If you head to Google and do a quick search on green roofs, you’ll immediately pull up thousands of hits, with dozens of options right here in the Midwest.

Which begs the question, of course: Is Ecogardens any better than those options? Do you actually have a reason to choose us over The Other Guys?

Well, we like to think so. We’re smart. We’re funny. We have decent taste in polo shirts.

But more to the point, we are paving the way to a different kind of green roof.

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Quick: Close Your Eyes

 

Picture a green roof. What do you see?

If you’re like most, your mind conjured the image of sweeping sedums, the low-growing succulents that have taken the greenroofing world by storm. Perhaps you see a few tufts of brushy grass. Maybe a footpath or two.

There’s a reason this is your vision: It works. Sedums excel at pulling moisture out of the ground and releasing it back into the air (ready for the next rain event). Grasses and perennials play nicely with succulents, so they’re often paired together.

All of which is great, and a staple in our wheelhouse.

While sedums have earned their reputation as an urban ecology staple, though, we like to go beyond the sedum mat.

That’s not to say we don’t use them, because we do. We love sedums as much as the next guy. The difference here at Ecogardens?

That’s not the end … it’s just the beginning.

We’re here to find the best dang green roof option. Period.

With every project we take on, we ask ourselves: What could be more efficient? More effective? How can we make it lighter? Is a sedum really the plant for the job? What could make this more hospitable to wildlife?

Is this roof really and truly green, as in, environmentally friendly? Or does it just look green? Have we reduced its footprint as much as possible? How can we save more water, reduce more energy, make it even greener?

That’s right: We’re shooting for the greenest.

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Call Us Competitive

We select and test components to respond not only to weight constraints, but also to drainage and retention of water. We also ask:

Do we have the right products for the right situation? Is a sedum really the right plant for the job? What other plants can we use alongside it, or instead of it? Will the roof be able to drain effectively? What do you, the client, consider beautiful?

These are the questions we strive to answer every day.

Want to answer some of them together?

So yeah, green roofs are cool.

But … why are they so cool?

Is it simply that can they turn a boring tenth-story patio into an urban oasis? Is it merely the greater number of geese/squirrels/dragonflies/pollinators? Is it just the eye-soothing and cholesterol-reducing effect of greenery on the body?

Okay, so no studies have proven that green roofs reduce cholesterol. But that doesn’t mean they won’t someday. Just saying.

Plus, at Ecogardens, green roofs are so much more than that.

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Untold Opportunities

The first and most important service green roofs provide is a first line of defense against stormwater. 

Each rainstorm deposits billions of gallons on a city the size of Chicago, Columbus or St. Louis. The sweet little sedums, native grasses, wildflowers and growing media that line our green roofs, both intensive and extensive, snatch that water out of the air and show it who’s boss.

 

 

Plus, they create a heck of a lot more green space than exists on the ground in a typical city.

Green roofs exponentially expands the area available for habitat formation, so we can open our arms to the birds, butterflies, bees and Bambis that make living in this world so awesome.

Fine, so we haven’t seen any deer on our green roofs. Yet.

It was still a cool alliteration.

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A Wealth of Other Benefits

Oh, you thought that was it? Oh-ho, no. Green roofs are basically magical, they offer so many perks. 

For instance, they can make a substantial dent in the urban heat island effect. They can extend the lifespan of a building’s roof by two or even three times, reduce energy consumption on the level below, and soothe the humans who get to view them every day.

Be honest: Couldn’t you use more soothing? Couldn’t your company benefit from a bottom-line reduction in roof maintenance? Wouldn’t you just love a bit more green in your world?

Whether you’re a company hoping to improve a building or an office park, or a single individual looking to do a bit of service to city and squirrels, green roofs are the perfect contribution.

So … why green roofs?

Because they rule. Isn’t that enough?

Nature makes everything better.

When you look outside your window and see waving green grasses, creeping green sedum and the leafy green foliage of summer, you feel just a little bit happier … don’t you?

You’re not alone. We humans breathe a sigh of relief when we step into nature. Even a small verdant corner of an otherwise gray, paved space can bring that rush of serenity that you just don’t feel on a sidewalk or in a plain courtyard.

So if we can cover a rooftop with green, growing, living things, why wouldn’t we? Of course we would.

But here’s the secret:

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Green Isn't Just a Color

Think about it. Certain plants can boast the deepest of emerald leaves, but if they live off of consistent doses of fertilizer and will die as soon as it’s taken off the drip, how green is that really? 

Similarly, a product might be colored green, but not actually be ecologically friendly. It may even be sustainably produced and harvested, but that's no guarantee of true green-ness.

We believe that if it doesn’t last and you have to find a replacement in a year or two – well, let’s just say there are better solutions.

Here at Ecogardens, we like to do things just one sturdy-booted step outside the mainstream. You might say we’re looking for a more permanent kind of green.

