2625 Butterfield Rd. Ste 104S
Oak Brook, Illinois 60523
Phone 630-472-2851
Fax 630-472-3150


News and Press Releases

  • (08/21/2014) James Martin Associates Receives National Safety Awards
  • (11/12/2013) James Martin Associates Celebrates Giving Back
  • (03/14/2013) Top new auction this spring hosted by Russo Power Equipment
  • (2/13/2013) Bret-Mar Landscape Inc. Earns Esteemed 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award
  • (2/5/2013) Gardens at Shedd Aquarium Win Sustainability Award for Lupfer Landscaping
  • (11/28/2012) Bruss Landscaping Honored in National Landscaper of the Year Program for 2013
  • (6/4/2012) ILCA Members among the Lawn and Landscape Top 100
  • (4/17/2012) Grams column profiled in Lawn & Landscape
  • (11/8/2011) Poul's Landscaping & Nursery, Inc., Wins Construction Marketing STAR Award
  • (10/7/2011) Lupfer Landscaping Interviewed for Chicago Tribune Article on Sustainable Landscaping for Community Associations.
  • (8/15/2011) Unilock Chicago Acquires Paveloc Industries
  • (6/6/2011) Bertog Landscape Receives Top Unilock Award
  • (6/3/2011) Naperville Magazine features ILCA members in water feature article including Reflections Water Light Stone, Aquascapes, and Kane Brothers.
  • (5/25/2011) Homeowners Focusing on Yard-related Enhancements
  • (5/20/2011) Ron Clesen’s Ornamental Plants Becomes First Proven Winners® Licensed Landscape Grower
  • (2/25/11) Bertrand Landscape Project Featured on "This Old House"
  • (2/3/11) Russo Power Equipment Is Heading To Hainesville
  • (2/1/11) Midwest Groundcovers Purchaes the Natural Garden



James Martin Associates Receives National Safety Awards

August 20, 2014– Vernon Hills, IL – –James Martin Associates announced today that it was recently awarded the Overall Safety Achievement - Silver Performance Level and the No Days Away From Work Awards from the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) annual Safety Recognition Awards Program.  The program reflects PLANET’s dedication to creating and maintaining safe work environments in the green industry and is designed to reward green industry companies that consistently demonstrate their commitment to safety.

Jim Martin, President and Owner of James Martin Associates stated, “Safe work environments show our employees and clients that we care.  We will continue to promote safe work habits by our employees on a daily basis because we recognize the importance of safety in the workplace.  We are proud to have received safety awards from PLANET for over 10 years.”

Companies that enter PLANET’s Safety Recognition Awards Program are required to submit a copy of their OSHA 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses report and their year-end vehicle insurance claims summary report.  These reports are used in determining award recipients.  All award recipients are to be congratulated for their superior dedication to safety excellence.

PLANET is the national trade association representing more than 100,000 landscape industry professionals, who create and maintain healthy, green living spaces for communities across America.  PLANET members are committed to the highest standards in industry education, best practices and business professionalism.  Many of PLANET’s professionals have attained the status of becoming Landscape Industry Certified, achieving the greatest level of industry expertise and knowledge.


About James Martin Associates, Inc.  
James Martin Associates, located in Vernon Hills, IL celebrates over 37 years providing commercial and residential customers with comprehensive snow and landscape management services.  The company is an industry leader in commercial snow management and specializes in providing innovative and award winning landscape design, installation and maintenance. For more information about James Martin Associates, please call 847-634-1660 or visit


Kankakee Nursery Company is pleased to announce that Michael O’Gorman has been named president of  the company effective June 24, 2014.

            Mr. O’Gorman was previously the company’s chief financial officer, a position he held since 2008. Prior to  joining Kankakee Nursery, Mr. O’Gorman held several prominent positions in the banking industry    including most recently as regional president of Centrue Bank in Kankakee, Illinois. He holds a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Illinois and an MBA from DePaul University.

            “Mike was instrumental in executing our financial plan through the recession that impacted our industry. We are pleased to have him directing our long term strategies for the company,” said Linda Worth Curren, one of the company’s shareholders, secretary/treasurer and controller.

            “Mike’s experience will allow the company to focus on growing our business for the fourth generation and beyond,” said Richard Worth, company shareholder, vice president and head of production.

            “I am honored that the Worth family has given me the opportunity to lead this outstanding nursery that they have been building for nearly 90 years,” said Mr. O’Gorman. “I look forward to continuing Kankakee’s      tradition of providing exceptional products and services for our customers.”

