The Morton Arboretum, Children’s Garden


Children’s Garden

Lisle, Illinois


7-acre Specialty Land Development 

Project Scope

Three main areas were developed: a Backyard Discovery Garden, Adventure Woods, and Central Plaza. They included ten, themed gardens with water features, and climbing and play elements. 


The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53
Lisle, IL 60532


Kris Bachtell
Vice President of Collections
and Facilities
(630) 719-2437


2006 President’s Award
Illinois Chapter, American Society of
Landscape Architects

2005 Merit Award
Midwest Construction Magazine

The Featherstone Difference

Featherstone was engaged to manage the creation of a 50-year garden for the children visiting the TMA. The challenge was to assure the quality of the design concepts and material detailing while supporting the project’s budget. With an unbiased viewpoint, the design criteria were methodically evaluated in such a way to establish an early trust and rapport with the design team. Site visits were arranged to understand “best practice” examples of similar gardens that have stood the test of time to further set the entire project team up for success. 

TMA realized that Featherstone’s model of project delivery meant that there were no hidden agendas or unhealthy alliances with designers or contractors. Each specialty trade was independently bid, with complete transparency and no markup or fees. Featherstone’s fee is not driven by inflated design details, nor is it achieved by fee adjustments to increase profitability. At every stage of development, Featherstone represent the interests of the client, with a team that has evolved and learned organically (with our clients via their projects) how to build a garden that will last. 

Category: Specialty Land Development

Budget: $11,000,000

Never satisfied with the way the garden elements were designed, they were always looking for ways in working with the landscape architect to execute the design in a manner that would
result in a better quality garden for the youth and their families.

– Ralph Grieco
The Morton Arboretum

Featherstone Facts

Average Bid to Build Variance -3.11%,
Average Value for Fee at 145%
Last 5 years – 5 Fabulous Parks
Last 5 years – 5 Fantastic Libraries
Multiple, Decades-Longstanding, Client Relationships – The Morton Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Garden, Brookfield Zoo, the Wauconda Public Library, The Schaumburg Township District Library