Integration is everything to Josh Bell. Whether it’s partnerships with manufacturers, his crew or a project installation, creating meaningful synergies is the key to his success. 

Nearly 25 years ago, Bell was at a crossroads and, like many of us do at times, he questioned what he wanted to do with the rest of his career. His landscaping company was successful but over time wasn’t providing the creative outlet he desired. Bell noticed he was low on energy and lacking passion for this work and needed to make a change. 

“I had been working in the landscaping industry for decades and was getting really burnt out. Around 2014, I sold off all of my maintenance accounts and took a bit of time for myself. The following year, I connected with a Belgard sales rep and began conversations about designing projects with their pavers and walls. The rest is history. They played an instrumental role in getting me into installing hardscape projects with comprehensive training, obtaining certifications and even help getting my first few patios installed.”

New Leaf Landscaping’s Hardscape Hero-winning project is located in Richmond, Virginia and originated from a recommendation from the home builder who was impressed with Bell’s creative eye and design skills. This project install was literally an uphill battle and required innovative functional design as well as aesthetics. 

“The design process is my favorite phase of a project, especially when it’s a blank pallet like this install. Getting to create something from nothing is easily my favorite part and what keeps me motivated. Our homeowners were angels and totally put the ball in my court. They were willing to follow my lead on design ideas and were very open to suggestions. They didn’t even require renderings and approved my design straight from my sketch pad.”

Having a beautifully functional design is a great start, but Bell has learned over the years that having the right people on the crew makes all the difference. In order to effectively run and, more importantly, grow a hardscape business, you have to have a knowledgeable, dedicated team of professionals on board. 

Bell explains, “My current crew is great. They’re very experienced, hard-working and really take pride in customer satisfaction. Our clients spend a lot of money to create their outdoor living spaces, so it’s essential to New Leaf Landscaping that we have people who think like me and understand customer satisfaction is vital to our business growth.”

The New Leaf team had their work cut out for them with this project because it required a good bit of planning and engineering. The grade of the backyard was incredibly steep making it currently unusable. There were also significant drainage issues that were causing erosion and unsightly stains on the side of the home. The solution was a tiered design creating two usable spaces while remediating the drainage issue. 

“On the upper level, we were able to provide a nice sitting/eating area for family meals and on the lower level we installed a beautiful Bristol Series Fireplace . We also utilized the Weston Stone Retaining block for the retaining walls and columns. By splitting the areas into functionally different patios, we were able to seamlessly integrate with the grade. It fits perfectly into the space and actually makes the house feel bigger.”

People, like seasons, continually evolve and grow. And in doing so, fresh opportunities arise. When Josh Bell courageously turned-over his new leaf six years ago, little did he know that a Belgard Hardscape Hero award would soon be in his future. 


This winning project was completed using the following products:


If you would like to be considered for a HARDSCAPE HERO award, submit your project here.

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