As a National Historic Landmark District, Riverside is known for its 1869 landscape design by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Critical to sustaining this designation, and preserving Olmsted's vision, are the naturalistic plantings of trees and shrubs in the Village's green spaces.
In September 2015, the Village of Riverside was recognized as an arboretum for its unique tree plantings, and for its stewardship of the landscape. As explained in the Village's arboretum plan. Riverside is a unique arboretum in that:
Its tree collection is part of a thriving, vital residential village
The design of the public plantings reflect Olmstedian principles of naturalistic groupings and layers of under story and canopy trees
The special emphasis of the collection is on native trees and shrubs