This month’s Hardscape Hero is the team of Mike Hildebrand, John Guidon and Dean Johnson from James River Nurseries. We spoke to John Guidon about the winning hardscape project and James River Nurseries’ approach to exceeding their clients’ expectations.

James River Nurseries is a full service landscape/hardscape firm with the ability to design and manage all aspects of large and small landscape projects. And together, Mike, John and Dean have over 80 years’ experience between them, which means when it comes to hardscapes there’s nothing they haven’t seen or installed.

Even after hundreds of jobs, the JRN team still gets a kick out of the transformation that comes with the “before and after” and how it affects the customer.

And speaking of transformations, for their latest project, the team was able to reimagine a client’s outdoor space, increasing the amount of usable area from fifty percent to nearly one hundred percent. On top of all that, they were able to meet an extremely tight deadline – two days in advance of the client’s big outdoor party. All in a day’s work!

JRN prides themselves on problem solving. John spoke of one job where they identified a major landscape draining issue. The client had received many estimates and proposals but none of them touched on or mentioned the issue. JRN took the time to study the landscape, identify the issue and then worked with the client on solving it before they started laying down pavers.

Hardscape Planning Tips from James River Nurseries
John recommends homeowners plan ahead, plan big, and then scale to budget. It’s important not to obsess on every detail right at the beginning. Instead, he says, “let the project evolve naturally.”

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the choices available, so the JRN team reminds homeowners to meet with their contractor to narrow down the options, identify possible issues with the landscape and make design decisions. After that, the installation is a snap.

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