            Kankakee Nursery is a family owned, fourth generation wholesale grower of deciduous trees, woody ornamentals and evergreens founded in 1925. The company serves customers throughout the Midwest and    Plains states as well as Canada from its nursery located in Aroma Park, Illinois, approximately 70 mile south of Chicago.

James Martin Associates Celebrates Giving Back
The North Shore Women’s Board of the American Cancer Society Receives a Donation


November 11, 2013 – Vernon Hills, IL – –James Martin Associates, an industry leading snow and landscape management company, presented a check in the amount of $4,260 to the North Shore Women’s Board of the American Cancer Society.

The money was raised at the 5th annual Partner Appreciation Event.  James Martin Associates believes that its success is a direct result of the support it receives from its many subcontractors and vendor partners.  For the past 5 years, James Martin Associates has held a BBQ to demonstrate their appreciation.  The event was held on September 12, 2013 at the gardens of James Martin Associates located at 59 East US Highway 45 in Vernon Hills.  There were approximately 100 guests in attendance that enjoyed shish kabobs, games and great camaraderie.

Guests at the event were invited to participate in a charity donation.  The donation amount raised was $2,130 which was matched by James Martin Associates, bringing the total amount to $4,260.  A special thank you goes out to Frank Russo from Russo Equipment in Schiller Park who has been a major contributor at this event for all 5 years.

Every year, one lucky guest is randomly chosen to select the charity in which the donation is made.  This year, Steve Whipple, Senior Vice President of Lundstrom Insurance in Elgin, was chosen and selected the North Shore Women’s Board of the American Cancer Society to receive the donation.  Steve explained, “I chose the American Cancer Society for two reasons.  First, to honor my wife, Barbara Whipple, who has spent 35 years of dedicated service to the North Shore Women’s Boards and its many fund-raising events.  And second, to honor the son of a very close friend whom I have known for 40 years who is currently battling cancer.  The choice was further amplified as my own family had a recent diagnosis of cancer, making this selection even more meaningful.”

Jim Martin, President of James Martin Associates, couldn’t be more pleased about Steve making the charity selection this year.   Jim stated, “Steve and I have been long-time friends for 43 years when he started handling my personal insurance in 1970.  He has also handled the life insurance needs for James Martin Associates since the day the doors opened in 1977.  I can’t think of a better or more fitting way to show support and gratitude for our friendship to Steve and his family then to make the donation to the American Cancer Society.”

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.

James Martin Associates celebrates their ability to enhance lives as a corporate citizen by supporting community and charitable interest of their clients, associates and partners.  The Partner Appreciation Event has raised over $17,000 to a variety of charities over the last 5 years.  Previous selected charities include:

  • Mike Bicanic from Northshore Truck & Equipment/The Special Olympics in Lincolnshire – 2012
  • Chris Richards from Midwest Irrigation/The Wounded Warrior Project – 2011
  • Stan Holat from Autumn Tree/Elgin Community Crisis Center – 2010
  • Rodger Fick from Wilson Nursery/American Red Cross of Greater Chicago - 2009

James Martin Associates thanks all of their partners for their continued generosity in support of their charitable interests.


About James Martin Associates, Inc.  
James Martin Associates, located in Vernon Hills, IL celebrates over 35 years providing commercial and residential customers with comprehensive snow and landscape management services.  The company is an industry leader in commercial snow management and specializes in providing innovative and award winning landscape design, installation and maintenance. For more information about James Martin Associates, please call 847-634-1660 or visit



Chicago area landscape designer-contractor creates award-winning landscapes for northshore homeowners.

Lake Forest (Chicago), IL, April 2, 2013 - ARCHITECTURAL GARDENS of Lake Forest, Illinois announces it has won two Excellence in Landscape awards in an annual competition naming the top public and private gardens and landscapes in the Chicago area.

Margaret Morrissette, owner and designer at Architectural Gardens, received both awards for the extensive landscape renovation projects she completed at two northshore residences. Each project presented unique design and construction challenges because of the configurations of the lots and the ages of the homes. At the older home, an 1800's farm house located on a corner lot in the Village of Glencoe, Morrissette found that the home's wrap-around porch was deteriorating, adding to the complexity of the exterior overhaul. The other landscape renovation project entailed removing yards of 70's Astro-turf from the backyard of a suburban home to create a recreational pool and spa environment.

