Pride of ownership shows, and appealing curb appeal is one clear indication of quality, inside and out. Two local landscaping businesses are ready to turn your home into the jewel of the neighborhood.
Landscape Development of DeWitt
Landscape Development of DeWitt and owners Mike and Kathy Stevens are celebrating 40 years of transforming area lawns into showplaces. They’ve owned the company for 18 of those years, and they and their eight employees take pride in what they accomplish for their happy customers.
According to Mike Stevens, “We custom design and install outdoor hardscapes and softscapes. Hardscapes refer to anything that isn’t living: brick, stone, pavers, retaining walls and water features. Softscapes includes flowers, plantings, trees and shrubs. What we offer includes decks and patios, walkways and paths, retaining walls, container gardens, planting beds, tree planting or removal, custom fencing and pergolas, garden ponds and waterfalls, privacy screening using plants, irrigation systems, outdoor kitchens and living areas, outdoor fireplaces and firepits, and lawn seeding and sod.
“We have our own retail nursery and greenhouse, and we purchase our hardscape features from Michigan suppliers whenever possible. We stick to residential customers and don’t get into commercial landscaping. For about half of our customers, we continue with mowing and maintenance of their lawns.”
The staff includes Michigan-certified landscape contractors, certified nurserymen, a master gardener, horticulturists, landscape designers and a licensed builder. Many of the employees have 20-plus years of experience and expertise.
Mike Stevens says, “Homeowners are interested in outdoor living; we create both outdoor living spaces and outdoor kitchens. While water features continue to be popular, I’ve noticed that people are looking to integrate the water feature into the space and not make it the center of attention. On our website, you can see some of our work and think about how it fits into your plans. Our customers come to us with an idea of what they want, and we can design it, work out all the details and make sure their outside space is perfect for them.”
Landscape Development’s main focus for marketing is participating in home and garden shows. Upcoming events include the Greater Lansing Home Builders and Remodelers Show, February 25 to 27 at the Lansing Center, and the Lansing Home and Garden Show, March 17 to 20 at the Michigan State University Pavilion. They are also planning to be part of the Home Building and Remodeling Show being held April 12 to 15.
In 1985, Rick Luke started a small lawn maintenance business to help him with college expenses at Lansing Community College and Michigan State University. He didn’t know that his “small business” would eventually grow into Luke Landscape with upwards of 20 employees and enough work to keep him more than busy year-round. Instead of focusing on maintenance as was his original intent, the business has grown into a full-service landscaping company.
Today Luke Landscape offers custom design landscaping, which can include water features, such as streams, waterfalls and ponds; patios; outdoor kitchens and living spaces; pools and spas; retaining walls and boulders; and maintenance. And while the business is headquartered in Lansing, and they do most of their work here, they also venture farther afield. According to Luke, they do a fair amount of work in Pennsylvania. He says, “We did one job there, and people liked it, so more opportunities came up for us purely through word of mouth.”
Next year, they will be working on a large project for a corporate client in London, Ontario. Luke says, “We have been getting jobs for what we call ‘corporate gardens,’ and we’re finding a good market for those.
“We now specialize in using natural stone which we get either locally, mostly from Hammond Farms here in Lansing, or from Canada. We’ve found, just through working in other areas, that the suppliers we have locally are advanced beyond what we normally see.”
Luke does most of the design work himself and partners with others, like horticulturist Dick Von Tersch, to refine the plan. According to Luke, “Dick can come up with ideas for unique plants, bushes and trees that fit into my design.”
Despite their work with corporations, most of their work is for residential clients. According to Luke, “When customers come to us, they usually don’t have a clear idea of what they want, so we come up with a design that will fit their needs.
“We work hard to make sure that everything in our design is integrated. We design and execute the total package. We like to use reclaimed materials, like timber from old barns. When we do projects that include pulling out old trees, we save them and use them in our design plan.”
Luke Landscape participates in local home and garden shows and will be part of the same shows already mentioned.
Despite economic conditions, the business is doing well. According to Luke, last year was their best year, and they anticipate continued growth. Locally, one can see their work at Playmakers and the MSU Radiology building. There is now another year of work ahead.