Happy Cinco de Mayo

MC900436192[1]It’s Cinco de Mayo, and while for most of us that conjures up an image of partying, it also brings to mind thoughts of Mexico and our Latino friends living here. We know them as hard working, decent people, that are looking for the same opportunities our immigrant forebears sought. Most of us are just one or two generations from the boat, so it’s not too distant a memory.

As our legislators debate the merits of various reform strategies, make no mistake that the system is in sore need of reform. I know some people that have been in the queue for citizenship for 15 years and the end is still not in sight. There’s got to be a better way.

Support action for immigration reform this year. We have all waited long enough. Paul Martin, Leisure Landscapes


What does it mean to be Green?

Sustainability 4I find it somewhat ironic that everyone is claiming the moniker green. We have  green electronics, building supplies, refrigerants, even green detergents (you know, that stuff that adds phosphates to the water supply).  But what does it really mean to be Green?

I’m of the old school that identifies the Green Industry as those who are directly greening’ the planet. That would be farmers, growers, plant nurseries, landscapers; they are squarely in the middle of that green target. Along with them are the landscape architects, planners and designers that make sure that every development has a natural component that is prominently featured, if not the priority, of the project.

And then there are green practices that everyone can adopt. Another term that applies is Sustainability. Sustainability That term means that a system is self-supporting, without the addition of outside resources.  We at Leisure Landscapes have a rule of thumb: keep what was generated on the site at the site.  This means that waste products aren’t generated and hauled away for someone else to deal with.  It also means that resources aren’t brought in to augment the local environment. In short, we create sustainable landscapes. How do we do that?

Let’s consider grass.  We mow it to keep it looking good and strengthen the turf by allowing light to fall uniformly giving the densest concentration of turf. Why is this important? Turf is one of the best types of vegetation to hold the soil and prevent erosion. This prevents silt from entering the streams and rivers.  This is good because erosion is the number one problem affecting water quality in North Carolina. Now, while we’re mowing, we want to mulch the clippings, not carry them away. Why? Carrying them off as a waste product adds a burden and cost (transport, labor, processing) to convert it to something useful (compost). Instead, leave them on site. It not only defrays the cost of processing them elsewhere, it reduces cost. Because the grass, breaking down in place, returns nitrogen and other elements to the soil mitigating the need for bringing in fertilizer.

The same thing may be said for leaves. Instead of blowing them to the street to be picked up and carried away, get that mower and chop them up. The resulting leaf mulch is one of the best to add to your beds and natural areas. And here again, the cost of adding fertilizers and buying mulch is significantly reduced. if not eliminated.

So we can save the planet one yard at a time. And it starts with you.

Of course, today is Earth Day,and it’s important that everyone be conscious of how they effect the environment. And every individual, company and business wants to be seen in the warm glow of green light. But being green should be something that happens not just on ‘Earth Day’,  but every day.

Paul Martin

Leisure Landscapes Celebrates 20 Years!

20thYes, it’s hard to believe!  This year is the 20th Anniversary of Leisure Landscapes.

It all began in August of 1993. The company I was with for 18 years was downsizing and I was let go. This had happened to me just two years before when I was working on a project in New Jersey. I found another position here in Raleigh, NC and thought that I would be secure. I had found a home.  My sister was in Chapel Hill and my Dad was in Hampstead, just north of Wilmington. This would be the place I would stay.

So when the choice came between looking for another position within the company in another part of the country or starting on my own business here, I chose here. Afterall, it could happen again and my ego was too fragile to go through that risk again. Better to be the master of my own destiny.

The early designs were all by hand.

The early designs were all by hand.

I reinvented myself. I took courses in plant identification and applied for a landscape contractor’s license. I got certified in pesticide applications and traded my car for a truck. I got two lucky breaks with a full landscape and irrigation installation job for a  buddy in my former company (who was also laid off and started a successful detective agency) and my neighborhood HOA which gave me a landscape maintenance contract for the subdivision.

For the first three years I worked solo; designing and selling jobs by night and installing and doing maintenance during the day. The passion for me was (and still is)  the design: I was an artist and the landscape presents a 3-D sculptural media, one that is dynamic and ever changing. You not only had to design for the aesthetic of how it looks now, but how it would look when plants and trees mature. How would it look in 20 years?

Well, now I know. And it looks pretty good. I have not only grown landscapes but grown a company. My son works with me now and we have 9 employees. We have  fleet of trucks and a hundred landscape maintenance contracts. My landscape designs and installations have won awards from the state landscape association. We have a tract of land from which to run our operations and will be opening our new office building and model home next month.

So we will celebrate  throughout this year with special offers and events. Stay posted for more information or check the main website at www.LeisureLandscapes.com. And thank you for 20 great years.

Paul Martin
Leisure Landscapes

Leisure Landscapes Begins A Blog

Paul MartinPresident & CEO

Paul Martin
President & CEO

Communications is key to any relationship. And we have found over the years that different people relate to different methods of communication; some people respond visually, some people have to hear it and some need to read it to relate to the message.

Our website, LeisureLandscapes.com, is very strong visually. If you want to hear about us, our customer service representatives, after-hours or on-hold messages will tell the story at 919.847.1733. For those of you who like the written word, we regularly use email and you can reach us at service@leisurelandscapes.com.

We have a Facebook site and have recently set up a Pinterest account. But some times you just want to say more, or to fully explain the topic, you NEED to say more. Our newsletter, the Leisure News, was a great vehicle for this, but the time it took to write and collect articles, compose and distribute the publication was considerable. Often, fresh news was stale by the time it was published.

Communications is key to any relationship.

So, enter the blog. With this tool, we hope to get interesting stories to you timely. We’ll share some of the exciting installation projects we’re working on and ideas that may work for you and your home. We’ll alert you to new governmental regulations and their impact. We’ll advise on things to watch for in the garden as the seasons progress and tips on how to be ‘green’ in all that we do.

So stand by to hear more from Leisure and let us know what you would like us to address. After all, communications is a two-way street.

Paul Martin
Leisure Landscapes