Gardens at Shedd Aquarium Win Sustainability Award for Lupfer Landscaping

The Shedd Aquarium, a Chicago landmark and tourism destination, has begun transforming areas of its grounds into sustainable gardens for public enjoyment and educational purposes. The Shedd has partnered with Chicago area landscape company, Lupfer Landscaping, to implement the design plan and maintain the site. Just recently the completed gardens earned landscape award from the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association.

Chicago, IL, February 07, 2013 --( Leading the way in the creation and care of sustainable landscapes, Lupfer Landscaping has been recognized with a top award from the Illinois Landscape Contractor's Association for the renovated gardens at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

Several distinct garden spaces surrounding the Shedd Aquarium showcase hardy and beautiful trees, shrubs, perennial flowers, and edibles that require little or no maintenance, and serve as a teaching tool about sustainable landscaping for children and adults.

"The sustainable gardens at the Shedd offer a new way of thinking about the landscape," remarks Christine Nye, head Horticulturist for the Shedd. "We took two paths in pursuing our goal; reducing the cost of maintaining the property, and reducing the resources or inputs required." Over 18,000 square feet of demanding bluegrass lawn was removed and replaced with low-maintenance perennial plants which provide greater biodiversity and color, while requiring less in terms of water, fertilizer, and general care.

Visitors to the Shedd can see a number of garden types at the aquarium's sustainable landscape exhibit including a Rain Garden where water runoff is collected and utilized by the plants; a Xeriscape Garden which can survive droughts without irrigation; and a Wetland Garden which utilizes plants that are suitable for low-lying or flood-prone areas. There are demonstration gardens showing how to grow vegetables and flowers together for a garden that is both attractive and edible at the same time, as well as expanses of natural areas which showcase plants native to Illinois. All the gardens have interpretive panels which explain the sustainable practices utilized.

Besides using the right plant in the right place, there are other important aspects to achieve sustainability. Tom Lupfer, of Lupfer Landscaping, whose company maintains the landscape, approaches landscape maintenance in a new way. He has put together a program of special methods and techniques in order to eliminate pesticides; reduce waste that goes into landfills; grow strong and healthy lawns using natural fertilizers; reduce weeds without synthetic chemicals; limit the use of emissions-producing machinery; and reduce the use of water in the landscape.

As an innovator in the practice of sustainable landscape maintenance, Lupfer trains his employees to understand the cause-and-effect of natural processes and to use specific tools and techniques that he hopes will soon become standard operating procedures in the landscape industry. "The gardens at the Shedd have been developed to educate visitors about how to create wildlife habitat in an urban setting and utilize sustainable landscaping practices which they can then adopt to their own properties," adds Tom Lupfer.

This is the fourth ILCA Gold Award for sustainable landscaping earned by the company, while being its first for a public space garden. The three previous awards were for residential landscapes in historic Hinsdale and Riverside, Illinois. More images of the Shedd Aquarium project can be viewed at:

About Lupfer Landscaping
Lupfer Landscaping is a family-owned business located in the western suburbs of Chicago. The company was founded in 1994 by Tom Lupfer after earning his Bachelor of Arts degree at Northwestern University.

Lupfer Landscaping provides a full-range of landscape services including design, installation, and maintenance for both residential and commercial properties. Tom Lupfer is a Certified Landscape Technician, a skills-based accreditation developed by the nationally-recognized Professional Landscape Network (PLANET).

In addition to chairing the Sustainable Landscaping Committee for the ILCA, Tom sits on the Sustainable Landscape Resources for Community Associations Advisory Board (SLRCA) at the Morton Arboretum, and is a Pilot Project Recipient for the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SSI). For more information, contact Tom Lupfer at: at 708-352-2765.
Lupfer Landscaping
Tom Lupfer