The award-winning projects epitomize a core trend in landscapes and living today - fashioning outdoor living areas that greatly expand the functional living space of a home. For both of Morrissette's clients, the landscape renovations more than doubled the entertainment space of the residence; with layouts that make use of front, back, and side yard areas. The design-build firm handles all aspects of the project from initial design through construction as well as furniture selection.

project images

Two award-winning landscapes by Architectural Gardens

This is the second year in a row that Architectural Gardens has won top honors in the residential category of the

Excellence in Landscape awards competition which is operated by the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association. The more than 800 member firms that comprise the Association make it one of the country's largest professional associations for the landscape and outdoor living industries.

Landscape professionals across the state and region submit their best projects for judging by a panel of industry experts. The awards competition is a showcase of unique and beautiful gardens found throughout the Midwest, with a predominance of awards located in the Chicago area.

A photo exhibition of the best projects from the 2013 Excellence in Landscape Awards, including images from Architectural Gardens' work, can be seen at numerous venues throughout the city and suburbs from March through December. Locations for the traveling exhibition include the Oak Park Conservatory, the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, the Merchandise Mart, the Morton Arboretum, Cantigny, Pasquesi Garden Center and Lurvey Garden Center, as well as other prominent public and retail venues.


About Architectural Gardens

Architectural Gardens, founded by Margaret Morrissette in 1997, offers residential landscape design/build services to Chicago's northshore residents. Her firm is a member of the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association, the Landscape Design Association, the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Lake Bluff/Lake Forest Chamber of Commerce, and has an A-rating from the Better Business Bureau. Morrissette grew up in nearby Deerfield, IL and currently lives with her husband in Lake Bluff, IL.

Images of AG's award-winning projects can be viewed at:

Please contact Margaret Morrissette via phone at 847-691-7345 or email at: for high res images or more information.


Top new auction this spring hosted by Russo Power Equipment

Hainesville, IL (March 23, 2013) – In typical go big or go home fashion, Russo Power Equipment will be hosting their first live, public auction at their Hainesville dealership on Saturday, March 23 located at 39 E. Belvidere Rd., Hainesville, IL. This will be a no-reserve auction and will be held in conjunction with Obenauf Auction Services, one of the best auction services in the state. The quantities of the available equipment will vary, but some of the items that will be featured include, but are not limited to, tractors, RTVs, vehicles, trailers, skid steers, loaders, mowers, snow blowers, chainsaws, forklifts and a wide range of other motorized equipment.

Russo had drawn over 900 people each of the past couple years that they hosted their annual spring used equipment sale, but ditched the format this year to host an event that they believe holds much more opportunity for both the company and their customers.

“This is one of the largest things our company has ever been part and our entire staff is extremely excited to make it happen,” said Eric Adams, President of Russo Power Equipment. “We have always been dedicated to building and maintaining strong relationships with our customers, and we see this as a fantastic opportunity to engage customers in the process and provide an affordable alternative on big ticket items.”

Viewing of equipment will take place the day prior on Friday, March 22 from 7:00am to 4:00pm, and this will be the only time that keys will be in the equipment for inspection. Food and beverages will be available for purchase on auction day by local food vendors. Attendees will need to have a valid driver’s license of ID to register for a bid card. This registration can be done through email, but it must include a completed registration form and a copy of the driver’s license or state ID.

In addition to registration, Russo is also accepting additional consignments. Please call Pete Liakouras at 847-752-0420 x4507 for information or visit their website. Doors will open at 7am on the day of the event. As equipment for the auction is registered, the company will post photos on its Facebook page, although these are still just a sampling of the complete range of used equipment that will be available on the auction day

Bret-Mar Landscape Inc. Earns Esteemed 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award
Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Bret-Mar Landscape has earned the service industry-coveted 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award, an honor awarded annually to approximately 5 percent of all the companies rated on Angie’s List, the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews on local service companies.

“We proudly accept the 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award. Customer service is always our number one priority at Bret-Mar Landscape. I thank our staff who has worked extremely hard this season and our wonderful and loyal customers.” Sharon Bretl-Marrin, Owner and Lead Landscape Architect of Bret-Mar Landscape

“It’s a select group of companies rated on Angie’s List that can claim the exemplary customer service record of being a Super Service Award winner,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “Our standards for the Super Service Award are quite high. The fact that Bret-Mar Landscape earned this recognition speaks volumes about its dedication providing great service to its customers.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2012 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, including earning a minimum number of reports, an excellent rating from their customers and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. Members can find the 2012 Super Service Award logo next to company names in search results on

Gardens at Shedd Aquarium Win Sustainability Award for Lupfer Landscaping

Lyons, IL - Leading the way in the creation and care of sustainable landscapes, Lupfer Landscaping has been recognized with a top award from the Illinois Landscape Contractor's Association for the renovated gardens at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

Several distinct garden spaces surrounding the Shedd Aquarium showcase hardy and beautiful trees, shrubs, perennial flowers, and edibles that require little or no maintenance, and serve as a teaching tool about sustainable landscaping for children and adults.

