John Denison left a legacy in the landscaping industry

John Denison left a legacy in the landscaping industry

Denison transformed a mowing business into one of the largest nursery and landscaping companies.

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December 5, 2017
Megan Smalley
Industry News
Photo courtesy of the Denison family.

John Denison built a legacy in the landscaping industry. He started Denison Landscaping as a simple mowing business out of a truck in 1973 and that gradually evolved into one of the largest landscaping and nursery businesses in the horticulture industry. The company ranked 23rd on Lawn & Landscape’s Top 100 list this spring, achieving more than $60 million in revenue with nearly 600 employees.

In May, news of Denison’s death came as a surprise to many – including his own family. He was 61 years old. His son, Josh, says his father had some health problems in 2016 but that he had recovered from those problems. “In the grand scheme of things, (his death) was a surprise,” he says.

John impacted many people in his lifetime. The evidence for that was clear at his funeral, as more than 2,000 people attended. Josh estimates the funeral procession stretched 6.5 miles long.

“They even shut down I-495,” he says. “It was a grand celebration of life for someone who deserved it.”
Many in the industry knew John as a man who could drive hard bargains and build a successful business.

“He was a really shrewd business person,” says John Clark, secretary treasurer and owner of Manor View Farm in Monkton, Maryland. “John knew how to make money, even at low prices.”

Yet not everyone in the landscaping industry knew that John had another side to him.

Read the full story from the November issue here.