Lake County Adaptation

Lake County, Illinois

Designing for healthy soil.


Ecological Assessment

Practice Landscape is working to revitalize a 42-acre residence along with adjacent crop and pasture fields in agricultural Lake County, Illinois. The project started with an Ecological Assessment of the site that serves as a baseline for future analysis and experimentation. In the era of climate change it is more important than ever to recognize and document benchmarks against which we can measure. The Ecological Assessment is a sort of prequel to the Landscape Strategy which will hold the record of management regimes, analyses of the results, and practices used to restore the woodlands, meadowlands and forestlands, and homestead. We prepared the ‘Ecological Assessment’ in order to inform a closer reading of the existing site, paying careful attention to dynamics often concealed underfoot and that evade direct experience. What is revealed is how the lands were conditioned by change, the result of a series of transformations that span not only centuries but millions of years. The evolution of the land is depicted at three moments in time, representing different scales.


Landscape Strategy

Existing land-use practices have had a profound and continuing impact on the site. The transformation of those practices will eventually reshape both the surface of the land and the composition and structure of the soil. Healthy soil than can hold water and encourage diverse and deep root systems will be the key to long-term success of any landscape design. Understanding the current status of the land informs all future decisions.


The site is located on the traditional unceded homelands of the Council of the Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations. Many other tribes such as the Miami, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sac, and Fox also called this area home. The region has long been a center for Indigenous people to gather, trade, and maintain kinship ties. We acknowledge the indigenous roots of the state of Illinois and recognizes the deep history of the land tied to the traditions of the Potawatomi Tribe.