If You Build It, They Will Come

Field of Dreams was the movie that made the saying famous: “If you build it, they will come.” And it seems like the landscape architects in the Windy City have the same idea in mind these days. They are completely transforming the outlook of a park in Chicago using one of the same durable, resistant and eco-friendly products that circulates in our facilities every week.

That site is Maggie Daley Park and that product is Geofoam. Architects are strategically placing the expanded polystyrene blocks in order to transform the flat park into a hilly landscape. This is done by first removing the dirt in the area of the park. Then a layer of tar is placed over the garage followed by black tarp. This prevents water leakage through to the garage. Next comes four inches of stone followed by the foam, another black tarp, and finally the dirt on top. Want to know the best part? Normal landscaping can grow on top, making the foam underneath completely unrecognizable!

Now this whole process may seem damaging to the environment, but a major reason for using Geofoam is that it’s sustainable AND recyclable (talk about a double eco-whammy). The blocks may be underneath heavy landscaping and other weight, but the foam doesn’t dematerialize. Peter Schaudt, the landscape architect of this project of Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects, said that the same product was used at Soldier Field and supported 18,000 pounds – that’s some serious weight!

When this project is finished by spring 2015, the landscape will look completely different from when it started. The plan is to add hills in specific places that will add rolling meadows and even better views of Lake Michigan – both of which didn’t exist before and both of which couldn’t exist without Geofoam.

Maggie Daley Park is without a doubt a large undertaking. However, Geofoam can be used for smaller projects as well, including landscaping needs or support for landscape structures. A foam that is cost-effective, durable, eco-friendly and eventually invisible? Now that’s something that people would come to see.