Pizzo & Associates, Ltd.
is an award winning leader in sustainable development and professional ecological restoration services for public and private lands. Established in 1988, we are passionately committed to the stewardship of our shared natural habitat, and we recognize the need for conservation, preservation, and restoration as we work towards the beautification and revitalization of our natural ecosystems. We are the only firm in Illinois that offers all aspects of the creation and restoration of natural areas: consultation, design, installation, stewardship/maintenance and a native plant nursery.
Sustainable Development Site Design & Layout
Our team of landscape architects has wide-ranging experiences in landscaping and can incorporate natural areas into your next project. Before a planting plan is prepared for your specific project site, several factors must be considered: soil type, hydrology, ecotype, slope, sun requirements, location, site history, etc. An experienced ecologist is the best source to develop a planting plan based upon these factors. Pizzo & Associates, Ltd. has several in-house ecologists who can identify the specific site conditions and requirements, then develop a customized species list to fit the project’s individual needs. Working with public and private landowners, we convert high maintenance, low function, and chemically intensive lawns to low maintenance wonderlands. We incorporate native plants wherever they can sustain themselves, and clear non-native and invasive plant species to create a blanket of native wildflowers and shrubs, opening the area for enjoyment and natural entertainment. By landscaping this way, the ecosystem thrives and beauty is intensified.
Ecological Consultation and Planning
Our extensive experience with the restoration of native areas has given Pizzo & Associates, Ltd. a level of expertise that is unmatched. We focus our expertise on three main natural communities that occur in our native land: prairies, woodlands and wetlands. Our highly trained ecologists and landscape architects can provide ecological consultation on a wide variety of project types from recreational parklands to commercial development. Planning services consist of conducting a flora and fauna inventory, preparing a Floristic Quality Assessment (FQA), delineating existing ecosystems, reporting of existing ecological conditions, and developing a comprehensive ecological restoration plan specific to the needs of your individual site. Pizzo & Associates, Ltd. also can assess your current maintenance capabilities, provide training in the general aspects of natural areas maintenance, and provide training in the aspects of prescribed fire to make your organization self sustainable in the stewardship of your natural areas.
Services are also available to review others’ plans to ensure they meet state, county, federal, municipal, and sustainable development ordinances, rules and regulations. Our landscape architects also may offer suggestions to lower costs or solve common problems with natural solutions.
The installation of natural areas consists of seeding, planting plugs, and removing invasive species. Non-native species thrive in highly disturbed areas, so our installation creates very little disturbance. This may include no-till seeding or light hand seeding. After installation, periodic mowing creates a medium level of disturbance to knock back the invasive species and allow the native species to establish. Once the native species are established, they will out-compete the non-natives. Periodic stewardship visits will ensure that the invasive plants are under control.
Stewardship is to natural areas what maintenance is to landscaping. It is an adaptive process that allows for change while maintaining integrity. Depending on the environmental conditions from year to year, a site may look drastically different. For example, in a drought year a completely different group of plants will thrive than in other conditions. Stewardship is an age-old concept that Pizzo & Associates, Ltd. considers its highest priority. Stewardship practices may include the use of herbicide, fire, mechanical removal and supplemental seeding.
Pizzo & Associates, Ltd. propagates two hundred native plant species and harvests over a hundred species of seed from a remnant wetland on site and from propagation beds that originated from locally collected seed. In addition to the species grown in-house, Pizzo works with a network of native plant nurseries in the Midwest. Trained ecologists will locate the best source for your specific plant and seed requirements and will ensure that your project utilizes the best plants and seeds available. This is of utmost importance because plants and seeds that are not native to the area in which they will be planted will not be as successful as the area’s native plants. Pizzo utilizes plants and seeds that are indigenous to your project conditions.