Graceland Cemetery


Chicago, IL

Project Size

2.5 Acres

Time Period

2014 - Present

Role of the Firm

Project Description

Pizzo & Associates, Ltd. completed a lawn-to-prairie transformation at the historic Graceland Cemetery in Chicago and the results are incredible. Starting in 2014, we worked with a landscape architecture firm and the Cemetery’s Board to create a beautiful prairie that is now home to birds, butterflies, and other native wildlife.

When we started the project in 2014, the entire area was lawn. We collaboratively designed and installed a 2.5-acre prairie with our native seed and native plugs and created a beautiful and functional prairie. Through regular stewardship (maintenance) and prescribed burns, the lawn has been transformed into a thriving natural habitat.

The native plants have attracted native birds, butterflies and other pollinators and is now a main destination for bird watchers in the Chicago area.

Project Goals

The Board of Directors wanted to add a unique, non-traditional landscape feature to the cemetery for guests to enjoy. By putting informational signage throughout the prairie and walking paths throughout the area, guests are able to learn about both the history of Graceland Cemetery and Illinois prairies.

Project Scope

The project began with all of the turf being herbicided, and then was burned off in the summer. A hand seeding followed immediately after the burn was completed. Pizzo’s crews have maintained the prairie since then, with the occasional prescribed fire being one of the main tools used. It’s quite the sight to see a prairie on fire for riders of the CTA Red and Purple lines that pass by the prairie!

Photos of the Project