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Balanced Environments Inc., Old Mill Creek, IL. Is proud to announce, they earned the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) Award of Excellence—GOLD for the Commercial Landscape Management of Covenant Living, Northbrook.

Covenant Living of Northbrook, Illinois is a 60-acre retirement community with 11 interconnected multi-tenant buildings, 18 duplexes and 3 quad style residential units. The surrounding campus landscape has evolved to support hundreds of large trees, flowering ornamentals, formal hedges, and bountiful perennial beds all set against expanses of manicured turf. The main entrance features a swan pond, home to the beloved swans “Fred and Ginger”.  Vibrant floral displays welcome residents and guest alike. Each season’s showy color plantings are a signature statement for this large retirement community. Focal areas receive four seasonal color rotation while most of the campus enjoys a vibrant summer annual rotation. The seasonal plantings aim to present bright colors, vibrancy, depth, and scale.

“To be the only Chicago suburban landscape group to win this coveted award in 2021 is just amazing. We knew we worked hard through the challenges of a hot dry summer to make Covenant Living look amazing and we have been busy keeping their old growth healthy and thriving over years of summers. To be recognized for Balanced Environments amazing team effort is really special.” Stated Sales Director Gayle Kruckenberg. 

The Landscape Awards of Excellence recognizes exceptional landscape, lawn care, and interior plantscape design, installation, and maintenance projects from around the nation. This year, 117 awards were presented to lawn and landscape companies across the nation.

Balanced Environments Inc. is an industry certified landscape design, installation, and maintenance company with 5 locations in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Balanced Environments, Inc. provides a comprehensive scope of Landscape and Snow Removal Services for homeowners’ associations, property managers and municipalities.

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (formerly PLANET) represents an industry of nearly 1 million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care experts who create and maintain green spaces for the benefit of society and the environment. The association works with law makers and the public to protect and grow the industry and offers education, networking, training and certification programs that increase the professionalism in the industry and inspire its members to excellence. For more information visit



Bruce Church, Owner-President of Balanced Environments, Inc. – visits the Covenant Harbor Camp, Lake Geneva project site.  BEI is the landscape designer and installation contractor for the landscape renovations, for the Camp Kishwauketoe (Kish – waw – key – toe – E, “Kish” for short) Village ‘Renewal Project’, Covenant Harbor’s premier camp for younger campers, school grades 2-4. 

BEI was invited by CH in December 2019 to view the camp construction, and to help guide them through the challenge of designing  new access pathways, activity areas, and other unique signature aspects for the camp; as well as solving necessary challenges for site drainage, construction repair, and environmental stability.  BEI is providing new Native Plantings and ‘forest-floor’ remediation, to jump-start the woodland re-growth throughout the camp site.  BEI has been on site since March 2020, with a projected finish in late June 2020.

Eric Anderson, Covenant Harbor Associate Director, and Brad Auguston, CH Facility & Construction Manager – treated Bruce to a full facility tour, as well as a comprehensive view of the Camp “Kish” project site.  Bruce took the opportunity to visit with members of his production staff on site, currently working on site details such as pathway gravel installation and landscape stone placement.  The early spring weather has been a challenge for the landscape crew to accomplish their work, but has also guided the site drainage needs with first-hand views of how rain-water drainage must be manipulated across the site effectively.  All hands on site are looking forward to seeing the landscape plantings installed, which will transform the camp from a construction site, back into a woodland setting.






                                                               For more information about Covenant Harbor Camp, Lake Geneva, WI :







 Did you know ... about Snow?








Snow can also precipitate as graupel or sleet. Not to be confused with hail, graupel (or snow pellets) are opaque ice particles that form in the atmosphere as ice crystals fall through freezing cloud droplets—meaning cloud particles that are colder than the freezing point of water but remain liquid. The cloud droplets group together to form a soft, lumpy mass. Sleet, on the other hand, consists of drops of rain that freeze into small, translucent balls of ice as they fall from the sky.





Snow, like the ice particles it’s made up of, is actually colorless. It’s translucent, which means that light does not pass through it easily (like it would transparent glass), but is rather reflected. It’s the light reflected off a snowflake’s faceted surface that creates its white appearance.


But why white? The reason we see objects as colors is because some wavelengths of light are absorbed while others are reflected. The object takes on whatever color light is reflected. For example, the sky is blue because the blue wavelengths are reflected while the other colors are absorbed. Since snow is made up of so many tiny surfaces, the light that hits it is scattered in many directions and will actually bounce around from one surface to the next as it’s reflected. This means no wavelength is absorbed or reflected with any consistency, so the white light bounces back as the color white.





Chicago averages 35 inches of snow per year. The US average is 28 inches of snow per year. -- Chicago gets 38 inches of rain, on average, per year. The US average is 38 inches of rain per year. -- On average, there are 189 sunny days per year in Chicago. The US average is 205 sunny days.


Chicago gets some kind of precipitation, on average, 125 days per year. Precipitation is rain, snow, sleet, or hail that falls to the ground. In order for precipitation to be counted you have to get at least .01 inches on the ground to measure.



