Land­scape

Seeds of Suc­cess

RSWLiving - - Departments - BY KELLY MAD­DEN

With the lush trop­i­cal fo­liage so abun­dant in South­west Florida as their can­vas, the land­scape de­sign­ers, in­stall­ers and main­te­nance team at R. S. Walsh Land­scap­ing cre­ate beau­ti­ful art out of na­ture. From a sim­ple shaded walk­way lined with ex­otic flow­er­ing plants to the com­plete de­sign and place­ment of ev­ery sin­gle grow­ing thing on the ground of some of our area’s most breath­tak­ing es­tate homes, the work of these ded­i­cated pro­fes­sion­als ex­udes a pas­sion for plant­ing in par­adise.

Com­pany founder and pres­i­dent Robert Walsh has deep roots in the land­scap­ing busi­ness, start­ing at a young age at the A. W. Kelly Nurs­ery in Fort My­ers. The fact that his own com­pany is cel­e­brat­ing its 30- year an­niver­sary in busi­ness is some­thing from which he de­rives great sat­is­fac­tion. Start­ing small, keep­ing your eye on grow­ing smart and tak­ing great care of your clients are the tenets that have al­lowed R. S. Walsh to reach this mile­stone.

In 1982, the young en­tre­pre­neur de­cided to launch his own fam­ily- owned and - op­er­ated com­pany and pro­vide com­plete cus­tom land­scape plan­ning, de­sign and in­stal­la­tion ser­vices. He runs the busi­ness to­gether with his wife, Lisa, and their two sons, Justin and Jeremy, and about 60 em­ploy­ees. Ac­cord­ing to Lisa Walsh, “That’s the part of our work I like the best— I get to work with my hus­band and sons, do­ing what we love, to­gether.”

Their clients work di­rectly with a li­censed land­scape ar­chi­tect in the com­pany’s de­sign cen­ter, talk­ing about their shared vi­sion for any size project and fol­low­ing the process from start to fin­ish. About 90 per­cent of their work is done for up­scale res­i­den­tial homes, but

ROBERT WALSH SAYS THE COM­PANY IS AL­WAYS MIND­FUL OF ITS RE­SPON­SI­BIL­ITY TO THE EARTH AND TAKES GREAT CARE IN BEAU­TI­FY­ING OUR LO­CAL SUR­ROUND­INGS IN A RE­SPON­SI­BLE AND SUS­TAIN­ABLE WAY.

their commercial work— for shop­ping cen­ters, restaurants, re­tail and other pro­fes­sional es­tab­lish­ments— is also truly cus­tom and can be seen at some of the area’s most no­table prop­er­ties. The com­pany re­cently com­pleted work at the head­quar­ters of Chico’s and the Sun­dial Re­sort on Sani­bel and han­dled all the re­fur­bish­ment at South Seas Is­land Re­sort af­ter Hur­ri­cane Charley dev­as­tated the grounds in 2004.

R. S. Walsh also does ex­ten­sive water­scape de­signs, build­ing elab­o­rate ponds, wa­ter­falls and other fea­tures into some of its mas­ter land­scape plans.

The com­pany’s main head­quar­ters is in south Lee County, and R. S. Walsh re­cently cel­e­brated the fourth an­niver­sary of its In the Gar­den re­tail cen­ter at 3889 Sani­bel Captiva Road. This fun lit­tle slice of land­scaped heaven fea­tures a wide se­lec­tion of na­tive and trop­i­cal plants and shrubs, quirky and cre­ative gar­den art, foun­tains and a walk­ing trail through stately spec­i­men palms and herb gar­dens, all of it dap­pled with col­or­ful orchids, bromeli­ads and more.

The com­pany re­cently do­nated 20 per­cent of all sales from In the Gar­den dur­ing late Jan­uary and early Fe­bru­ary to The Sani­bel School, known for its em­pha­sis on en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion. Robert Walsh says the com­pany is al­ways mind­ful of

THE WALSH FAM­ILY KNOWS THAT THE RE­GION HAS BEEN GOOD TO THEM AND THE GROWTH OF THEIR BUSI­NESS, SO THEY SPEND A GOOD DEAL OF TIME IN­VOLVED WITH LO­CAL CHAR­I­TA­BLE OR­GA­NI­ZA­TIONS AND PHIL­AN­THROPIC COM­MU­NITY EVENTS.

its re­spon­si­bil­ity to the earth and takes great care in beau­ti­fy­ing our lo­cal sur­round­ings in a re­spon­si­ble and sus­tain­able way.

The seed un­der­neath R. S. Walsh Land­scap­ing’s suc­cess has grown out of the firm’s ded­i­ca­tion to con­tin­u­ous in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity in plan­ning and plant­ing and an un­matched knowl­edge of ev­ery type of na­tive and trop­i­cal veg­e­ta­tion. Walsh loves the en­tire process and en­joys think­ing and de­sign­ing out­side the box— or planter, in this case. Ev­ery­one in the com­pany prides them­selves on dream­ing up new ways to en­hance a home or busi­ness property with ex­actly the right plants, trees and ground cover for ev­ery project and stay­ing on the leading edge of new trends in land­scape de­sign.

Lisa Walsh notes that her hus­band’s most en­rich­ing re­wards come from the cre­ative part of his work. “He loves the cre­ative side of see­ing some­thing through from start to fin­ish,” she says, “and work­ing with people to make sure they get the fi­nal prod­uct they’re look­ing for.”

The Walsh fam­ily knows that the re­gion has been good to them and the growth of their busi­ness, so they spend a good deal of time in­volved with lo­cal char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions and phil­an­thropic com­mu­nity events. Robert is a found­ing mem­ber of the Sani­bel- Captiva Rod & Gun Club and loves spend­ing time wet­ting a line in the back bays or Gulf. He also stays very ac­tive in the Sani­bel- Captiva Cham­ber of Com­merce.

The right land­scape de­sign is to your en­vi­ron­ment what a frame is to a fine paint­ing— and the people at R. S. Walsh Land­scap­ing treat ev­ery can­vas like a mas­ter­piece. Kelly Mad­den is a fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to TOTI Me­dia pub­li­ca­tions and a 45- year res­i­dent of Lee County.

Owner, pres­i­dent and l and­scape de­signer Robert S. Walsh with l and­scape ar­chi­tect Leigh Gevelinger, his head of land­scape de­sign; the com­pany han­dled re­fur­bish­ment at South Seas Is­land Re­sort ( be­low) af­ter Hur­ri­cane Charley.

A beau­ti­ful Captiva property land­scaped by R. S. Walsh Land­scap­ing

The Walsh fam­ily: op­er­a­tions man­ager Justin, co- own­ers Lisa and Robert, and project man­ager Jeremy; the com­pany’s gar­den cen­ter on Sani­bel ( right); a Captiva client’s res­i­dence ( be­low)

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