCH TREES AND SHRUBS

    Find trees that thrive in northern Illinois. This website allows landscape professionals to select their location, site conditions, and preferences to get a side-by-side comparison for choosing the best tree for any set of circumstances. All trees found on the Northern Illinois Tree Selector are hardy for zones 5 and 6.

    Visit Website

Sustainable Landscaping Links & Resources

Below are a few external resources and links that ILCA believes can provide further guidance on how to achieve more sustainable landscaping

  • CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN

    The mission of the Chicago Botanic Garden is to promote the enjoyment, understanding, and conservation of plants and the natural world.

    The Chicago Botanic Garden opened a little more than 40 years ago as a beautiful place to visit, and it has matured into one of the world’s great living museums and conservation science centers. Each year, nearly one million people visit the Garden’s 26 gardens and four natural areas, uniquely situated on 385 acres of land on and around nine islands. Six miles of shoreline extend along 81 acres of water, including the Great Basin, North Lake, and Skokie River Corridor. The Garden also has a renowned Bonsai Collection.

    Visit Website
  • CHICAGO WILDERNESS

    Chicago Wilderness is a regional alliance that connects people and nature. We are more than 260 organizations working together to restore local nature and improve the quality of life for all who live here, by protecting the lands and waters on which we all depend.

    Visit Website
  • MORTON ARBORETUM

    The Morton Arboretum advocates the planting and protection of trees to create greener communities. In fact, we have been working for a greener environment since 1922. As the only Chicago area environmental organization focused on saving and planting trees, we are a leading center of tree expertise. A team of staff, volunteers and supporters partner together to address key environmental challenges in our urban communities.

    Visit Website
  • OPENLANDS

    Openlands unites the people and resources of the diverse Chicago metropolitan region around the goal of land and water protection, providing a healthy vibrant space to live and work.

    Visit Website
  • SUSTAINABLE SITES INITIATIVE

    An interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.

    Visit Website
  • UNITED STATES GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL (USGBC)

    A 501c3 non-profit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. Developers of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating process.

    Visit Website