"The sustainable gardens at the Shedd offer a new way of thinking about the landscape", remarks Christine Nye, head Horticulturist for the Shedd. "We took two paths in pursuing our goal; reducing the cost of maintaining the property, and reducing the resources or inputs required". Over 18,000 square feet of demanding bluegrass lawn was removed and replaced with low-maintenance perennial plants which provide greater biodiversity and color, while requiring less in terms of water, fertilizer, and general care.

Visitors to the Shedd can see a number of garden types at the aquarium's sustainable landscape exhibit including a Rain Garden where water runoff is collected and utilized by the plants; a Xeriscape Garden which can survive droughts without irrigation; and a Wetland Garden which utilizes plants that are suitable for low-lying or flood-prone areas. There are demonstration gardens showing how to grow vegetables and flowers together for a garden that is both attractive and edible at the same time, as well as expanses of natural areas which showcase plants native to Illinois. All the gardens have interpretive panels which explain the sustainable practices utilized.

Besides using the right plant in the right place, there are other important aspects to achieve sustainability. Tom Lupfer, of Lupfer Landscaping, whose company maintains the landscape, approaches landscape maintenance in a new way. He has put together a program of special methods and techniques in order to eliminate pesticides; reduce waste that goes into landfills; grow strong and healthy lawns using natural fertilizers; reduce weeds without synthetic chemicals; limit the use of emissions-producing machinery; and reduce the use of water in the landscape.

As an innovator in the practice of sustainable landscape maintenance, Lupfer trains his employees to understand the cause-and-effect of natural processes and to use specific tools and techniques that he hopes will soon become standard operating procedures in the landscape industry. "The gardens at the Shedd have been developed to educate visitors about how to create wildlife habitat in an urban setting and utilize sustainable landscaping practices which they can then adopt to their own properties", adds Tom Lupfer.

This is the fourth ILCA Gold Award for sustainable landscaping earned by the company, while being its first for a public space garden. The three previous awards were for residential landscapes in historic Hinsdale and Riverside, Illinois. More images of the Shedd Aquarium project can be viewed at:



Bruss Landscaping Honored in National Landscaper of the Year Program for 2013

Wheaton-based firm is one of 12 companies across the U.S. named as finalists in the annual program hosted by New Holland Construction and Total Landscape Care magazine.

Wheaton, IL - November 28, 2012 - Bruss Landscaping in Wheaton, IL announces it was selected as one of the 12 finalists in the 2013 Landscaper of the Year program operated by New Holland Construction and Total Landscape Care magazine. The annual program recognizes the best and brightest from among thousands of professionals across the country who work in the landscaping industry. Bruss Landscaping and the other program finalists will be featured in Total Landscape Care magazine throughout 2013.

Sponsored by New Holland Construction and produced by Total Landscape Care, the Landscaper of the Year program honors landscapers who exemplify the highest standards of their profession, including business acumen, quality and aesthetic excellence of their project work, marketing and equipment management expertise, attention to safety, and community involvement.

Bruss Landscaping was selected for outstanding landscaping design and construction projects that encompass excellent examples of plantings, lighting and water features, as well as specialized gardens and landscape maintenance.

The company is a third-generation, family-owned business now in its 60th year of operation. With an experienced team of landscape architects, designers and installers, the company is one of the area's most trusted and sought-after firms, creating award-winning outdoor living spaces. To read an article about the company's history and to see early photos, go to the website

"The Landscaper of the Year program illustrates New Holland Construction's commitment to hard-working landscape contractors," said Curtis Goettel, brand marketing manager, New Holland Construction. "We congratulate Bruss Landscaping and the other program finalists for their extremely unique projects."

The 12 finalists and their guests joined representatives from New Holland Construction and Total Landscape Care for an all-expenses-paid cruise to the Bahamas, Nov. 9-11. All 12 finalists will also receive a free, one-year lease on a New Holland 200 Series skid steer loader, along with a toolbox set valued at more than $2,500.

