Glen Ellyn Sustainable Yard Tour

Posted on: June 13, 2018

If you’re looking for unique ideas for conserving water, bringing native wildlife to your yard, and establishing beautiful rain gardens, spend the morning of Saturday, June 23rd learning how to create a sustainable yard!

The Sustainable Yard Tour begins with a brief presentation, to be held at Maryknoll Park Clubhouse (845 Pershing Avenue) at 9:00 am. The speaker, a representative from the Conservation Foundation, will talk about what it means to have a sustainable yard, and will include a discussion about the use of rain barrels and rain gardens, native plants and trees, and permeable surfaces outside the home.

“This is our second annual Sustainable Yard Tour,” said Renae Frigo, Naturalist with the Glen Ellyn Park District. “We filled all 75 available slots last year, so we’re offering the tour again this year at different area homes that use sustainable practices.” Of the 75 available slots this year, 54 have been spoken for. There is no charge for the tour, but participants must register in advance.

“We have three homes on the tour this year, plus an optional stop at the Village Links Golf Course,” added Frigo. “They have interesting sustainable ideas they put into practice; for example, the on-site restaurant, Reserve 22, composts both food waste, and operates beehives that produce honey for use in the restaurant. Village Links representatives will give two short presentations that highlight green practices at the restaurant and golf course.”

When participants arrive for the initial presentation at Maryknoll Park, handouts will be distributed that provide maps to the homes on the tour, along with parking instructions. “People will be on their own for the tour, so they can visit the homes in any order they like,” said Frigo. “Our goal is to have the tour completed by noon.”

The homes on this year’s tour offer a variety of ideas that visitors can put into practice in their own yards. “One home focuses on growing perennials, which require minimal maintenance and attract beneficial wildlife,” explained Frigo. “The other two homes utilize native plants, which are plants that have been in the area long before people arrived. They’ve adapted to our climate, so they’re very tolerant of weather and other conditions. They don’t need a lot of water or fertilizer, and they offer important food sources and habitats for local wildlife.”

Sustainable yards have several things in common: they limit the use of pesticides and herbicides, and they conserve water, limit turf space, and offer stormwater solutions. The Sustainable Yard Tour is a great way for people to see how rain gardens, native plants, and other sustainable solutions are created, developed, and maintained so they can take the ideas to their own yards. “The idea is for people to rethink how they develop their yards and how they maintain them,” added Frigo.

Many area homes have clay in the soil, which doesn’t absorb rain – it diverts it elsewhere, potentially creating soggy sidewalks or collecting close to the house, where it could flood into the basement. “Rain gardens can help collect or divert water away from a home,” said Frigo. “These types of ideas, along with permeable pavers and similar products, can turn a problem area into a beneficial and attractive area. It also helps reduce rainwater in storm sewers, where the water can collect oil, grease, and sediment along the way, dumping it into freshwater ponds, lakes, and rivers. Fertilizer also gets washed into ponds, causing algal blooms and other ecological problems.”

The tour will provide ideas for participants to take to their own yards, hopefully inspiring them to make positive changes to help address these complex issues. To register, please click here (limited spaces available). Please contact Renae Frigo at rfrigo@gepark.org with questions about the tour.