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For his dedication to the commercial real estate industry and his tireless interest in growing BOMA/Suburban Chicago, Tom Kelly, Vice President, Balanced Environments, Inc. was recently awarded the BOMA/Suburban Chicago’s 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors someone who has made a long-lasting contribution to BOMA, done exceptional work and is dedicated to encouraging other members of our association.

Tom Kelly has been involved in the Chicago area real estate market for over 20 years and a consistent supporter of BOMA. He has served on various committees, including many years on the Trade Show Committee. He has been an integral part of the process to upgrade and refresh the yearly EXPO, making it better for exhibitors and guests alike.

Tom is dedicated to building relationships with others in the BOMA Suburban association, helping others succeed and bring more members together. Described as a very genuine individual who values people and relationships, he is someone to have in your corner! His company consistently provides financial support to BOMA programs and events, allowing more member involvement. Also described as a great mentor, he has the best interests of BOMA/Suburban Chicago in mind. Add to all this his wealth of industry knowledge, experience and his belief that BOMA/Suburban Chicago is the key to success!

 ****Join us in congratulating Tom! ****


Congratulations TEAM!


Balanced Environments, Inc. has earned

the 2018 National Association of Landscape Professionals

Award of Excellence Gold Award


for its outstanding efforts at


“Kemper Lakes Business Center” in Lake Zurich, IL.



Kemper Lakes Business Center is a world class multi-tenant corporate campus with four interconnected buildings totaling more than 1.1 million square feet for three world headquartered corporations on site. The client expects the 150 acre grounds to be continuously maintained with a polished appearance that is consistent with the impeccable interior office spaces and common areas.  All of these expectations are achieved through a close partnership and collaboration of achieving a workplace unlike any other within distinct budget constraints.


Surrounded on three sides by a connected chain of lakes, shared with the adjacent renowned Kemper Lakes Golf Club, the property possesses changing water tables and soil types resulting in challenging irrigation requirements and demands.  Landscape maintenance crews are present on the property every weekday morning to police the grounds and deadhead seasonal color plantings preparing the property for the 4000 plus daily workforce. Experienced foreman and site supervisor are responsible for regularly inspecting the property.  The on-site property management team is an integral partner during the seasonal color display selection process. High expectations are set to achieve vibrancy and intensity of color using consistent varieties at different moisture and exposure conditions. The adjacent world class golf course provides a beautiful backdrop surrounding these grounds but periodic golf tournaments including the 2018 women’s PGA championship create unique challenges for our normal maintenance practices. 




Spring Turf Awareness 

Timing is Everything   


Spring has sprung as we turn our focus to the outdoors and prepare our landscapes for the new growing season. Landscape professionals follow specific guidelines and recommendations relating to the care of turf areas. We have prepared a basic list of guidelines for you to consider relating to spring turf awareness.

Even though the fall planting season is preferred over the spring for turf seeding, there are times when we are just not willing to accept a summer with thin, bare, unhealthy lawn areas. Spring seeding can still be successful, as long as the timing and other success factors are strictly adhered to. 

 Spring seeding timing factors:
  1. Do not apply a pre-emergent herbicide (designed to control crabgrass) in the areas where you will be planting turf seed. This herbicide will prevent the new turf seeds from germinating.
  2. Spring seeding should be completed early (April 15th - May 1st target) which will allow for complete germination (2-4 weeks) and increased plant establishment prior to summer heat. Turf seed will begin germinating after the ‘soil’ temperatures reach at least 60 degrees.
  3. A consistently moist seed bed will increase the germination process resulting in a stronger plant sooner (to withstand the upcoming summer heat). Most turf varieties need 6-12 weeks of ideal growing conditions to produce an adult stand. – U of I Extension
 Spring seeding success factors:
  1. Soil-to-seed contact is an important factor in seed germination. Lightly cultivating the soil prior to sowing and lightly raking the seed after sowing will increase this soil-to-seed contact.
  2. Add organic matter (compost, peat moss, leaf mulch) as soil amendments to help improve the soil structure and increase the nutrients in the soil.
  3. Increase the germination percentage by lightly covering the newly planted seed with straw blanket or paper mulch designed to help retain moisture, reduce evaporation, and discourage birds from feeding.
  4. Select a seed blend that is appropriate for the lawn establishment. Light exposure, disease resistance, stress tolerance, and use factors should be considered when selecting varieties.
  5. Newly seeded lawn areas need Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium in a much different combination than an already established turf area. Make sure to select a “starter” fertilizer. Remember, do not use ....


tu·lip   /ˈt(y)o͞oləp/ ( noun)

a bulbous spring-flowering plant of the lily family, with boldly colored cup-shaped flowers




We recently received this question from one of our clients: 


“For how many years will tulips perform well after they are planted?”

Unfortunately there is not a short, concise answer to this question. Much of their success is based on where they are planted...


