A Prairie Reconstruction

  • The prairie reconstruction is located in the village of Homer Glen in northeast will county.
  • A prairie reconstruction is a reintroduction of prairie vegetation to a site which has lost all or most of the native prairie  vegetation, usually to development or agriculture.      
  • maps of prop

    The property contains prairie, bog garden, rain garden, and other water saving features.
  • The prairie covers about 0.5 acre.
  • Prairie  reconstruction is located in a  storm water retention basin that was constructed  during residential development in what was formerly a ravine and stream that ran through the site.
  • Prairie reconstruction began in 2009
  • Before the prairie was reconstructed,  the property consisted of lawn, sandbar willow, multiflora rose, buckthorn and honeysuckle. 
  • All restoration work was performed by 2 people without the use of  power tools.    Basic tools used were shovels, rakes, trowels, hoes, and wheelbarrows.

Economic Benefits of Conservation Design*

Developer Benefits
Reduces landscaping and other installation costs.

Installation and maintenance costs are lower for natural (native) landscaping compared with common turf grasses. Pizzo compared the installation and maintenance costs of new turf grass lawn from seed with the costs of native landscaping with seed in an area less than one acre. He found that installation costs were $5,330 for native landscaping and $8,190 for turf grass. Thus, native landscaping installation showed a 35 percent cost savings over turf grass. Over a 10-year period, the cost to install and maintain native plantings came to $14,152. The same costs for turf grass came to $47,497. Thus, native landscaping installation and long-term O&M costs showed a 70 percent cost savings over turf grass (Pizzo & Associates 2001).

In a 1996 study, the cost to install and maintain native plantings over a 10-year period came to $9,800 per acre. The same costs for Kentucky blue grass came to $59,400 per acre. Thus, native landscaping installation and long-term O&M costs showed an 83 percent cost savings over turf grass (NIPC 1997b).

A comparison of annual maintenance costs found that open space costs about $75 per acre to manage, lawns cost about $255 per acre, and passive recreation areas (trails, bike paths, etc.) cost about $200 per acre (CVVP 1998).

In a California development, virtually all the runoff flows into a gravel-filled infiltration trench meandering through open areas behind most of the homes. This natural stormwater management design saved approximately $800 per household in engineering and construction costs, which enabled the developer to increase the landscaping budget by a like amount.

Enhances marketing potential.

The marketability of a development in enhanced by the lower maintenance aspects associated with native landscaping and smaller lawns. A 1995 Newsweek survey found that two-income families prefer smaller lawns in order to reduce their lawn maintenance activities (CVVP 1998).

Enhances developer reputation for innovative development.

*Source:  Conservation Design Resource Manual, Language and Guidelines for Updating Local Ordinances, A planning tool from the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission and Chicago Wilderness, March 2003