• Overview

The Friends of Sears Sunken Garden is working with Piet Oudolf, Roy Diblik and community members to restore North Lawndale’s historic landmark garden.

The Friends of Sears Sunken Garden (FSSG) was established as a 501c3 nonprofit organization in 2021. FSSG is dedicated to the restoration of the historic Sears Sunken Garden located on the former campus of Sears, Roebuck & Co. The Sears headquarters was completed in 1907 on the west side of Chicago in what is now known as the community of North Lawndale.

The design team selected for the restoration includes world-renowned garden designer Piet Oudolf, and plantsman and designer Roy Diblik. Oudolf is well known as the planting designer for the Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park and the High Line in New York City. Chris Gent joins the team as landscape architect, having worked with the Chicago Park District, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and other City of Chicago agencies. And Odile Compagnon, architect and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is a key member of the Sears Sunken Garden design team. She has a private practice focused on sustainable and participatory design.

The restoration of the Sears Sunken Garden will not only serve as a beautiful amenity for Chicago residents and visitors alike, but signals to the world that North Lawndale is a place of beauty, energy and possibility.

Working together with feedback from the community, Piet, Roy, Chris and Odile will make the vision and immersive planting designs become a reality with the many historic elements of the garden. We feel honored to work with this team because they are committed to creating gardens that fit the way people live, work and play today. Beautiful gardens that in turn contribute to a more sustainable and economically thriving place to be.

Board Members

Reshorna Fitzpatrick

Associate Pastor, Historical Stone Temple Baptist Church

Kevin Sutton

Executive Director, Foundation for Homan Square

Yvonne Shields

Homan Square Resident

Mamie Gray

North Lawndale Resident

Demetrius Barbee

Homan Square Resident

Laura Fernald Ekasetya

Horticulturalist and Public Garden Advocate

Caroline O’Boyle

Illinois State Director, Trust for Public Land

Advisory Team

Karen Castleberry

President, Homan Square Homeowners Association

Odile Compagnon

Architect and Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Christopher Gent

Landscape Architect

Yaritza Guillen

Horticulturalist and Urban Planner

Liz Lavezzorio


Annamaria Leon

Owner, Homan Grown L3C

Pidgeon Pagonis

North Lawndale Resident

Blanche Suggs-Killingsworth

Co-founder NL Historical and Cultural Society

The Friends of Sears Sunken Garden (501c3) operates in partnership with the Foundation for Homan Square, with support from many others:

Free Spirit Media
Homan Grown
Illinois Facilities Fund (IFF)
Lurie Garden
New Covenant Community Development Corp.
North Lawndale Historical and Cultural Society
North Lawndale Greening Committee
North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council
Northwind Perennial Farm
Stone Temple Nation
Trust for Public Land

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