A Conservation@Home Story

This past January, Paul and Lisa Sikes moved from the suburbs of Chicago to southwest Winnebago County specifically so they could create a native landscape. Their plans are big, as they have 3.5 acres of turf grass interspersed with fruit trees, spruce, and several deciduous trees. Some native vegetation has already been planted, including shrubs like hazelnut, serviceberry and choke cherry. Native forbs and grasses will be added as they observe what is already there. With their rolling lawn that partially drains into their neighbor’s yard, Paul has decided that a rain garden will not only decrease the amount of turf he has to mow, but also help his neighbor. Although hesitant to use chemical herbicides, it’s likely that a patch of phragmites growing in a wet area might get a chemical bath. Garlic mustard has already been cleared, and honeysuckle on the adjacent Winnebago County Forest Preserve site has been located. A beautiful raised garden area already has a compost pile that will be used throughout the summer. Even though the process of decreasing the amount of turf grass has just begun, it will be fascinating to watch the development of their yard into a haven for insects, birds, and other wildlife.

By Mark Luthin, NLI Trustee

April 28, 2023 site visit






















See Paul’s Rain Garden Process Here



















































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