As 2012 comes to a close, Eric Bruss, President of Bruss Landscaping, looks back on a momentous year for the company. Earlier in the year it was announced that the company had won Unilock's Award of Excellence for the Best Ecological Paving Installation for 2011, with their work to be featured in Unilock's product catalog. That was followed by the company's achievement of reaching its 60th year in business this past August, celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chamber of Commerce. "To be one of the finalists for Landscaper of the Year is the exclamation point on a great year for us", remarks Eric Bruss. "We're pretty excited to be getting a brand new skid steer", he adds.

Bruss Landscaping, Inc. specializes in residential landscape architecture and construction, serving homeowners in DuPage and eastern Kane counties of Illinois. Bruss Landscaping is a member of the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association, the Glen Ellyn and Wheaton Chambers of Commerce, and the Better Business Bureau. Owner Eric Bruss is a frequent contributor in newspaper columns offering advice on all matters related to gardening and landscaping. For more information contact Eric Bruss at 630-665-1600, or

ILCA Members among the Lawn and Landscape Top 100

Each year, Lawn and Landscape magazine releases its "Top 100" list for landscape companies. The rankings are based on total revenue. Illinois is proud to have 13 companies listed that are based in Illinois. There are a number of additional national and regional companies with branches in Illinois but are headquartered elsewhere. Illinois' 13 companies are second only to California.

ILCA members on the 2012 Top 100 list:
11. Ambius, Buffalo Grove, IL
25. Acres Group, Wauconda, IL
29. Spring Green Lawn Care, Plainfield, IL
30. Mariani Landscape, Lake Bluff, IL
41. (tie) Chalet Nursery and Garden Center, Wilmette, IL
41. (tie) Scott Byron and Co., Lake Bluff, IL
44. Landscape Concepts Management, Grayslake, IL
47. Christy Webber Landscapes, Chicago, IL
50. Sebert Landscaping Bartlett, IL
53. Moore Landscapes, Northbrook, IL
77. Munie Greencare Professionals, Caseyville, IL
80. Clarence Davids & Co., Matteson, IL
81. Countryside Industries Wauconda, IL

ILCA is honored that the second most Top 100 landscape companies in the nation call Illinois and ILCA home. To learn more on how your company can thrive in the green industry visit the Membership link and become an ILCA member.

Grams April column in The Landscape Contractor is profiled in Lawn & Landscape

Executive Director Scott Grams column from the April issue of The Landscape Contractor was profiled on Lawn and Landscape's website. From the article;

Scott Grams has a great column in this month’s issue of the Illinois Landscape Contractor’s Association magazine. Scott is the executive director of one of the country’s biggest and best-run associations, and he has a great perspective on the industry. What happens in the Illinois (read: Chicago) market tends to trickle down to other parts of the country, so it’s a good bellwether for the rest of the industry.

To read the post visit:

To read the full column: Grams April TLC Column

Poul's Landscaping & Nursery, Inc., Wins Construction Marketing STAR Award

Long Grove, IL, Poul's Landscaping & Nursery, Inc. was recently recognized by the Construction Marketing Association (CMA) in the annual STAR™ Awards for excellence in marketing. Poul's, the only landscape services provider to be recognized in the competition, entered and won in the Sales Kit category.

The CMA STAR awards recognize excellence in 16 marketing categories and 78 sub-categories including advertising, branding, website design, social media, brochures, catalogs, new product launches, packaging, photography, promotions, publicity, merchandising, trade shows, videos, employee communications and integrated marketing campaigns, along with the CONSTRUCTON MARKETER OF THE YEAR™.

"Poul's was recognized as the winner of a Star award in the construction industry for their outstanding business-to-consumer sales kit" states CMA Chairman Neil M. Brown. "The CMA STAR Awards showcase the very best in marketing effectiveness and creative execution."

Lupfer Landscaping Interviewed for Chicago Tribune Article on Sustainable Landscaping for Community Associations

Community associations embracing sustainable landscaping
By Pamela Dittmer McKuen, Special to the Tribune
October 7, 2011

Stroll through many sprawling community associations and you're likely to see close-cropped lawns, beefy hedges, parkway tree canopies and shimmering ponds. The landscape may be beautiful, but it's expensive to keep up, and probably not very Earth-friendly.

Some associations are turning to sustainable landscaping, an emerging trend in landscape management.

