Bay Village, Ohio, entrepreneurs Julia and Byron Shutt are known around town for the lush and eclectic landscaping that spills from their Lake Road yard onto the lot nextdoor which they’ve dubbed “Harvest View” with a nod toward their enormous vegetable garden as well as Neil Young, a Shutt family favorite.
As residents deeply rooted in Bay Village (15 miles west of downtown Cleveland), the co-owners of Maple Leaf Landscaping decided that beautifying their properties and the properties of their customers was not enough, and have taken it upon themselves to donate a new design and the vast majority of the labor needed to revamp city hall.
“As citizens that love where we live, we’ve been looking at downtown Bay Village and thinking, 'this could look so much better,’” Julia said. “Byron said he feels like it’s his civic duty to beautify the city.”
That spirit of generosity has been matched by the management at Cahoon Nursery in Westlake, Ohio. Julia said they’ve come through with thousands of dollars of, “all the fabulous plant material.”
“I kept saying ‘take more, take more!,’” Cahoon Nursery Manager Melissa Banker said. “We want the cities to be beautiful, especially the ones around our nursery... (Cahoon Nursery owner) Rich (Bartsche) is a grumpy old man, but deep down he has a really good heart, and he can’t say no."
Maple Leaf Landscaping co-owner Byron Shutt has been shaping hand-quarried sandstone blocks salvaged from the former Cahoon Creek bridge on Wolf Road into "keystone" shapes, facilitating city hall's new decorative wall's snaking design. Banker, added that the staff has, “so much faith in Julia,” who they’ve supported in the past. They added that they plan continuing their collaborations with Maple Leaf through another donation-based landscape project to be executed at BAYarts this fall.
But the synergy doesn’t stop there.
When Maple Leaf management asked Mayor Deborah Sutherland, a fellow gardener, if the city could donate any material to the redesign, she promptly offered hand cut and quarried sandstone salvaged during the renovation of the Wolf Road bridge over Cahoon Creek.
“Not only is it historically a good thing but, it’s sustainably a great thing because we reuse material that we already have instead of buying new stuff,” Sutherland said.
That concept is reinforced through Maple Leaf’s redesign as Julia said she and Byron strive to “recycle” dormant plant material instead of tossing it, an effort she said will bring city hall’s struggling perennials back to life.
“We utilize severe or selective pruning to restore vitality,” Julia said. “It’s a sustainable practice that’s been around forever.”
The service project described by both Julia and Sutherland as “a win, win, win situation, is about half done, but has already elicited comments and questions to city hall in regards to its origin and quality.
“I am just constantly amazed at the level of talent and generosity and commitment that people in bay village have,” Sutherland said.