Designer for a Day: The first step in creating a beautiful native landscape

Are you interested in renovating your outdoor spaces or integrating native plants into your landscape? ecology + vision’s Designer for a Day program is ideal for people who are not sure where to begin. Let us provide trusted native landscape advice and insight by creating a customized conceptual design that you can implement over time on your own or working with a contractor.

Winter Clearing for Beautiful Results

Is winter clearing of invasive woody species part of your stewardship plan?

Clearing invasive brush allows:

  • More sunlight and water to reach the desirable native plants already present
  • Dormant seed to awaken
  • Diverse species of birds, mammals and insects to thrive
  • High quality wildflowers to fill in and carpet the landscape

In winter, desirable native plants have gone dormant, allowing our crews to access and remove invasive woody shrubs and trees. When we perform brush clearing we target invasive trees and shrubs such as Box Elder, Silver Maple, Japanese Barberry, Common Buckthorn and Amur Honeysuckle. These trees and shrubs leaf out early and hold their leaves longer, preventing sun and water from reaching the native wildflowers and grasses. Once the stems have been cut back, it is necessary to treat the fresh stumps to prevent re-sprouting. Sometimes removal on nonnative trees such Ornamental Pear, Willow, and Black Locust is necessary. Follow up with a prescribed fire after clearing and see even better results.

With regular stewardship, your natural area or sustainable landscape can become a thriving, vibrant experience filled with plants, pollinators, and animals.

On Demand Webinar: Native Landscaping and Ecological Restoration 101 for Property Managers

On Demand Webinar: Native Landscaping & Ecological Restoration 101 for Property Managers.

An on-demand webinar presented by Jack Pizzo, senior ecologist and founder of The Pizzo Group, author of “Green and Natural Spaces in Your Community”. This webinar focuses on “Native Landscaping and Ecological Restoration 101”, an intro for Homeowners Associations and Property Managers.

Ecological Assessments

Successful ecological restoration begins with properly assessing a site. What kind of plants and animals are there? What is the topography? Is there water and how does it move? Walking a site allows landscape architects and planners to get to know its special characteristics and how to maximize resources to restore its natural beauty. Sometimes, we find threatened and endangered species or particularly valuable remnant ecosystems.

Some natural areas are more challenging to navigate through restoration than others. For example, wetland regulations can be particularly tough to tackle without expert help. First, you need to determine if your site qualifies as a wetland. We can offer assistance. Our certified wetland specialists will walk you through the process.

We believe in using science to drive our ecological restoration activities. When we assess your site, we use the most recent technology to accurately measure and monitor the flora and fauna. This creates a bedrock of solid data to build and evaluate the restored ecosystems and make realistic performance criteria to determine the long-term success of the project.

Once an assessment is in place, it’s time to dive into restoration. Are you ready to discover unexpected treasures on your site?

Bumble Bee Identification and Conservation Workshop

The Pizzo Group, in partnership with Bike a Bee, is offering a new Bumble Bee Identification and Conservation Workshop in 2019. The workshop is in Shabbona, IL on Thursday, May 30th from 9AM-3PM, including indoor and outdoor portions. Learn to identify the federally endangered rusty patched bumble bee and other bees native to northern Illinois. In this workshop, you will learn about the habitat needs and behaviors of the rusty patched bumble bee and why it has become an endangered species. Find out why bee surveys are an important part of the conservation effort, how they work, and how you can help.

The Pizzo Group has earned more than 140 awards

The Pizzo Group 2018 Awards

The Pizzo Group has earned more than 140 awardsThe Pizzo Group of companies has received more than 140 industry awards from professional associations such as Illinois Landscape Contractors Association, The Conservation Foundation, the USEPA & Chicago Wilderness, and the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Here are the awards we received in 2018:


