Your home is your haven, and ideally, this should be reflected outdoors as well as indoors. A landscape design in keeping with the architecture of your home and the environment can go a long way both toward enhancing your personal pleasure as well as the property’s future value.
“We believe that the grounds of a home should be in balance with the design of a home,” says Tom Rinehart, founder and owner of Princeton Lawn and Landscapes. “We offer an unsurpassed visual aesthetic in landscape design and superior service at a fair price.”
Whether the house is a stately Tudor, a charming cottage, or traditional colonial, Princeton Lawn and Landscapes can provide the appropriate landscape design.
“For example,” explains Mr. Rinehart, “if your home resembles a cottage in Provence, then your landscape design should incorporate elements such as rustic limestone, decorative planters, groomed boxwoods, and of course, loads of lavender. Unfortunately, a lot of landscapers recommend a contemporary American look regardless of the architecture of your house.”
Design and Color
Mr. Rinehart has a special interest in design and color. Formerly a vice president at Macy’s, he has had a successful career in the fashion industry, including establishing his own children’s wear company. After moving to Princeton 12 years ago, he became a strategic consultant to a number of companies in New York and Philadelphia, as well as focusing on executive searches for many other firms.
In time, he found he wanted to make a change. “My passion was always to get outdoors again,” he explains. “I am originally from Ohio, and I was the first male in the family in 200 years not born on a farm! But we loved to be outdoors, and our whole family gardened together on Saturdays.”
Also, the idea of his own business always appealed to Mr. Rinehart — from his earliest days. “From the time I was 12 or 13, I cut lawns and saved all my money for college. I loved the dignity of work, and was proud to have my own bank account.”
So, after careful research into the landscaping industry, he acquired an existing business, Blue Sky Landscapes in Manalapan.
Dave Guy, former president of Blue Sky, became Mr. Rinehart’s partner in Princeton Lawn and Landscapes last February.
“Dave has a pragmatic sense of design, and expertise in native species, creating hardscapes, lawn renovation, and superior customer service,” notes Mr. Rinehart. “We feel there was a niche for two things in landscaping: one, excellence can be affordable. You can establish a profitable business and not overcharge. And two, the importance of aesthetic sense and style. We are targeting Princeton, Pennington, Hopewell, Kingston, Montgomery, and Belle Mead. We are very focused.”
Providing planting design, installation, and maintenance, and “outdoor living”, including hardscapes, such as patios, walkways, courtyards, outdoor kitchens, and fireplaces, is a year-round job, says Mr. Rinehart.
“We had our first job in early March. It was a patio and big landscaping installation. We have had great word-of-mouth and referrals, and we are very busy. First, the challenge was getting jobs; now, it’s scheduling all the jobs. We are very encouraged.”
Customers generally focus on two issues, he adds: low maintenance and deer-resistant plants. In the latter case, Mr. Rinehart recommends a variety of deer-resistant plants, such as American holly, viburnum, barberry, juniper, spirea, lilac, dogwood, and butterfly bush.
“We also have organic deer-resistant products to apply that are our own recipes,” he adds. “We like to use plants that are native to the climate and environment, which generally require less maintenance. We also have very big potted containers that only need watering once a week. In addition, after we do a plant installation, we leave behind written instructions. If we are seeding and sodding a lawn, we come and water it for two to three weeks every day. We guarantee the lawn.”
If clients are simply not into maintenance themselves, Princeton Lawn and Landscapes will provide weeding, trimming, lawn cutting, and watering, as needed.
Mr. Rinehart and the staff will advise customers on appropriate plantings for sun and shade, and also the best materials for a hardscape. For example, he points out, “If you want a natural look that blends in well with the local environment, we highly recommend field stone or blue stone. If you want a more economical, easier to install option, synthetic materials are constantly improving aesthetically and look better than ever now.”
Residential work is the company’s focus, and this is Mr. Rinehart’s special priority. “My passion is residential. I feel it is more creative. I love the idea that we can create a landscape design to go with the theme of the house. And this will also enhance the property value. If owners eventually decide to sell, they will get their money back.”
Small and large projects are all part of the job — everything from a day-long clean-up to a current hardscape, including three patios. Jobs typically take one day to three weeks or more.
Water gardens are another customer favorite, reports Mr. Rinehart. “We also do bird habitats, butterfly gardens, and bird baths.”
Mr. Rinehart is very proud of the company’s special technology feature, enabling clients to see “before and after” pictures of a landscape. “We have fabulous software that can show people how the new landscape or hardscape will look. I love showing this to them on the internet, and then having them see it in person.”
He also is planning to develop an on-line business, including selling self-contained water features and birdbaths. “I am really excited about building the on-line retail business, which will allow us to offer clients exceptional products.
“We look forward to doing beautiful things, to acquiring a phenomenal reputation, and then building on that reputation.”
Princeton Lawn and Landscapes can be reached at (609) 497-3206. Website: www.princetonlawn.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org.