BLOG & Recent News


(847) 395 - 7120


April showers bring a few concerns...
Plants need moisture to survive and as we come out of another Chicagoland winter it’s important to understand the benefits and concerns of our typical spring showers. We are fortunate to live in a region where our soils are mostly rich dark topsoil that provides beneficial structure and nutrients for plants to thrive.
Although soil may seem rather solid, spaces exist between soil particles. These spaces hold vital air and water necessary for the plant roots system. Root survival is dependent upon absorbing oxygen from these air spaces in the soil. Spring rains fill the spaces in the soil with water, and the air is displaced. Gravity pulls on the water and it moves downward allowing the air to move back into the spaces. Too much water/rain saturates the soil which deprives the roots from the oxygen they need. Over time this will stop roots from functioning properly, make them susceptible to root rot infections and eventually lead to their death.
Our best defense against this situation is to make sure our landscape plants are growing in well-drained situations. This includes trees, shrubs, perennials and seasonal bedding plants. Soil preparation prior to installation is sometimes taken for granted or completely overlooked leading to certain plant decline and even failure. Automatic irrigation systems are great for plant performance until they provide too much water leading to these conditions.
Poorly drained soils, compaction and topographic problems can be repaired or resolved with; drainage systems, regrading of the soil, air spading around trees, mechanical aeration, composting, tilling, and proper soil preparation. Irrigation systems must be properly programmed to supplement water needs only as prescribed. These remedies are available and can be recommended based upon your current property conditions. Call us today to review your landscape environment.
YouTube: Root Crown Excavation With Air Spade





Balanced Environments Inc. earns INDUSTRY PARTNER of the YEAR Premier Award from IREM Chicago


Drake Hotel Site of 14th Annual Evening to Recognize Excellence in Chicago Commercial Real Estate

CHICAGO, March 2, 2018– Four Chicago area commercial real estate professionals and two leading companies were honored for excellence and outstanding contributions to the property management industry March 2 at the 14th Annual IREM Chicago Premier Awards and Casino Night.

These four professionals earned individual Premier Awards in their respective categories:

  • Steve Matre, CPM®, Banner Real Estate Group -- CPM® of the Year
  • David Newton, ARM®, CPM®, Draper and Kramer, AMO® -- ARM® of the Year
  • Celina Bright, Hillcrest Property Management, AMO® -- Leadership Award
  • Thomas Purrazzo, Hillcrest Property Management, AMO® -- Rising Star

Two companies that provide products and services to the metropolitan Chicago property management industry earned awards in their respective categories.

The gala event, held at Chicago’s historic Drake Hotel, drew more than 230 Chapter 23 members, Industry Partners and guests for an evening of food and beverage, casino games, camaraderie, and of course, recognition for the winners in six Premier Awards categories. IREM 2018 national President Donald Wilkerson, CPM® and 2016 IREM Chicago President Brian Lozell, CPM®, served as co-hosts.

A total of 19 nominations were submitted for consideration during the 2018 competition.

The Premier Awards were created to recognize people, organizations and companies for excellence in areas that include….



Your Trees Need Attention Too
The countdown to Spring is on and the growing season will soon be upon us. At Balanced Environments Inc., we would again like to thank you for choosing us for your maintenance needs, and look forward to providing you with a great experience.
One of our company objectives for 2018 is to enhance our Tree Division by offering a larger variety of services and increase our quality and response time. 
We are very pleased to announce that our new Tree Division Manager Leo Mendoza, was hired to carry out this objective. Leo has over 15 years of experience as a grounds man, plant health care technician, arborist climber, production manager, and sales. His certifications include ISA Arborist, ISA Certified Tree Specialist, ISA Utility Specialist, TCIA Tree Care Safety Professional, and Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED Trainer. 
He has a great deal of experience, but what excites us most is his enthusiasm to improve the foundation of services we already offer, and to add more that would allow us to better serve our clients.  
Tree Division Manager
  • ISA Certified Arborist IL-4893A
  • ISA Certified Tree Worker/Climber Specialist IL-4893AT
  • ISA Certified Utility Specialist IL-4893AUT
  • TCIA Certified Treecare Safety Professional #561
Immediately we took a look at our current Arboricultural Services, and we chose to add to our repertoire... the Tree Division has added the new services of Tree Inventories, Air-Spade/Root Crown Excavations, and Support Cables and Rods.
The Plant Health Care Division has already doubled the services we offered in 2017; beginning with....


Bruce Church  - Person of the Year

By Patrice Peltier, ILCA Contributing Author


Bruce Church, ILCA’s Person of the Year, thinks—and acts--outside the box.

Early in his career, he transformed Church Landscape, the company his father built, into a national player. In the process, he gave the green industry a new business model for strategic alliances. Recently, he and his family created a $100,000 scholarship fund to foster new green industry leaders who may also think outside the box.

Today, Church is president of Hard Surface Solutions Inc. and Balanced Environments Inc., companies with combined annual revenue of more than $25 million generated by more than 200 employees working out of five branch offices in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. It’s a business he learned—literally—from the ground up.

Bruce’s father Denny, an active participant in ILCA from its early days and president from 1971-75, started Church Landscape in 1963. Bruce recalls Denny’s vision was “to do a common thing uncommonly well.” He succeeded in the business and in instilling that vision in his son.

Juan Gomez, who joined Church Landscape in 1980, was a foreman when Bruce worked with the crews each summer. He remembers Denny telling him to treat Bruce like any other employee, and so he did. Today the roles are reversed. Gomez works for Bruce managing the fleet, facilities and security for both companies.

