Last week, our office staff in the design and maintenance divisions attended the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association’s annual trade show, iLandscape. We were inspired by new products, from landscaping to hardscaping and everything in-between. Here are some of our favorites.


Photos courtesy of Midwest Groundcovers.

Plant scientists are continuously cultivating improved varieties of favorite perennials. Now available from Midwest Groundcovers, a local grower and wholesale distributor of quality container nursery stock, are a stunning orange coneflower (Echinacea); a shiny silver coralbell (Heuchera); a compact, black-spot-resistant black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia) and a rosy-red, re-blooming daylily (Hemerocallis).

NewGen Boxwood. Photo courtesy of Saunders Brothers.

NewGen Boxwood is a new variety of boxwood that is resilient and great for the modern landscape. Seventy years in the making, this boxwood has been bred to be beautiful and have better tolerance of boxwood blight and better resistance to boxwood leafminer. It will be available in 2020 from Saunders Brothers, a 100+ year grower of quality plants.

Paving Materials

Belden Plank Paver, Greige Blend. Photo courtesy of Lurvey.

The Belden Tumbled Plank clay paver is not necessarily new on the market, but we were reminded of its fantastic qualities. The “greige” color is a mixture of tans and greys, and it beautifully complements limestone or bluestone. It’s a bit larger than your standard brick, coming in 4” x 12”, so it would be perfect for a large patio or driveway.

Photo courtesy of RockStep.

Natural stone outcropping steps are perfect for any naturalized hillside garden, but natural stone can carry a high price tag. We discovered a great alternative called RockSteps. The steps are made of reinforced concrete with polymer additives for durablility, and have the appearance of natural stone. Each step has 6 unique faces for a natural effect, and are available in five colors to match any hardscaping or landscaping color palette.

Hardscape Elements

Canadian bubbling boulder. Photo courtesy of All Stone Solutions.

Mesabi boulder. Photo courtesy of All Stone Solutions.

All Stone Solutions, based in Wisconsin, carries an assortment of unique natural stone for use in an outdoor living space. They offer fire rocks, fire tables with polished tops, camp and shower stools with polished tops, and bubbling rocks. Their Canadian and Mesabi stone collections are spectacular.

Stacked Spillway Wall. Photo courtesy of Aquascape.

Water features add a unique tranquility to any garden. This one is from Aquascape and it’s called the Stacked Slate Spillway Wall. At 32″ tall, composed of a durable and lightweight fiberglass-resin composite that looks and ages like real stone, it can stand alone as a curved wall, or be combined with multiple pieces to create a wave. It’s a great way to separate two outdoor areas with a stunning focal point.


EZ Kut Ratchet Pruner. Photo courtesy of EZ Kut.

If you do your own pruning, this is the best tool on the market. The EZ KUT Ratchet Pruner makes pruning easier than ever. Thanks to its ratcheting system, you have the leverage to cut sticks and branches up to 1.5”. It is all metal, with a high quality cast aluminum body and SK5 hardened carbon steel blade with non-stick coating, and an ergonomic rubber handle. Available in pink or olive color. All EZ KUT products carry a lifetime guarantee.