The right blend of flowers, shrubs, and trees can transform a boring space into something you never want to leave. Well-maintained landscaping elevates the look of a home or business and sets it apart. Dane Mason is a Southern Illinois native, growing up in Du Quoin. Attending Southern Illinois University (SIU), Mason received a degree in Landscape Horticulture with a specialization in Landscape Design and graduated in 2009, right during a recession, when jobs were scarce. An ambition to explore outside Southern Illinois was put on hold and Mason got a job working at Plantscape Nursery in Herrin. About a year into the job, he began designing a few landscapes for people on the side, and a new business was born.
CreativeScapes LLC is a landscaping company that offers landscape design, landscape maintenance, and landscape construction for commercial & residential clients. The company’s knowledge of the region allows them to create landscape plans that use plants that are good for Southern Illinois and the right varieties for the space being designed. In addition to design, CreativeScapes also provides maintenance following the installation of a project. Maintaining the plants is a key factor in having a landscape that looks great for many years.
Early this year, CreativeScapes purchased a building in Du Quoin to turn it into a local plant shop. The company is currently in the process of remodeling the building, which was once a dry cleaner. Mason hopes to provide an indoor and outdoor space to experience the wonder of plants. He hopes it becomes a destination for people from all over Southern Illinois to buy plants and relax.
Q & A With Dane Mason
Why Southern Illinois?
I never dreamed of working for myself and starting my own company, but it just kind of happened. There is a need for professional landscape design and landscape construction in Southern Illinois and it’s what led me to start the business. When I first started, I was simply getting business through word of mouth, but I kept a full schedule. I could have gone to a bigger city, but I wanted to provide good quality work right here at home.
I think my degree sets me apart from other companies in the industry. It is always good to hire a landscape designer to plan and create a landscape that will grow and flourish for years with knowledge of the plants they are using.
What would you tell others who are looking to start or expand a company in Southern Illinois?
I would tell them not to hesitate and to put their heart into it. Businesses that thrive in Southern Illinois are ones where the people involved are 100% committed. As a customer, you see that they care about every detail of the business. Passion is a quality that I think makes a business successful, truly wanting to provide a product or service. If you create something and put your heart and soul in, people will travel to support you.
Share about your time at SIU and how it prepared you for your career.
I found a great education in Southern Illinois. I spent two years at John A. Logan College in Carterville and then transitioned to SIU in Carbondale. It was economical for me and my family, and they offer really great programs close to home. The Department of Agriculture at SIU has one of the top horticulture programs in the country, and I was able to gain a lot of hands-on experience by designing real life projects in class and installing landscapes on campus. The campus was a perfect place to learn horticulture with the beautiful natural landscapes SIU offers.