WEST CHICAGO – The expansion of Ball Horticultural Co.’s West Chicago headquarters has earned three sustainable landscape awards and certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The project included building a state-of-the-art, environmentally sensitive laboratory and warehouse and making various landscape improvements to accompany the additions, according to a company news release. The company’s goal with the expansion was to create the most ecologically friendly setting possible, the release stated.
The Ball Premier Laboratory has been certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, and the project’s corporate campus landscape improvements have received the following awards:
• Conservation & Native Landscaping Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago Wilderness• Environmental Stewardship Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Illinois Chapter• Excellence in Landscape Award from the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association.
The streetscape and main entrance of Ball Horticultural Company, a world leader in plant development and distribution, previously consisted mostly of turf with a few trees and planting beds, according to the release. Now, most of the turf has been replaced with a walkway and colorful flower beds that create a prairie and savanna.
“The result is a naturalistic, landscaped corridor,” the release stated.
At the back of the company complex, a central courtyard created by the addition of the Ball Premier Laboratory features turf and native prairie and savanna landscapes. Edible gardens and ornamental landscapes border the main terrace, and employees are allowed to harvest fruits and flowers, according to the release. Woodland and wetland gardens also are part of the new landscaping.
Native plants make up about 75 percent of the project area, with more than 150 species of native grasses and forbs within the prairie, savanna, woodland and wetland landscapes, the release stated.
The property also includes five large rain gardens that help slow rainwater. Planted swales take overflow from adjacent sidewalks to the site’s detention basin.
The clean water that does enter the detention area helps to sustain wetland plants in the bottom of the basin, adding another ecosystem and additional biodiversity to the landscape, according to the release.