Sustainable landscaping is a set of practices that save money, reduce energy usage, preserve natural resources and create a healthier environment for residents and wildlife, said Tom Lupfer, president of Lupfer Landscaping in Lyons.

"It's a new way of looking at how we manage our properties to create healthy, regenerative ecosystems that are economically viable," he said.

[Read the full article]


Unilock Chicago Acquires Paveloc Industries

Unilock Chicago, Inc. is pleased to announce the acquisition of Paveloc Industries, Inc. Throughout the last 24 years; Paveloc has been a solid manufacturer of paving stones and retaining walls. They have consistently produced quality products and their employee’s efforts have helped grow the demand for pavers and walls throughout the region. This dedication mirrors Unilock’s commitment to excellence and we feel that Paveloc’s equipment and facility will help us to accelerate our mission of providing the highest quality concrete products designed for the professional hardscape industry.

Ultimately the acquisition will provide us the capacity to enhance products and services to you and your company. The integration of Paveloc will take quite some time, meanwhile you can be assured that we will continue to provide you with the same Unilock quality products and services that you expect and deserve. We thank you for your business and look forward to a strong fall.

Bertog Landscape Receives Top Unilock Award

Bertog Landsdcape Company in Wheaton, IL received the top Unilock Award of Excellence for “Best Installation Featuring Unilock Select Products."  The firm installed Unilock paving for a Barrington home's pool deck, patio and stairs.  More than 50 different landscape contractors entered their projects into the elite category, including contractors from Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.   

Naperville Magazine features ILCA members in water feature article including Reflections Water Light Stone, Aquascapes, and Kane Brothers.

Just add water
By: Kelli Anderson

Whether it’s a bubbling urn to greet guests in your entryway, a stunning Koi pond, or a pondless waterfall cascading over natural stone in the garden, today’s homeowners have more options than ever to add the magical allure of water to their outdoor landscapes. “Water features are extremely popular,” says Jamie Ori, president of Rosebrook Pools in Libertyville. “And they’ll continue to grow because they add a focal point and gathering place in a yard.”

In fact, today’s water features not only offer a limitless variety of prices, styles, and sizes, but thanks to always-evolving technology, they now offer more conveniences for maintenance and cost-effective systems, as well. With the touch of a remote or LCD screen, water displays, lighting, and even the quality of sound, can be controlled to suit your need-du-jour.

But before adding that special splash to your landscape, it helps to know which options best meet your needs. Naperville Magazine recently met with area professionals to talk about the latest trends in fountains, waterfalls, ponds, and pools. [Read the Full Article]

Homeowners Focusing on Yard-Related Enhancements

Nearly 80 percent of homeowners are considering a home improvement project this year, and many will focus on yard-related enhancements, according to a new research study from the home advice site

Of respondents planning a home-related project, 33 percent will complete a lawn care project, 38 percent will tackle a landscaping project and 22 percent will undertake a hardscaping project. Lawn care and landscaping projects will be among the five most popular home-related tasks and are joined by painting (49 percent), home refurnishing (35 percent) and flooring (33 percent).

“Homeowners understand the importance of good curb appeal,” said Rhonda Hills, vice president and chief marketing officer at “Consumers know exterior enhancements can not only beautify their home, but it can also increase the home’s value. Landscape architects, lawn care professionals and hardscapers are very adept at developing creative, practical solutions that can drastically improve any exterior. There’s no doubt, homeowners will be lining up for these services.”

More than 60 percent of homeowners are planning to hire a home service professional in the next year, and 24 percent of those will hire a lawn care company. Professional lawn services are tied for eighth among the most sought after home professionals. They are joined by carpet cleaners (37 percent), handymen (37 percent), house cleaners (31 percent), HVAC experts (29 percent), electricians (27 percent), pest control professionals (26 percent) and plumbers (24 percent).

According to the study, 72 percent of respondents planning a hardscaping project are undecided about the brands they will choose. Belgard (6 percent), Boulder Creek Stone (5 percent) and General Shale Brick (2 percent) are among the brands receiving the most consideration.

“An overwhelming number of homeowners have no idea which brands they will consider for their hardscaping projects,” said Hills. “This creates a great opportunity for product manufacturers and landscape professionals to market directly to homeowners and establish their products and services as the brands of choice.”

