First 'Sustainable Yard Walk' to showcase six Park Ridge homes' eco-friendly practices – Chicago Tribune

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Go Green Park Ridge and the Park Ridge Sustainability Commission announced their first annual Sustainable Yard Walk, which will be held on Sunday, July 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine.
According to a press release from Go Green Park Ridge’s founder, Amy Bartucci, the yard walk will feature six Park Ridge yards that follow sustainable, eco-friendly practices. The event is free and open to people of all ages.
Visitors can expect to reimagine a “perfect” yard, Bartucci said. The yards will highlight features such as native plantings, no-mow grass, a bioswale, vegetable gardens, an in-yard composting system, permeable pavers, a pond, a pocket garden and more. “We hope you will pick up tips to use in your yard!” Bartucci said.
Cindy Grau, a member of Go Green Park Ridge, will use her yard as an example during the walk. She said sustainable yards typically require less input from homeowners regarding maintenance. “Because we’re not necessarily worried about perfect lawns, we do not have to have expensive treatments on grass,” she said.
Grau does not use bug spray; she mows her lawn at a higher length and uses less water and mulch than other lawns that don’t use sustainable practices. She said that cutting grass at a higher length strengthens its roots and is one less chore to do when dry spells come.
Grau also has native plants, which she says don’t require as much water. She uses water from rain barrels to water vegetation.
“It’s easier and less expensive to be sustainable,” Grau said. “There is a learning curve, however, and that is why we are offering our first of many Sustainable Yard Walks.”
Mike Sirvinskas, another resident who will allow people to tour his yard, said he does not water, fertilize, or use pesticides on his native plants. He said that his “no-mow” grass only needs to be cut twice a year and that, in the long run, he saves money on maintaining his yard compared to other yards that do not follow sustainable practices. He also added that there is typically less work involved in maintaining his yard because native plants typically do well when they are left alone.
Bartucci told Pioneer Press sustainable yards also allow for nature to take care of itself. She said after being stung by a bee or a wasp, she wanted to leave the insect’s nest alone instead of removing it or spraying it. A nighttime creature, perhaps a possum or a skunk, ended up disassembling the nest and eating it, she said.
“Balance is what everyone needs to think more of, rather than putting up a chemical or technology that hasn’t been tested,” said Bartucci.
The official list of homes on the tour, all in Park Ridge, are as follows: offers additional information. Docents at each yard will be available to answer questions and the walk will feature educational resources. For more information, contact
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