“He turned out real good,” Gomez says with affection. He fondly remembers Bruce and Denny sharing an office as father mentored son. He also remembers Bruce attending Gomez’s daughter’s Sweet 16 party, and appreciates the way Bruce socializes with employees. “He’s a great guy besides being a great boss,” Gomez says. “He is not just my boss, he is my brother.”

While working with the crews in summer, Bruce studied business and economics at University of Illinois, later also receiving an MBA from Northern Illinois University. After graduation, he joined Church Landscape as a maintenance account rep. He also made sure the company was on the cutting edge of using a new-fangled business device—computers.

“Bruce had done the hands-on work, mastered business and economics, and then, at 22 years of age, stepped into sales, and he was good at it,” recalls John Joestgen, Chief Operating Officer of Balanced Environments, Inc. “Bruce just kept building and expanding on his experiences,  and he was a natural at all of it,” Joestgen says.

Bruce soon got involved in the industry on a national level, making contacts with contractors across the country. A believer in professionalism, Bruce took the National Association of Landscape Professionals  certification test the first year it was offered, becoming a Charter Certified Landscape Professional (CCLP).

By 1998, Bruce had owned Church Landscape for ten years. Realizing that he could better serve his commercial clients by operating nationally, Bruce joined with six other contractors across the country to create a national footprint from South Carolina to California and from Texas to Minnesota.

“We merged and went public on the same day, creating new publicly traded company called LandCare USA (GRW on the NYSE),” Bruce recalls. “I knew that regional and national contracts were on the rise, and this was a way to capture that ever-growing market while sharing best practices and buying power.”

 “He saw the need to be able to operate nationally because of the needs of our commercial client base,” says Tom Kelly, now Vice President and part owner of Balanced Environments, Inc.  At the time, Kelly was a maintenance rep for LandCare USA.

“For me, as a rep, it was phenomenal,” he says. “The wider we could stretch our arms, the better we could meet the needs of our clients, and the better we could get in the door.”

Creating an alliance of smaller, regional companies set off an acquisitions race with ServiceMaster, who recognized the benefits of this structure.

“It created an acquisitions war, which had never happened before in our industry,” Joestgen recalls. In the process, Joestgen says Bruce became one of the industry’s leading experts in mergers and acquisitions, one of his responsibilities as a director of a public company.

“He developed a unique skill set,” Joestgen says. “He was one of four or five elite people in the landscape industry who really understood the process and knew how to be smart about it.”

“It was a fascinating and exciting time,” says Church. “We were in a feeding frenzy, competing against ServiceMaster for companies to buy. We went from a $135 million annualized run rate to a $335 million annualized run rate in nine months. We had some truly brilliant people on the management team, and it was as fun and enlightening as you could ever imagine.”

Within a year or so, ServiceMaster bought LandCare USA, making it part of TruGreen LandCare.

Constrained by an agreement not to enter into landscape contracting for five years, Bruce established Hard Surface Solutions to meet the asphalt and concrete repair needs of his existing customers.

“It was a strategic stroke of genius,” says Joestgen. “He kept up his relationships with every owner and property manager he had worked with. After five years, when he started Balanced Environments, he didn’t have to start from scratch. He had all those relationships intact.”

“We’re still working with many of the same clients as Church Landscape. We’ve grown with them,” Kelly notes.

One of the themes that runs through all Bruce’s companies—from Church Landscape to Balanced Environments—is a dedication to meeting the needs of customers uncommonly well.

“When it comes to our clients, there’s never a ‘no’, says John Ploss, Senior Landscape Project Manager at Balanced Environments. “Bruce’s approach is always ‘How can we help you do better? How can we fit into your scenario and give you something of value?’”

When people talk about Bruce, they often use the words “tenacious” and “driven”.  Ploss is no exception. “He’s a real go-getter. He has the tenacity and the urge to push and push and push to get the best work done,” says Ploss, who joined Church Landscape in 1991. “It’s great to work around someone who has that kind of drive.”

Bruce’s drive includes working with ILCA to make the whole green industry better. “As one of the early ILCA members, Denny laid the groundwork for the company’s involvement going forward,“ Ploss explains. The association’s emphasis on



Bruce Church, President/CEO of Balanced Environments and Hard Surface Solutions, recently received the very first BOMA/Suburban Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award. This award was presented in recognition of Bruce’s dedication to the commercial real estate industry and his tireless interest in and support of BOMA/ Suburban Chicago.


Serving on various panels and committees, including many years on the BOMA Membership Committee, Bruce has been a consistent supporter of BOMA and their mission for over 30 years.  His dedication to success has created a solid foundation within both of his multi-million dollar companies performing professional landscape, hardscape and snow management services throughout the Chicagoland and southern Wisconsin areas. Bruce has been described as someone who always operates with absolute professionalism providing exceptional service to his clientele.


Bruce is very proud of the growth of both companies and enjoys spending time networking with high-level clients at outings and events. He is passionate about developing his employees enabling them to provide the professional level of service expected by their clients. Congratulations Bruce!


For release-12.15.2017


The seasons change but we remain
Most landscape maintenance service agreements end each year on November 30th marking the end of the fall season with
anticipation for winter. Even as the calendar indicates the end of November, our service focus does not end. December
1st typically begins most snow and ice management agreements for which we have been preparing over the past five months.
Our service offerings may change but we remain Client Focused.
Take a look at the myriad of services we provide to our valued clients during these winter months:
  1. Full service professional snow and ice management
  2. Rejuvenation/dormant pruning of the plant material on your property
  3. Professional landscape design services – a great time to plan for spring
  4. Winter policing and general site cleanup of your property
  5. Full service arbor care including tree trimming, removals and fertilization
  6. Winter protection for plants and property from snow, ice and salt
  7. Digital image design work including 3D property presentations
  8. Budget review and ‘wish list’ for our clients....

READ MORE: http:/