Buildings and Gardens: Vision

Our vision is to inspire people to notice and reflect upon the beauty and subtleties of nature. 

Visitors will feel awe and joy in response to the Garden’s use of horticultural art and science, dramatic views and framed vistas, harmonious building design, and excellence in planting and maintenance.

A visit to the Garden will inspire people to incorporate nature into their
own lives.

Buildings and Gardens: Goals
The Garden will grow in its role as a model for excellence in horticultural design and planning;
The Garden will consistently maintain built infrastructure to high standards, ensuring that we leave a strong physical plant as part of our legacy;
The Garden will thoughtfully advance progress to complete the projects detailed in the Master Site Plan (created in 1968, updated in 1997 and 2009). We will continue to adhere to the design principles of the 1968 Simonds & Simonds plan and the architectural vocabulary set by 20th-century master Edward Larrabee Barnes;
The Garden will be a model for the thoughtful use of natural resources, achieving beauty through energy-saving, environmentally sensitive methods whenever possible;
By adhering to a new fine arts policy, the Garden will align the quality and style of the Garden’s sculpture collection to the quality and style of the Garden’s buildings and landscapes;
The Garden will serve as the central resource for information about the unique and endangered plants and ecosystems of northeastern Illinois, by helping to set standards for and demonstrating the use of native plant material in garden, prairie, woodland, wetland, rooftop, and riverbank settings;
The Garden will serve as a resource for architects, builders, developers, master planners, “green” building associations, and homeowners for how to create an inspiring and successful planning and building program.