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Beyond the Color

As a people, we’re all about shiny new objects, but we need to move past that limited mindset and ask ourselves what the world really needs.

This is the subject of entire books, dissertations, documentaries and Very Important Emails from the Ecogardens Team, but for now, let us just sum up.

Green is all about assessing the life cycle of a product or technique from cradle to grave to determine whether it truly has the lowest possible impact.

The world needs products that last a good while, that are suited to their purpose so they don’t create additional strain on the environment, and that require a minimum amount of inputs over time.

We bring this mindset to the gamut of our projects, from the coziest residential rooftop garden to the broadest sweep of restored wetland.

The same goes for processes. Sometimes it’s appropriate to roll out a sedum mat, and sometimes it’s not. Other times cuttings or plugs are more sustainable, requiring fewer fertilizers and enabling a low-maintenance approach in subsequent years. Most often, the greenest approach is a meld, individualized to the space.

One of our secrets is that, more than anyone else we know, we take that path less trodden.

Flexibility matters.

Think aerial yoga. Twister. Gumby dolls. Stretch Armstrong. Spider silk. Marriage.

Someone had to say it.

But nowhere is flexibility more important than when it comes to building living systems that withstand the test of time.

Like you or me, urban ecology is delicate and sensitive to its surroundings. Successful ecological design is all about capturing and distilling the right principles for a particular site, using the correct tools to advance your goals, evolving with the system over time and stewarding it well into the future.

Like, we’re talking the Your Children Are Grandparents future.

Or the We Live on Saturn’s Moons Now future.

Possibly even the Combined Sewer Overflows Are a Thing of the Past But We’re Still Into Stormwater Management Because We’re Just That Cool future.

… hey, Ecogardens can dream, right?

Point being, if you want to stride boldly into that bright destiny, it takes the right process. A unique process, for your unique requirements. A process that has "you" written all over it.

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A Customizable Approach

We make sure that each system we create can handle the demands of the site and the system, as well as the natural changes that time brings to all three.

You probably saw this coming, but we boast just such a process. Below are some of the ways we routinely help our favorite people … and by that we mean, the people who help us make the world a greener place every day.

If you need something that’s not on our site, we invite you to ask us anyway.

We can probably help you out – and if not, we can at least ridicule your dreams and comment on how unlikely they are ever to be accomplished while sarcastically high-fiving one another.

No. Kidding. We meant “refer you to someone in our extensive network of urban ecology contacts to make sure you get the help you need.”

Obviously.

But for now, how about you just take a look and see what you think? We’re guessing there’s a partnership here, so check it out.

 
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Connect

We seek synchronicity in everything we do. From the first meeting or the first site visit, we listen carefully and express ourselves clearly. The goal: to learn as much as possible about you, your site and your needs before we go any further.


 
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Explore

Whether you want a green roof, a living wall or a rainwater harvesting system, we work to create the best system for that specific site. We take into account your goals; the needs of the rooftop, garden or wetland; and the options at our disposal. We’ll walk you through components, plants and design schemes so that you feel confident in the choice you make.


 
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Design

Your site and aesthetic dictate an individualized, uniquely-you process and result. Before building your project, we plan it carefully from the ground up – pun intended. Then we submit a design proposal and estimated budget, incorporate your feedback and wait for your go-ahead before we plant even one teeny seed.


 
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Build

Our construction process is straightforward. We execute each design plan with the utmost respect for your schedule and for the safety of the building, people, animals and the surrounding environment.


 
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Steward

When it comes to living systems, we’re never really done. We believe in ongoing stewardship to keep the ecosystem healthy and respond to its changing needs. To that end, we will assess your landscape or green roof on an ongoing basis, helping you make the best decisions for the long-term evolution of your space.


 
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Supply

Any project, from complete green roofs down to the smallest rain garden, is only as good as the materials sourced to build it. Our years of expertise with sustainable materials, along with our ongoing research into new technologies, guarantee our hand-selected materials will perfectly complement each job. Need a product? Just call us.


 
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Consult

If you need less than full start-to-finish contracting but more than product recommendations, we’re happy to offer our expertise on a consulting basis. We’ll help you answer the tough questions and make the best decisions for each site, holding your hand as much or as little as you need. (Because while we really like holding hands, we still want you to set the pace.)

If you’re looking for a more interactive space, we can help.

We pride ourselves on the beauty and versatility of our rooftop gardens, cozy nooks where you can kick back to enjoy a friend’s company or a full-on family reunion.

With a variety of plants, growing media and containers, we can transform your urban space into a true oasis. Extend your living area, give birds and bees a place to roost, and enjoy the relaxing effects of plant life right outside your living room window.

Or on your office building rooftop.

Or next to your hospital’s pediatrics wing.

Or … anywhere else you want to fold Nature into the city, and watch her bloom.

We’re here to help you do it, one roof of green at a time.

 
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