Tulips planted within a perennial flower planting
 Image courtesy of DeVroomen Garden Products
  • First year – great display
  • Second year – minimal display
  • Third year – maybe 5% will bloom
In general, tulips are sensitive to wind and rain (color petal drop) and have a short bloom period when there is variation in weather conditions. When not properly protected, tulips are sensitive to winter salts and critter damage. Deer eat them like lollipops!  

(Example of tulip bulb performance after second season)

Bulb displays within perennial flower plantings can be accomplished with daffodils instead, as they last for decades and multiply as they age. For best results....


 "Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"
 The beauty of this spring has once again been an amazing show of color and life as our landscapes are reawakened from the slumber of winter. Each spring, countless plant varieties perform a show unlike any other season of the year. Early blossoms of crocus, daffodils and pansies provide an overture to the waves of varying colors that follow. Our Midwestern climate provides a perfect setting for spring bulbs such as snowdrops, tulips, hyacinth, and allium to name a few. Our woody trees and shrubs provide some of the most dramatic color shows of the year. These include forsythia, spirea, azalea, rhododendron, lilac, weigela, witch hazel, magnolia, redbud, flowering crabapple, and serviceberry. Perennial flowers emerge as they are reborn each spring surprising us with their persevering lifecycle. Phlox, iris, lenten rose, violet, columbine, bleeding heart, lungwort and bluebell make up a partial list of the early blooming perennials that perform well in our region.




As the spring gives way to the warmer summer months, flower variety is still present through woody plants, perennial flowers, and annual flower displays, but no season matches the standing ovation that is deserved for the performance of our spring flowering plants.


Of the numerous flowering plants listed above, how many do you have incorporated into your landscape? Have you accounted for....


Balanced Gives Back
  1. the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by goodwill to fellow members of the human race
  2. an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes


Over the years, Balanced Environments has contributed to many organizations and causes that create big impact on groups and individuals needing help. Two recent events demonstrate our desire to give-back and make a difference where we can.




“Second Chance” Plantings
The re-use of appropriate plantings is becoming a popular movement toward sustainability. Each spring, we identify properties where spring pansies and over 2500 tulip bulbs are re-purposed and given a “second chance”. New tulip bulbs which are planted in the fall and removed after they bloom in the spring can be re-used if stored properly during the summer. This spring we donated over 500 tulip bulbs to Roberti Community House (RCH) in Waukegan, Illinois. RCH is intended to be a gathering place, a safe haven, where neighbors of all ages can come together to develop and share their skills and talents and celebrate their successes. 




Camp “I Am Me”
Sponsored by the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA), Camp I Am Me is a special and unforgettable one-week camp experience for children and teenagers who have experienced injuries from burns. Through the generosity of donors, supporters, and volunteers, since 1991 the IFSA offers this camping opportunity at no-cost to campers; including lodging, meals, activities, and transportation to and from camp (YMCA Camp Duncan - Ingleside, IL). Through our membership in IREM (Institute of Real Estate Management) we donated our time during the 2017 Camp I Am Me Fun Fair on June 21st. Activities, games, treats and prizes were a huge part of the day to help make a memory of a lifetime for the campers.



Summertime in Chicago
"And the Living is Easy"
Another 4th of July holiday has come and gone and we are enjoying the family vacations and outings that characterize the summer months. Extended daylight hours and warmer weather inspire us to enjoy the outdoors and that favorite summer vacation destination. It’s fascinating how our weather influences our lives and daily plans.
Our weather this spring and summer has been a big challenge for landscape professionals. After one of the wettest spring seasons in 150 years precipitation has continued consistently in most Chicagoland communities. Weekly landscape maintenance schedules have been difficult to uphold and while plants enjoy the moisture for flourishing growth, our maintenance teams have been working overtime to keep up with it. With this wet, humid climate, we need to be on the lookout for seasonal pests and diseases.

Increased populations of Japanese beetle, Slugs, Aphids and Grubs are sure to be in abundance with the increased foliage to feed on. Turf diseases (fungus) will be almost inevitable this year. Fungus requires 2 conditions to survive; dampness for 12 or more hours, and humidity. We’ve had both in abundance.



As we near the half way point of our growing season our team is on the job for you. Our experienced technicians and supervisors are looking out for potential problems as a result of our weather. We are here to offer proactive maintenance practices and solutions to these challenges.


Consider discussing the following services with your Account Manager today: ....
BUDGETS: A Necessary Evil?

Most of us consider the job of creating a budget a necessary evil. To achieve financial success, budgets are indeed necessary but don’t have to be considered evil. The same is true for creating a budget that identifies landscape requirements and associated costs for your property. This budget preparation can be successful and painless if you consider three guidelines; timing, planning and knowledge.



The time to prepare a landscape budget for next season is now while the property is colorful and alive. Plant materials, turf conditions, seasonal color rotations, irrigation needs and tree care are best evaluated while they are active and thriving. It’s more effective to make decisions about summer annual flowers during the 

summer instead of trying to remember during the dead of winter.



Planning your landscape needs, should not only include next season but two or....