Outdoor Space Tips from an Industry Leader

Outdoor Space Tips from an Industry Leader

One of the best parts of my job is meeting and working with other local professionals. I am constantly blown away by how many talented and experienced business owners we have here in Chicago. Scott Byron, founder of Scott Byron & Co, is one of those talented business owners. I have worked with Scott’s team for many years and recommended his landscaping services to many clients.

Please share a little bit about how Scott Byron & Co started
It is actually a funny story that happened 41 years ago. At the time I worked for another design/build firm that is no longer around, and had just gotten married. I came back from my honeymoon, and asked my boss for a raise. He said no, and I said, “I quit!”.

I immediately started manually putting together a business plan because this was a time before spreadsheets and computers. I took my plan to 18 banks before one finally said OK to lending me the money because this was the tail end of the 1983 recession. Asking banks for a loan was not necessarily a great idea, but I did it anyway and convinced one to lend us the money. I started the business that January and never looked back.

At the time when I started the business, nurseries or maintenance crews were doing most of the residential planting. My idea was to introduce landscape architecture, rather than throwing plants into the ground and seeing what would happen. We also added maintenance, which at the time, nobody else was doing in combination with landscape architecture. That combination is what really grew the business. We were the new kid on the block, but we quickly met a lot of great clients that sang our praises, and rapidly grew through word of mouth.

What services have you grown to offer today?
We started with design, installation and maintenance as the basis of the company from the very beginning. Since then we have added irrigation, lighting and masonry in order to produce a final product we believe in.

What sets you apart in the marketplace?
Our people are what really sets us apart. We have passionate people at all levels that care about client service and are dedicated to do the very best job they know how to do. We also unquestionably stand behind our work product. They are simple pillars of business, but this recipe works.

Please describe a few of your favorite projects
We have been very lucky over the years to work on some very cool projects. One that comes to mind was out in the suburbs and an abandoned piece of property that a family converted into a private sanctuary with a home and indoor pool connected to the house along with three miles of hiking paths through the woods. The whole property feels like another world.

In the city, we have worked on several green rooftops, which are amazing to see with trees, pergolas, and swimming pools, all with the skyline as a backdrop.

Do you have any landscape architecture advice for homeowners?
Every project should start with homework. A lot of times people want to start at the end, which is plant selection. Instead, slow down, step back and envision how you want to use your space. Once you know that, you can design. Otherwise you are just decorating.

Also think about the calendar in Chicago. If you plan out your flowering sequence, plants can be in bloom from April through October, providing joy for as long as possible.

Concluding thoughts
If done right, landscape should be a compliment – dominant, nor subservient. When it really works you should think to yourself how wonderful a space feels, not think first about the landscape.

Outdoor Space Tips from an Industry Leader
Outdoor Space Tips from an Industry Leader
Outdoor Space Tips from an Industry Leader
Outdoor Space Tips from an Industry Leader
Outdoor Space Tips from an Industry Leader
Outdoor Space Tips from an Industry Leader

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