Whether your rooftop is 50 feet up or 500, we’ll design the perfect space for your vision and needs.

At risk of sounding a little self-satisfied, we dare you to find a more knowledgeable green roof and rooftop garden expert in the Chicago area. With 30 years’ experience under our belt, you’re unlikely to find anyone who knows their stuff better than we do.

We’ve installed green roofs on top of garages and dozens of stories in the air. We’ve built rooftop gardens for homeowners and companies alike. Our approach to stewardship is legendary (like, seriously).

Bottom line: We'll help you envision the perfect use for your space, from giving birds a home to helping those native bees, reducing water waste to creating a sweet outdoor hangout.

You know, for you. And the birds.

Interested? We thought so.

Urban landscapes need good care, and that’s a fact.

Caring for a landscape may look different depending on where that landscape is located: exposed rooftop, sheltered sky-high patio, ground-level urban garden, suburban residential oasis.

Looks are deceiving, though. From the first floor to the fiftieth, there’s one thing each of these systems has in common: Its chances of surviving and thriving are much higher with proactive stewardship.

Wait, you’re thinking, stewardship? What about maintenance?

Excellent question, with an important answer. While many people use the two terms, interchangeably, they actually mean very different things. Maintenance is reactive while stewardship is proactive.

Stewardship and maintenance, simply put, are not the same.

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Stewardship + Maintenance

Sure, they’re similar in that they both apply to caring for landscapes, from the empty-urban-lot-turned-garden in Chicago, to the vast sweeping miles of dune surrounding Lake Michigan.

But maintenance is all about time tables, scheduled activities, seasonal chores. The approach is the same, year after year, with each change of weather dictating a new set of tasks.

The problem? This doesn’t take the landscape’s needs into account. When we simply “maintain,” we fail to ask important questions. Question such as:

Is this green roof functioning well with this mix of plants?

Why does this species seem unhappy, and what can we do about it?

Is the insect population in this urban garden problematic, or can we leave it alone?

Is this system accomplishing its goals (e.g. cooling a roof, attracting pollinators and more)?

When we ask such questions instead of applying prefab treatments to a landscape year after year, we get a much different result: better landscapes for plants, animals and humans alike.

Not only that, we can count on much better environmental outcomes.

Applying the same inputs and giving the same treatment to a system again and again runs the very real risks of missing a big problem. If a green roof stops retaining water, for instance, there goes the stormwater retention. If a green roof’s plant palette shrivels to only a few species, we might lose the benefits to animals. When those plants die off entirely, you can kiss those 10-15 percent energy savings goodbye.

Nobody wants that. Plus, when we partner with landscapes, they’re just plain prettier.

That’s why we offer more than maintenance here at Ecogardens. We offer stewardship, creating true partnership between people and environment. It’s what we’re all about, and it always will be.

Our systems are as unique as you are.

While green roofs and stormwater management are our bread and butter (or almond butter on whole-wheat toast, when we’re feeling virtuous), there are plenty of other ways to help Planet Earth.

However, we know that a true sanctuary involves more than native greenery. Our living systems include stylized installations for front and back yards, combining hardscapes such as decks, patios and walkways with our expertise in plant media.

Prefer to leave the traditional plane behind? We’re happy to help you expand the concept of “ecosystem” with living walls or other alternative installations.

Check out our urban garden services below.


 
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Urban Gardens

Blending a bustling cityscape with a native environment is no mean feat, but at Ecogardens we have perfected the process.

We deploy systems and products specifically tailored to your location, and we weave in plants indigenous to the area. Our careful methods help ensure each nook and cranny has a native connection. This enables an increased appreciation of the landscape as a whole, minimizing maintenance and energy consumption.

By the way, there’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy your garden just as much in the evening or at night as you do during the day. Our elegant lighting solutions are tailor-made to enhance entertaining areas and plant scenery at night. We offer LED fixtures, smart lighting and energy-efficient systems to enhance your nighttime environment without harming the planet.


 
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Smart Irrigation Systems

Smart irrigation is all about water management. Too much water, and you waste a precious resource while drowning your plants. Too little, and no one’s happy.

Like Goldilocks, you’re looking for the just-right, low-water solution. Our irrigation methods direct water to the soil and plant roots utilizing SMART technologies to sense when water is needed. By operating efficiently, these systems reduce water use substantially. They also reduce fertilizer applications, preventing excess water from washing both applied fertilizers, naturally occurring nutrients and friendly microbes down the drain (literally).


 
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Habitat Creation

If supporting native ecosystems is a high priority for you, we can help. Ecogardens offers specific designs to shelter and feed birds, bees, butterflies and other fauna. These serve as important sanctuaries for both native and migratory species of concern – and offer a very cute show, to boot.

No matter which combination of services you choose, you can feel confident that the results will improve your outdoor spaces, help protect the environment, and provide habitat for the plants and animals that desperately need it.

Plan your outfit. We have a feeling you’re about to be invited to a squirrel party.

Stormwater management means more than getting rid of pesky puddles and mosquito love shacks THROUGH EFFECTIVE GREEN ROOF SYSTEMS … it means saving our cities from pollution, disease and structural damage.

Massive quantities of rain and snow fall from the sky every year, burdening city infrastructures and causing pollution, disease and erosion. (Also it’s lame to wear so many coats. Thanks for that, Midwest.)

In nature, stormwater isn’t such a problem. In a forest or on a grassland, vegetation and soil are there to catch it and soak it up. Plants retain water for a time before breathing it back out (transpiration), while water in soil eventually evaporates into the air (evaporation).

Together = evapotranspiration.

And you now have your vocab word for the day.

*bows*

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Time to Defeat Stormwater

Cities, on the other hand, are coated with impermeable surfaces: cement, concrete, asphalt. These surfaces cling to the ground, rooftops and everything in between, giving water nowhere to go but into the sewers, causing combined sewer overflow events (CSO events or CSOs).

These occur because our sewers aren’t mean to manage stormwater. They handle wastewater and sewage from our homes and businesses, funneling them toward treatment plants before they head back into the environment, and they only have so much capacity. For obvious reasons, this liquid contains a lot of gunk and disease. When stormwater causes it to flow back out into the world, the results are gross … if not downright disastrous.

In addition to smelling not-great, overflows also pick up pollutants from city surfaces, transmit human and animal diseases (such as E. coli), and eventually spill over into waterways – contaminating and eroding them as they go.

Think of stormwater like the bad guy, with a cape made from untold gallons of water just waiting to cause all that damage.

We say: No to that, Stormwater Guy. Ecogardens is having none of your shenanigans.

In addition to green roofs, the gold standard for stormwater management, here’s how we can defeat him:

Rain Gardens

Just another paved space won’t make a dent in stormwater, whereas green and growing spaces can do much. Rain gardens are shallow depressions that soak up the water running off impermeable surfaces nearby, filtering it to remove pollutants and providing a sight for sore eyes at the same time.

Rainwater Harvesting

Guess what? The sky gives us free water all the time … so why shouldn’t you make use of it? With our sustainable rainwater harvesting methods, you can capture and store rain to be used later on landscapes or household tasks.

Bioswales

Stormwater carries high loads of pollutants, which plants and soils do a fantastic job filtering out. The goal, then, is to put that water in contact with plants who can take care of those pollutants … and that’s exactly what a bioswale accomplishes.

These gentle troughs collect water and funnel it slowly toward drainage, picking up and retaining chemicals and toxins along the way. By the time water reaches its final destination, it is much cleaner and much safer. Thanks, bioswale!

 
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