Sustainable Landscaping

Village Hall's Rain Garden for pollinators


The demonstration Rain Garden behind Village Hall consists of native plants like Wild Bergamot and Blue Flag Iris that are hosts to many beneficial insects for food and shelter. The garden began in 2011 and is currently being revitalized by Northbrook's Greenest Region Corps Member. The Village hopes to lead by example in restoring Northbrook's natural landscape qualities to conserve water and promote pollinators. Updates on this project are provided here.

Now 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!

native garden guideConsider native landscaping

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. Colorful native wildflowers like Milkweed, Black-eyed Susans, Goldenrod, and Beebalm are all food sources for bees and butterflies. Native grasses such as Sideoats grama and Canada wildrye serve as important shelter for insects and small animals as well. Since they are perennial and thrive naturally once established in Northern Illinois, you’ll use less time, water, and gas 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. Pesticides are unnecessary as well, 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. 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, a portion 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. Learn more and find resources for planning rain gardens on the Chicago Botanical Garden’s website


Native Plants

Common Milkweed


Blackeyed Susan


Purple Coneflower

purple-coneflower-by Alicja from Pixabay

Swamp Milkweed

monarch Image by stanbalik from Pixabay

Daisy Fleabane


Sawtooth Sunflower


Wild Bergamot


Rattlesnake Master


Royal Catchfly


Prairie Blazing Star




Smooth Blue Aster


50/50 Subsidized tree planting program

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 GONorthbrook Service Request system.

What to consider when planning a garden:

  • Utilize native plants. They consume significantly less water and survive better in our climate due to their deep roots and drought resistant nature. The deep roots acts like a sponge to allow soil to best retain water and filter pollutants. For a list of native plants that thrive in a variety of soils and shade availability, see this handy guide.
  • 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.