Richard Woldorsky’s background is a unique blend of landscape architecture and urban planning. He’s currently one of nine landscape designers who has remained on the board of directors at Bachman’s Landscaping Services for nearly 20 years. Bachman’s, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is one of the upper Midwest’s most renowned, oldest (operating since 1885) and largest garden centers and landscape service companies. It operates indoor and outdoor landscaping divisions and a wholesale nursery division. The company has 7 acres with greenhouses and a 670-acre growing range.
Client/service mix: Design and installation services for primarily residential clients, garden coaching, maintenance, tree planting services
Business motto: Transforming everyday spaces to amazing places.
The Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association recently presented Woldorsky with an outstanding landscape project award for an eco-friendly patio project that held the stormwater runoff in a residential landscape. The most important aspect of this project is what you don’t see. Water from the home’s roof and patio is guided to the central square of the patio, which was constructed using bluestone with wide joints filled with chipped rock. This was placed over a rock bed that allows water to drain into the ground.
Proudest moment in business and why: At the risk of sounding corny, I enjoy projects that satisfy the needs and expectations of the client. These may not be the most creative or largest projects.
Biggest business challenge today: We always want to follow up on our commitments. We want to begin the project when we say we will and finish all of the details as agreed. We wish we had more foremen and installers on staff and available as subcontractors when the sales are good.
PHOTOS: BACHMAN’S LANDSCAPING SERVICES
Best sources of landscape design/build inspiration: When designing, I am inspired by on-site geographic and historical clues. For inspiration, I like to walk or bike ride in older neighbors to observe how owners use their space. I have found www.Houzz.com to be a rich source of information and visual inspiration.
Favorite plant or plant combination: I am fond of plants that survive the long Minnesota winters. I like evergreens mixed with perennials. One specific combination is ‘Gold Lace’ juniper, ‘Karl Foerster’ Calamagrostis grass and ‘Walkers Low’ Nepeta (catmint). This mix provides variety in texture and color. It also has a long duration of interest.
Monday morning motivation: Getting the crews orientated. We often begin new jobs on Monday. I like to see dirt fly.
Business worry that keeps you up at night: I feel terrible about the missed call or connection. I do not like to disappoint potential customers, much less existing customers.
Landscape design mentor: When I was in school I was interested in the work and design approach of Lawrence Halprin. He encouraged community participation in the design process. He developed methods for community involvement in planning and design.
Favorite business or landscape design book: John Brooks, an English landscape designer, has several books on how to combine plants in the garden. He has designed and built well over 1,000 gardens during a career spanning 50 years and is based at Denmans, his world-famous garden in West Sussex in the U.K. His method provides a straightforward structure for designers to use in formulating a design concept.
Landscape design project that makes you smile every time you drive past it: I designed and built a front yard herb garden, walkway and entrance to a suburban (atomic ranch) home. We transformed a cluttered mess into an organized mess.
Describe your business in five years: I would hope the legacy of Bachman’s landscape design service will continue into the future. Bachman’s nursery has been in business for 129 years. Our landscape department was established after World War II with the growth of the residential suburbs and the increased leisure time of Americans. There is, and there will be, a market demand for a premier landscape and design company. I plan to keep on keeping on. Experienced designers get better and more creative over time.
Connect with Richard Woldorsky & Bachman’s Landscaping Services:
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2014 and has been updated.