Granite Ridge builds smart home with connected landscape technology

In fall 2014, Granite Ridge Builders opened its NextSTEP Innovation Home Gallery in Fort Wayne, Ind. The home is packed with hundreds of gadgets and tools that allow homeowners to control or automate everything from lawn irrigation to lighting through wireless apps and remotes. The “STEP” in the name stands for smart technology and energy […]

Belle Isle Conservatory is a botanical treasure in Detroit

The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory at Belle Isle park was one of the first things Lisa Steinkopf’s husband took her to see when she moved to Detroit 30 years ago, and it has remained  a key destination for Steinkopf and her family. The Belle Isle Conservatory, as it’s commonly known locally, is the oldest continuously […]

Community effort brings new life to Stevens Park

The small South Carolina town of Kershaw is home to just under 2,000 people, but its Stevens Park offers those residents amenities many larger communities lack. A public swimming pool, amphitheater, skate park, nature trails, community center with rooms to rent and public bowling alley are just a few of the park’s highlights. Stevens Park […]

Encinitas Community Garden grows more than just food

Located 25 miles north of San Diego, the Southern California beach town of Encinitas has historically been a hotbed of agriculture, with everything from lima beans to avocados to citrus and cut flowers growing in its Mediterranean climate. But as the city’s population has grown over the years, more and more land that was once […]

Virginia’s Chesterfield County transforms turf into an urban orchard

In discussions of water quality and environmental stewardship, you often hear people talk about the need to eliminate “managed turf.” The term refers to those big grassy expanses that must be fertilized, watered and mowed, and that generally aren’t as good as more natural landscapes at trapping and filtering rainwater. Virginia’s Chesterfield County had just […]

Peek Inside the Garden of an Iris Collector

Iris flowers have always made an impression on Doug Chyz. Growing up, he remembers his father growing them in his yard. “One of my visuals from my childhood is he was going to buy Iris at this farm in western Massachusetts where we lived,” Chyz remembers. “We are driving down this road and all of a […]

At University of Puget Sound, Arbor Day is a Reminder that Tree Care Happens Year-Round

This year to celebrate Arbor Day, the grounds staff at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., will work with members of that school’s Greek community to plant two new trees on campus on Saturday, April 30. They’ll celebrate the winning fraternity and sorority in a sustainability contest that encouraged Greek houses to compete to see […]

Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center opens visitors’ eyes to the natural world

Tucked away in the hills of western Pennsylvania, about an hour outside of Pittsburgh, is the Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center. As groups around the world prepare to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, Crooked Creek is one of those places where the natural world is the focus of every program, from a Saturday seminar on […]

Restored private landscape of UNC botanist William C. Coker lives on

You know those landscapes that just exude a sense of place, that identify without much thought exactly where you are? They don’t happen by accident. For every school campus, public park or other expanse with memorable grounds, you can bet there’s a visionary person (or team) behind it. At the University of North Carolina at […]

Bren Haas: The Social Gardener

Lots of people read recipes and then go search through the supermarket for ingredients. But about a month ago, Bren Haas talked about a very different kind of search. “There’s a pepper that’s in a salsa that my son wants, and I’m hunting down that seed, just so we can make that salsa recipe,” she […]