Online contents

Standing out

Avant gardening and landscaping has firmly planted its reputation for creative and quality work.

Liza Lightfoot was gardening on the side while attending University of Wisconsin Madison, feeding a longtime fascination for plants by getting her hands dirty with side jobs around town. The plan, before landscaping took center stage, was to become a jazz singer.

“But I realized that was probably not the best career choice if I wanted to survive,” says Lightfoot, with a hint of a British accent. She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and came to the U.S. in 1974. “I was starting to get my jazz vocal degree and about two-thirds of the way through, I decided that if I worked half as hard at something else, I might actually make money.” She was already drumming up business with a partner, and an aptitude test indicated that landscape architecture would suit her talents and personality. So she switched majors.

That was 30 years ago, and now Avant Gardening and Landscaping is celebrating that landmark anniversary, serving high-end clients in a market that has been generous to Lightfoot’s business over the years, she says. Visit, for the full version of this story. For more on Lightfoot, turn to page S19 of our State of the Industry report.


Knocked out

One contractor interviewed in August’s Rob and Duplicate section ( described how he used punch-lists to keep his company efficient. He said:

“We have found that using regular punch lists for our landscape management crews/projects that are generated from one of the management team has been very useful in keeping productivity up and prioritizing workload. These lists may be short for smaller projects and longer for estate gardens.”

– Peter Estournes, Gardenworks, Healdsburg, Calif.

He even shared those punchlists with us, which you can download by visiting and You can read this month’s Rob and Duplicate here. If you have any ideas that have made your business run more smoothly, email Editor Chuck Bowen at for a chance to be featured in a future issue.


Website delight

Head over to right now to see our brand new layout. We’ve made a number of changes, and some of them include:

  • The design is a lot cleaner and stories are easier to read. We also have better search functionality and more specific categories.
  • At the bottom of every story, we’ve added links to similar stories you might be interested in.
  • For those interested in numbers, we’ve created a section where you can find all of our research reports and stories to help you better understand how the industry is doing.
  • News sections are broken down into specific sections like mergers and acquisitions and technology.

Email Editor Chuck Bowen at and let him know what you think.

Read Next

Stand by your van

October 2015
Explore the October 2015 Issue

Check out more from this issue and find you next story to read.

Share This Content