Brandon’s Alternative Landscaping has won awards for their work before, but never one of a national scope.
That was, until now.
The company recently secured the award in the residential maintenance category at the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association Awards for their work on a piece of land south of town in the Brandon Hills.
Owners Chris and Karin Griffin were surprised to win the award because someone else nominated their project on their behalf. Their company had previously won three awards at the provincial level earlier this year.
"Although the award was for maintenance, it’s been a project of ours since the very beginning," Chris said.
Chris said he was overwhelmed, humbled and extremely proud of his team when he heard about the win.
While they have been a runner-up for national awards before, this is their first outright victory at the top level.
Alternative Landscaping has been in business for 22 years. When the Griffins describe it as a family business, they really mean it. Their son, Spencer, and daughter, Emma, work in different departments at the business.
There are five divisions at Alternative Landscaping: their landscaping business, a garden centre, a yard-care business, an excavation business and Heartland Fence & Deck. They employ approximately 90 people.
Landscaping was the original component. Chris said the others came about over time because the projects they were working on needed such things as excavation, and there weren’t local companies to provide those services.
Karen said one of the big differences between a professional landscaper and someone doing it themselves is foresight.
"I think we’re thinking ahead while some do-it-yourselfers don’t think of the whole big picture," she said. "They think of today ... not what it’s going to be like in a couple of years."
Chris added an important component is the relationship between themselves and clients. They work together with customers to design their projects and choose the right materials and building methods for the job.
"The products installed are only as good as their installation," he said.
They said they take pride in the fact that while customers may have to wait for them to start a project, once they start they work on it until the project or phase is complete.
The award-winning property belongs to Laurel and Charlie Clark. They own 80 acres in the Brandon Hills, six of which were landscaped by Alternative Landscaping.
It took nine years of work in multiple stages to complete the work at the property.
A pond with a fountain is the focal point of their yard. It took three weeks for the half-an-acre body of water to be dug out and landscaping along the edges completed. The owners say their grandkids like to swim in the pond.
There is a sandy beach area with brightly coloured chairs, complete with matching footrests. A deck juts out over part of the pond, allowing for waterside hangouts.
Feeding into the pond is the end of a water feature beginning uphill with a 4.5-metre waterfall. A large variety of plants in all sorts of different colours line the pathways up to the house.
Chris said the species were chosen so that plants would bloom at different times, so there’s always something to look at.
There’s also a firepit surrounded by beautiful stone benches. One of the benches is made of a piece of limestone found near the Clarks’ property that has the outline of some sort of fossil in it.
Though they didn’t commission the work to win an award, the Clarks say it’s a nice bonus.
"I spend the money, and they win the awards, how fair is that?" Charlie joked. He also said he gives full credit to the Griffins for the results.
» Twitter: @ColinSlark