The homeowner’s survey was conducted between Feb. 10 and Feb. 18 and included nearly 3,500 respondents. helps homeowners plan projects, solve problems and choose highly rated contractors in their area. features expert video, contractor profiles, consumer reviews and 30,500 money-saving deals for homeowners in every major U.S. city. Kudzu is distributed on more than 100 major media websites including and Kudzu is owned by Cox Search Inc., a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, a leading communications, media and automotive services company. Cox's businesses include Cox Communications, Manheim, and Cox Media Group.

Ron Clesen’s Ornamental Plants Becomes First Proven Winners® Licensed Landscape Grower

BONSALL, CA – EuroAmerican Propagators, home of the Proven Winners® plant brand, signs on Ron Clesen’s Ornamental Plants as North America’s first Proven Winners Licensed Landscape Grower. As a major supplier of premium plant material to high profile landscapes in the Chicagoland region, this new agreement will allow RCOP Maple Park to produce Proven Winners genetics without the additional costs of tags that are used for retail sales.

The announcement unveils a new license agreement from EuroAmerican Propagators where wholesale growers who supply the landscape industry can produce the Proven Winners line in a more landscape friendly format. “We realize that tags are not only a financial burden, but also a nuisance to landscapers,” says Siena Randall, Director of Brand Development at EuroAmerican Propagators. “This new program will help growers get the world’s best genetics into the hands of their customers in a form that fits their needs.”

Launching in the Chicagoland region with RCOP Maple Park, Proven Winners will now be more accessible for premier landscape sites like the Chicago Botanic Garden, Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue plantings. “Our goal is to provide the best value to our customers,” says Jim Clesen, owner of RCOP, “We might not be the cheapest guys out there, but we want to be known for our consistency, quality and communication in all that we do. Giving our customers, and ourselves, the best chance to succeed.” RCOP produces more than 450,000 plants annually for the landscape market alone and has made their success by offering unprecedented service to the landscapers. “We’re not just an order taker, rather we work with our clients by visiting sites and helping them select the best plants available for their specific situation.”

“This agreement is a truly groundbreaking offering from EuroAmerican Propagators,” reports Randall, “RCOP has the reputation of premium grown landscape products and we’re thrilled to make it easier for them to include our line of genetics.”

One of the other goals that Randall has for this landscape program is to reduce the plastic containers. “We’ve recently worked with Blackmore to run trials using 70mm Elle pots with the Brickman Group here in San Diego and have had great success,” says Randall. EuroAmerican Propagators has since acquired an Ellepot machine to begin servicing the local market. RCOP has not yet adopted a biodegradable option, but they have several in trial at the moment. “If you’re not looking towards sustainability, you’re going to go away,” says Clesen. “Our goal is to have 70% of production in a bio-pot by 2012.”

Both EuroAmerican Propagators and RCOP have been leaders in bringing innovative and strong-performing plant materials to their customers. This agreement will only strengthen the partnership between the two companies as they make it simpler and more cost effective for landscapers to use Proven Winners plants.

Wholesale growers interested in becoming a Proven Winners Licensed Landscape Grower may contact Siena Randall at EuroAmerican Propagators.

Editor’s Notes: Home of Proven Winners®, the #1 plant brand, EuroAmerican Propagators specializes in new and innovative plants. A leading supplier of liners and pre-finished 4-inch plants to commercial growers throughout North America, products include Proven Winners® Annuals & Perennials, Savvy Succulents® and Graceful Grasses™.

Situated on ten acres in Maple Park, RCOP’s facility includes over 95,000 square feet of covered greenhouse and more than three acres of dedicated outdoor growing area. RCOP carefully selects genetics based on local performance for gardeners and landscapers. Producing over 700,000 plants a year, RCOP caters to the landscape professional as well as independent garden centers in the Chicagoland region.

EuroAmerican Propagators
32149 Aquaduct Road
Bonsall, California 92003

Bertrand Landscape Project Featured on "This Old House"

ILCA Member Bertrand Landscape's 2009 ILCA Excellence in Landscape Award winning project, the Volini House in Oak Brook, IL is featued in the May issue of the 17 Emmy award winning "This Old House". The magazine features four pictures of the Volini house project.

The article is called "How to get the best curb appeal on the block",,20466697,00.html


Russo Power Equipment Is Heading To Hainesville

For a small town of just over 4,000 residents, Hainesville, Illinois is about to attract a lot of attention. The oldest city in Lake County is going to be the newest home of Russo Power Equipment. Their new retail location will be located on Route 120 at the intersection of Belvidere Road and Hainesville Road, just west of Grayslake.