Award Organization
2018 Graceland Cemetery Prairie Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) Gold Pizzo & Associates Ltd with Wolff Landscape Architecture and ecology+vision, llc
2018 HUB Group Headquarters Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) Silver Native Landscape Contractors, LLC
2018 UI Labs Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) Silver Native Landscape Contractors, LLC with Wolff Landscape Architecture
2018 Oaks of Vernon Hills Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) Silver Native Landscape Contractors, LLC
2018 Lakewood Falls Retention Ponds Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) Merit Pizzo & Associates, Ltd
2018 Private Residence Lakeside, MI Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) Merit Pizzo & Associates, Ltd
2018 Radio Flyer Headquarters Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) Merit Native Landscape Contractors, LLC
2018 Stillwater HOA – Book Road Pond Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) Merit Pizzo & Associates, Ltd
2018 Augusta Village HOA Stream Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) Merit Pizzo & Associates, Ltd

Fall 2019 Seminars: Creating and Restoring Habitat Where YouLive, Work and Play

Creating and Restoring Habitat Where You Live, Work and Play

Bring the birds and butterflies back – get out and enjoy nature!

Join us for an educational seminar that will cover the hows and whys of habitat creation and restoration. We’ll provide audience members with compelling reasons and processes to create their own habitat where they live, work and

Seminar Dates
We are holding this complimentary seminar on various dates and locations throughout the Chicago area and SW Michigan. Learn more.

Late Season Pollinator Partners

With autumn’s arrival, Aster and Goldenrod have taken the stage to not only dazzle with pretty flowers, but also offer rich nectar sources for pollinators. These staples of gardens and natural areas are an important late-season stop for bees, butterflies, moths, wasps, and more. You may have noticed the bright golden flowers of Goldenrods in fields and roadsides. Asters’ small daisy-like blooms come in white, blue, lavender, purple and sometimes pink. They pair beautifully together and with the rich fall color of native grasses.

Many people confuse Goldenrod with Ragweed, but Goldenrod is insect pollinated, so their pollen is heavy and falls to the earth. Ragweed is wind pollinated, so its pollen is light, fluffy, and floats in the breeze, much to allergy sufferers distress. The brilliant yellow flowers of Goldenrod offer a striking late-season show and are a larval host for several moths. There are many species native to our area and you can find them mostly in sunny prairie conditions. However, there are a few Goldenrod that light up in the shade.

b_solcae.jpgBlue Stemmed Goldenrod (Solidago caesia)

A short, elegant goldenrod for part shade situations, Blue Stemmed Goldenrod forms groups of single stems topped by a cluster of bright yellow blossoms. Blooming into October, it does best in average soils and is named for the gray to bluish cast on its stems.





b_solfle.jpgZigZag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis)

A Goldenrod found in part to full shade, ZigZag Goldenrod thrives in nearly any soil and reaches about three feet high. Its flowers tend to zigzag between the dark green toothed leaves. Its clusters of yellow florets bloom August through October.





Elm-leaved Goldenrod (Solidago ulmifolia)

Wide-spreading panicles of yellow florets appear beginning in July and bloom into October on this Goldenrod. Found in part to full shade, Elm-leaved Goldenrod reaches about three feet in height and does well in average soils.

Asters bloom for months and charm us with their abundant flowers. They are beautiful season extenders in a perennial garden or natural area. Tough and pretty, Asters are host species for numerous moths. There is a broad array of Aster species native to Illinois and you’ll find one suitable for every site.

nature blossom plant white field meadow flower petal bloom daisy botany garden close flora wildflower flowers aster macro photography flowering plant daisy family oxeye daisy land plant chamaemelum nobile marguerite daisy

Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides)

Heath Aster can be found in sun to part shade in average to dry soils. It explodes into clouds of tiny white flowers all along its stems in August and blooms well into October. Heath Aster has needle-like foliage and a bushy to sprawling habit.

Image result for new england aster

New England Aster (Symphyotrichum nova-angliae)

Large purple daisy flowers with yellow centers cover New England Aster in late summer. A robust, bushy aster, it can reach around five feet high. New England Aster may also sport lavender or light pink blossoms. It’s commonly found in sun to part shade and tolerates a wide range of soils.

Image result for Symphyotrichum shortii

Short’s Aster (Symphyotrichum shortii)

An aster for part to full shade, Short’s Aster thrives in average to dry soils with good drainage. This makes it a good choice for dry shade situations under trees. It features large light blue or purple flowers that bloom August through October.





Plant Availability