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Landscapers Come Together For A Worthy Cause

By Michelle Ryan, regional editor

The front entry way looked immaculate after the placement of the boulders, the concrete walkways were formed, graded and compacted. 6x6" wire mesh was laid throughout the landscape, and the concrete had time to set.

More than a year ago Gus Fleming, sales manager for Hunter Industries, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gherig's disease.

Fleming has been a supporter of the San Diego chapter of the California Landscape Contractor's Association (CLCA) for many years and is often seen at chapter events. Hunter Industries in addition, has a history of being a major contributor to the chapter and the association statewide providing sponsorship dollars and other forms of support.

In order to be closer to his parents as his illness progressed, Fleming sold his two-story home in San Marcos and purchased a single story house in Cardiff, Calif. that needed a lot of work. Fleming was then sent on a three weeklong trip with his two younger brothers to visit a few countries he had always dreamt of seeing. During his trip with the help of a $10,000 donation from Hunter Industries, his family and co-workers at Hunter completely refurbished the home in the most extreme of makeovers. He returned on his 43rd birthday to a new house, news crews, family and his loving friends. The house had been stripped nearly to the studs and reinstalled from the roof down, however the landscape still consisted of dirt, dead plants and cracked concrete driveways and walkways. The only unique feature of the house at this point was its spectacular ocean view.

Once the hardscape was completed, it became time to install the irrigation, finish the drains, plant the vegetation and install the low voltage lighting system which would add a certain degree of ambiance to the landscape.

The Job

The CLCA San Diego then took action by installing a new custom landscape. James Benedetti, ASLA, drew up the plans and Mark "Hollywood" McAnelly of Southwest Landscape spearheaded the project, which was completed by November 2006. The crew wanted to start with a clean slate so a local landscaping company volunteered to complete the demo of the run-down landscape. What followed was a group effort, which began with the placement of an underground drainage system, the addition of landscape lighting and the installation of the gas line. The boulders were then placed, the concrete was poured and the flagstone was set. Irrigation was put in place, a deck was installed and the water feature was created next. New vegetation was planted, although, the giant bird of paradise was left to adorn the upper corner of the yard. The volunteers chose to use primarily low-maintenance vegetation and lots of green and colors to decorate the landscape. The lighting was the final touch that added the ambiance to the king palms, day lilies and assorted trees that would warm the home and heart of Fleming.

The front serpentine walkway ramp was formed up with a 6x6" perimeter curb. Cantilevered concrete steps and base was poured and the flagstone was laid, leaving a natural perimeter edge.

Many thanks are in order to all of the people and the organizations that made the project what it was, a masterpiece, for Fleming and his three children. The San Diego CLCA also received the 2006 State Humanitarian Award for their efforts.

Source: CLCA San Diego/Southwest Landscape

San Diego buff colored concrete was poured for the driveway and walkways. The flagstone perimeter was left wild to create a natural look. Note the channel drain at the bottom of the driveway.


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February 26, 2020, 9:42 pm PDT

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