It’s a question I get asked all the time: How did you get into landscaping? Well, now that we have our blog up and running, I thought this would be the perfect forum to tell our story for all to hear (or read!).
The simple answer is this: I love to be outside. I especially love to be out in the woods hiking and camping. You feel free out there; you can clear your mind and just relax, away from the stress of everyday life. Even at a young age I felt that way. My first hints of what was in my future came when I’d help my grandfather and uncle with backyard projects. There was the time I built a waterfall with my grandfather, the time I built stonewalls with my uncle, and then there were the trees we transplanted in our yard. My grandfather would let us ride on the lawn mower with him when he was cutting the grass. These are cherished memories for me.
As a kid in high school, I knew I didn’t want to sit at a desk in an office all day, staring at papers or computer screens. So I talked to my guidance counselor, who was really helpful and as it turns out, profoundly influential in guiding me to where I am now. I told him about my love for the outdoors and when he combined that with my aversion to regular office jobs, he suggested the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass Amherst. It’s a nationally recognized school that has produced some great leaders and thinkers in the industry – even a groundskeeper for the San Francisco Giants.
I applied, and luckily I was accepted. It was there, enrolled in the Landscape Contracting program, that my passion for the outdoors expanded from the simplicity of nature to also include the more complex science and craftsmanship required for great landscaping.
Armed with a degree from Stockbridge, I took my passion for landscaping to my first professional gig in the industry, working for a large tree and landscape firm for a while. While I enjoyed the work, I found I wasn’t getting everything I wanted out of it and I felt I could offer so much more. I wanted to interact with customers and use my knowledge as a resource to help people with their landscape needs. That’s when I decided to go off on my own – and I convinced my brother Andy to join me.
That’s when Landscape America was born. We officially incorporated in September of 2006 and the first fall was pretty stressful, to say the least. Andy and I had both traded in our personal vehicles and taken loans for trucks to get started. We managed to land a few customers and make some connections with other businesses, so by Spring 2007 we were off and running. We had no idea how to run a business, but we knew how to landscape and make people happy through good customer service and quality work. Was it easy getting this business started? Not exactly. But we loved every minute of it – and still do!