April 3, 2019

Greenscapes Lawn & Landscape Services Offers Design, Installation, and Maintenance

LASTING LANDSCAPES: “If you are thinking of a new landscape design, it is good to start planning early. Most people like to see plants and flowers in the spring. It’s good to get started now.” Joan M. Daviau, founder and owner of Greenscapes Lawn & Landscape Services, enjoys helping people get their gardens ready.

By Jean Stratton

Greenscapes Lawn & Landscape Services is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and Joan M. Daviau, founder and owner, emphasizes that the Flemington-based company’s mission statement is as important today as it was at the company’s beginning in 1999. Innovative design, expert installation, and imaginative care are key.

“Our mission is to provide our clients with high quality landscape services that focus on the long-term development and preservation of their properties balanced with an enhancement of outdoor living spaces now,” says Daviau,

In addition, she points out, “Our values are to conduct business and perform all work with professionalism, respect, and thoughtfulness.”

This philosophy guides her company today as it has guided her in her previous career as a teacher and later human resources executive for Johnson & Johnson and other companies.

Many Hats

Indeed, she has worn many hats during an enterprising and diverse career.

“I feel that I have come full circle,” says Daviau. “I grew up in an extended Italian family in New Jersey. I learned about landscaping, helped to build stone walls, grew vegetables, and we also had grapevines. My grandmother made dandelion wine.

“My parents had experienced the Depression, and they were very focused on education,” she continues. “They wanted to be sure I had a degree.”

In fact, she earned two: a B.A. from Montclair State College and an M.S. from Smith College. After teaching in public and alternative schools, she changed direction and began a very successful career in human resources, serving in many capacities for Johnson & Johnson, Dow Jones, and other companies. She also had her own human resources consulting firm.

While still working for Dow Jones in human resources and labor relations in New York City, she established Greenscapes in Griggstown.

“I’ve always loved growing things and gardening,” she explains, “but I never expected to be working the landscape business. However, when the opportunity presented itself, I founded the business, and looked forward to returning to the work that I learned and loved growing up.”

Two Careers

The initial challenges of balancing two careers at the same time for two years didn’t prove too daunting, she says, pointing out that “I am a real workaholic. I also commandeered many types of experts to help me get started, and I learned all I could.”

The location in Griggstown was beneficial in helping her to understand shade gardens, she notes. “Everything was shady there, and that was a good learning experience.

“Then, in 2003, I acquired a 24-acre farm in Ringoes, and I was able to do some experimenting and expand the landscaping. The business has really evolved. In the beginning, it was 80 percent lawn maintenance.”

Last year, Daviau decided to consolidate, and moved to a new location at 165 River Road in Flemington. The business has grown into a flourishing operation in residential work, specializing in landscape design, planning, installation, diagnostics, and maintenance services.

“We have always served the Princeton area, and our primary client base is Princeton,” says Daviau. “We do entire property maintenance and estate management. We design the landscape; select the plants, trees, and shrubs; and do the installation. We also do hardscapes and water and lighting features.”

“Our firm is really a boutique,” she continues. “We are very specialized. We know our clients, and we provide very customized work according to their wishes. For example, some people only want organic products, and we can offer that, and organic land care.”

Easy Maintenance

Regarding customers’ interests and needs, she reports that easy maintenance is high on the list. “If they don’t want a lot of maintenance, we try to include flowers and shrubs that require less attention.

“We are also planting more and more ground cover now. In general, planting ground cover will aid in reducing weeding time and mulch amounts. In addition, right now, native plans, trees, and shrubs are popular. A lot of people like ornamental grasses, too.”

Placement of plantings regarding sun and shade is very significant, she emphasizes. “It’s the right plant in the right place. You always want to create the right conditions for the right results.

“We pick plants with great care. We only buy from USDA nurseries, and the plants that I prefer to use are those grown in conditions similar to the proposed planting site. There are so many factors to consider. What are the soil conditions? Does the client want color in the winter? Plants that attract pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and humming birds, are important.”

Other factors to be considered when planting include bloom time, foliage color, drought and salt tolerance, winter interest, deer resistance, fragrance, and climbing or compact plants.

“Good” Predators

Pests are a major problem for many plants, and for clients who dislike the use of pesticides and chemicals, integrated pest management has become a popular method of control.

“This is a way to encourage the ‘good’ predators to come to the garden, and use beneficial insects, such as lady bugs, spiders, and others that will eat the bad bugs,” explains Daviau.

Landscape emergencies, such as severe drainage problems, can arise, she adds, and Greenscapes is there when needed. “Sometimes, we’ll help clients re-do previous landscapes that have not worked out, and drainage problems can be huge. We have had so much rain lately, that this can be an issue.”

Greenscapes can also provide water features, such as small ponds and fountains, which are favorite landscape additions today, as well as the construction of pergolas, arbors, and hardscapes. Patios, terraces, and areas around pools are a hardscape focus.

“We do stonework for walls, which can be dry-set or wet,” points out Daviiau. “In fact, we recently built a walled garden for vegetables to keep the deer out. We also try to use deer-resistant plants when we can.

“We partner with different companies for different areas of the work, including experts in pool building, irrigation specialists, master arborists, architects, engineers, carpenters, electricians, and so on,” she continues. “I believe that partnering is a very beneficial course for small businesses today. Other work that we do, too, is power washing and cleaning gutters.”

She emphasizes the importance of working with responsible, licensed, and certified companies for landscaping. “We are licensed, insured, and registered to conduct business and perform the services offered. We are also a member of the New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Association and the New Jersey Farm Bureau.”

Getting It Right

Greenscapes serves the Princeton area and beyond, and has many long-standing clients. “We have lots of word-of-mouth referrals, and new customers all the time,” says Daviau,

“When I’m planning a landscape design, I have definite guidelines to follow. I get to know the clients’ lifestyle — their children, grandchildren, even their dog! You get to know their tastes and what they want to accomplish. I love getting it right. And when I can fulfill the client’s vision, I am very happy.”

She adds that the opportunity to meet the variety of clients and see the different locations is a big pleasure. “I get to visit lots of places, properties, and gardens. It’s totally fun to see everyone’s different location and meet all the people.”

Daviau is also involved in the community, and as she points out, “It is important to give back. I am proud to be a trustee and supporter of the Marquand Park Foundation.”

Planning and installing a new landscape design can be lengthy process, and some clients prefer to do it in stages, which can also be helpful with budget issues. “If it’s a very large project, it can take two years,” says Daviau. “On the other hand, a smaller job could take two weeks. Our projects can be weeks, months, or years.”

Pleasing the customer with quality work is uppermost, she emphasizes. “What we really want to do is to create spaces the are wonderful for the client. This is our priority.”

For further information, call (908) 284-4944, or email jgreenscapes@gmail.com.