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Photos reveal unbelievable transformation of tiny Chicago park: 'It was pretty much just turf grass and dandelions'

"Just about three years ago, this park was a giant lawn."

“Just about three years ago, this park was a giant lawn.”

Photo Credit: iStock

One excited Redditor just showed the internet what an incredible transformation Chicago has made in only three years by rewilding one of its city parks.

"Rewilding" land is a new trend that replaces water-guzzling, non-native grass lawns and invasive plants with native species, essentially turning the land back to its natural state. 

According to this Redditor, the city of Chicago decided to rewild one of its parks. 

"Just about three years ago, this park was a giant lawn," they said in the caption. "The city chose to turn it into this thing of beauty!"

Photo Credit: u/sonicenvy / Reddit

The photos in the post show a winding gravel path through a flowering meadow. The lush plants grow waist-high under a dazzlingly blue sky. With the border of trees around the park blocking out the view of any buildings, the acre of meadow could have been deep in the wilderness, instead of in the middle of a major city.

"It was pretty much just turf grass and dandelions with the trees dotted across it," the original poster explained in a comment. "There is still a tiny strip of lawn on the very outside of this which they left, presumably for people to play with their dogs in."

The rest of the space, however, was dedicated to nature. "The plants are pretty much all native prairie plants," the original poster continued.

This has many benefits for the city, the citizens, and the environment. Native plants are cheap and easy to keep because they're adapted to the local climate. They don't need much water or maintenance of any kind. Not only does that save owners money, but it also prevents dirty runoff, fertilizer, and chemical weed killer from flowing into local water sources.

Meanwhile, local pollinators and other wildlife love the native plants, leading to an overall healthier environment.

There's also a cooling effect. "When you walk into the park from either side where the neighbors have just concrete and lawns, the temperature drops a couple of degrees immediately. It's actually wild," the original poster added.

Careful landscaping helps provide flood protection, too. The Redditor mentioned that the area would "flood massively" whenever there was a good amount of rain. "Now the only water that seems to catch is in the lowest area in the park, where they planted some swamp plants," said the Redditor. "It also seems to reduce flooding in areas around the park."

"Seriously love this!" said one commenter.

"Big same!" replied the original poster. "It's such an improvement to the area and improves the neighborhood as a whole."

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