Russo, which started out as a neighborhood hardware store on the northwest side of Chicago forty years ago, has transformed into a Midwestern powerhouse (literally) for commercial contractors and professional landscapers. Russo has made a great deal of noise in the industry this past decade by opening their current locations in Schiller Park in 2005 and Naperville in 2007. Still, they are looking to continue the trend into this next decade starting with Hainesville. Russo is known in the industry for carrying the widest selection of manufactures including Bob-Cat, Echo, Honda, Kawasaki, Scag, Stihl, Toro, and introduced their newest line Kubota this past summer. They have also increased their people power this past year by hiring over 25 new employees, majority for the new location.

According to Eric Adams, President of Russo Power Equipment, they had looked at a variety of locations in northern Illinois, but decided on the old Edward Hines Lumber building because it really fit their niche. “I just have a feeling about this place,” Adams said excitedly. With this new Hainesville location, not only will Russo be able to develop relationships with new customers, but they’ll be able to cater to a loyal customer base that ranges from northern Illinois to customers as far as Minnesota that currently drive down to their Schiller Park location. “We are here because of our customer base and we couldn’t have done it without them. They deserve a large thank you and we hope this new store will really benefit them.” Adams also added that the city of Hainesville has been great and very cooperative during the whole process.

Russo plans to make Hainesville their most innovative retail location and with over ten acres of property, they have plenty of room for opportunities. However, what won’t change are the ideals that got them here. Russo has been able to separate themselves from other power equipment dealerships over the years with their excellent service, vast selection of parts, and top-notch specialists in each department. The new store is set to open its doors in March. Check out their website at for more events planned for the month of March.

Midwest Groundcovers Purchases the Natural Garden

(February 1, 2011) – Midwest Groundcovers LLC purchases native plant nursery The Natural Garden, Inc.

Midwest Groundcovers LLC, a wholesale nursery headquartered in St. Charles, Illinois, is pleased to announce the purchase of neighboring specialty native plant nursery, The Natural Garden, Inc.

The addition of The Natural Garden, Inc. to the Midwest family of companies is a timely and favorable product expansion for Midwest and their customers. The acquisition will increase Midwest's native plant inventory and will give Midwest customers access to a diverse array of local eco-type native plants.

Midwest and The Natural Garden are working together to ensure a seamless transition for customers and a smooth changeover for employees. Midwest will continue native plant nursery production at The Natural Garden nursery site in St. Charles, Illinois but will transition to sell primarily Natural Garden Natives™ through Midwest Groundcovers LLC. Natural Garden Natives™ will be the regional eco-type specific native plants originating from The Natural Garden stock plants and seed beds; these plants were originally collected in the 1970s and 1980s, primarily in Kane County but no further than 90 miles from the St. Charles nursery site.

Together with these new specialty native plant offerings, customers will benefit from the diverse selection of plant material, brand programs and plant collections Midwest offers, as well as their efficient, quick and convenient delivery services in the greater Midwest.

An alliance between Midwest Groundcovers LLC and The Natural Garden, Inc. is a natural fit. The long time nursery neighbors have shared history and resources. Walter Stephens, founder of The Natural Garden, Inc., often purchased groundcovers from Midwest’s first nursery location. Midwest business partner – renowned horticulturist, author, and partner of Northwind Perennials – Roy Diblik, was a long-time employee of The Natural Garden, Inc.

The Natural Garden brand will continue to be synonymous with quality, authenticity, and customer service. The nursery was founded in 1953 as a place where landscapers and gardening enthusiasts could purchase perennials dug for customers on site. During the 1970s, as public interest in native landscaping and gardening grew, The Natural Garden, Inc. expanded their product line by propagating and producing native prairie plants from locally collected seed and by producing a large selection of container perennials.

Midwest Groundcovers LLC is an industry leader in the propagation, growth, and wholesale distribution of quality container nursery stock. The company operates three state-of-the-art production facilities, including nurseries in St. Charles, Illinois, Virgil, Illinois, and Glenn, Michigan. Each year, these facilities produce millions of ground covers in over 100 different varieties; over 500 varieties of perennials, ornamental grasses, and native plants; and over 170 varieties of deciduous shrubs, broadleaf evergreens, hardy shrub roses, conifers, and vines.

Midwest Groundcovers LLC garners frequent press coverage by regional media outlets and is regularly featured in a number of major trade publications, including The Landscape Contractor and Landscape Architecture. Visit Midwest Groundcovers LLC on the web at




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