Case Study

Rooftop Garden Refresh

Up in the Air With Lowe's

In January, Divisions was asked to bid on the renovation of two rooftop gardens of grand proportions! They sit atop two inner city Chicago Lowe’s stores, measuring 100,000 sf each. The gardens exist to comply with city regulations; outside the lakefront, the City of Chicago suffers from a long-noted lack of open green space. Commercial properties are required to maintain a percentage of green. A decade ago, the two Lowe’s, seven miles apart on the city’s south side, used their roofs to comply with the mandate. They installed gardens atop the stores, taking advantage of the opportunity to advertise to air travelers.

The Issue

Over the years, the rooftop plants declined due to the lack of a maintenance plan. The brown you see in the picture below clearly shows the result. To better comply with the City’s goals, the store proactively requested bids to improve the planters and replace the greenery.

rooftop garden refresh

The Solution

Divisions submitted a proposal to install irrigation systems in the existing planters, assure sufficient drainage, amend the soil, and provide the planting material: sedum, a leaf succulent that is drought, wind and frost tolerant. We included a trusted landscape Provider in the plan, who turned to a greenhouse in Michigan to find space to grow nearly 200,000 plants. Divisions paid $250,000 up front to the Provider to cover the costs associated with growing the plants. We were chosen for the jobs, not only because of the strength of our existing maintenance relationship, but because of Divisions’ reasonable price. Cranes will be used to carefully lift the plants to the roofs for installation, which will take 7 to 10 days at each site.

The Impact

The Lowe’s rooftop gardens are among the largest projects in our company’s history, and a relationship that continues. Divisions is contracted to maintain the green spaces, which will take at least a year to establish healthy growth. This project also displays the tangible result of our “boots on the ground” philosophy. The trust established between Lowe’s leadership and Divisions’ Chicago District Manager helped us win the contract, and our willingness to invest up front in a trusted Provider gave him the opportunity to grow his business.