Sustainable Landscaping


Sustainable landscaping incentives

  • In an effort to encourage sustainable solutions for stormwater, residents that qualify for the Village's cost-sharing stormwater improvement program may have the costs for the installation of a rain garden offset. If eligible, up to 70% or $5,000 of the cost of acquiring and installing your rain garden will be covered by the Village. If interested in having the Village partially subsidize your rain garden, please contact the Public Works Department at 847-272-4711.
  • Residents interested in planting trees on their property may be eligible for the Village to cover up to 50% of associated expenses. The Village may cover up to $175 in cost of acquiring and planting a tree. Residents wanting more information can contact the Public Works Department via the GO Northbrook Service Request Page.
  • Visit our Endangered Species webpage for information on how to receive free garden signs promoting pollinator-friendly yards.
  • Email Sustainability Coordinator Tessa.Murray@northbrook.il.us for updates on upcoming plant and tree giveaways.
  • Rain barrels are available at a discount rate to residents ($25 for each 55-gallon barrel, maximum two barrels per purchase).  Purchase from the Finance window at Village Hall. Visit our Water Conservation page to learn more.


Village Hall's Rain GardenGarden with tall colorful flowers and a rain barrel

The Village hopes to lead by example in restoring Northbrook's natural landscape qualities to conserve water and promote pollinators. The garden began in 2011 and is currently being revitalized by Northbrook's Sustainability Coordinator.   Fall 2020 updates on this project are provided here. Any time is a great time to begin planning your native garden. Residents are encouraged to use this guide to native garden planning to get started on transforming your outdoor space into a corridor for wildlife!



Pollinator-friendly yards

Mayors Monarch Pledge

Village President Sandy Frum first made a Village Monarch proclamation in 2015 and signed the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge in 2017. The Village continues to sustain pollinator conservation and education: see 2021 program updates at Northbrook's Monarch Pledge Community Page.

Why native landscaping?native garden guide

Incorporating native plants in your lawn is a great way to provide crucial habitat for pollinators, cut down on water usage and costs, and promote the health of our community.  Since they are perennial and thrive naturally once established in Northern Illinois, you’ll use less water and money on yard maintenance throughout the summer! You also do not need to use fertilizer, as leaf litter fallen from trees naturally provides nutrients to native plants. Inorganic pesticides are unnecessary: these plants benefit from insects.

Native prairie plants survive by growing deep roots that improve carbon storage and soil quality. Native wetland plants are adapted to frequent flooding: they improve water drainage and filtration of their surrounding environment. This means planting natives result in less water and less polluted water running off into streams and waterways during major rain events. Gardens that seek to maximize drainage using native plants and smart landscaping are called rain gardens. Learn more and find resources for planning rain gardens on the Chicago Botanical Garden’s website.

Village Reminders for Garden Installation:

  • Any fencing installed around a new garden must comply with fencing height restrictions set forth in the Municipal Code. For more information, visit the Village’s Fence Permit page.
  • Any new garden must not become a nuisance (i.e. cause mud, icing or water to pool and accumulate on public sidewalks) or exceed the yard height limits allowed under the municipal code.
  • Any new garden may not change the grade of a property enough to cause drainage or erosion problems. For questions regarding this, visit the Village’s Storm water and Flooding Services page.

Sustainable PEST Management

Invasive Species Awareness

Sometimes well-intentioned customers buy aggressive non-native plant species from garden centers, and these can travel into Northbrook's nature reserves and threaten native habitat. Beware of these troublesome plants and consider native alternatives instead:

Moneywort


Prescribed Burns Program 2021

Smokey Vegetation

The Village's and Park District's 2021 prescribed burn programs and educational programming are supported by generous funding from ComEd and Openlands.

In early April, the Village and Northbrook Park District will both be conducting prescribed burns of native landscapes throughout the community, weather permitting. These low-intensity burns enhance soil quality, help germinate desirable native plants, eliminate invasive plant species, and also support pollinators that are dependent on native landscapes for food and shelter. This page has information on the Village's prescribed burns. The Park District's information can be found at this link.

Burn locations:

  • Heritage Oaks Golf Club (formerly Sportman's Country Club, Park District-owned): All of the native areas on the course will be burned.
  • Techny Prairie Park & Fields (Park District-owned): The native areas located predominately on the north and east sides of the property will be burned.
  • Wood Oaks Green Park (Park District-owned): The sledding hill and the native areas on the western side of the property will be burned.
  • The "Old Northbrook East Basin" (Village-owned): The northernmost detention basin at Northbrook East (located north of the intersection of Midway and Sunset Ridge) will be burned.
  • The "Techny Basin/Old 319 Property" (Village-owned): The basin and native areas west of Glenbrook North will be burned. 

    Why are properties with native landscaping burned?
    Burning is done on properties with native landscaping to help support the healthy growth of the landscape. Many native Midwestern plants evolved on the prairie where fires would naturally occur or were facilitated through indigenous practices. As a result, they are naturally resistant to fire and the seeds for many of these plants require the heat from the fire to germinate. Additionally, these burns help remove invasive species which did not evolve to withstand the fire while also breaking down old decaying plant matter to fertilize the soil. All of this in turn helps support pollinator species which depend on native plants for food and shelter.

    Do I need to take any action during the prescribed burns?

    No. These fires are low-intensity and continuously monitored to ensure that the burn is progressing safely. There will be some smoke, and those who are sensitive to it may wish to close their windows during the burns, but no other action is required.
    Coming Soon: Native Landscaping Programming