Creating the Perfect Paradise

I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about why I do what I do. On the surface, it might seem obvious. Landscaping is, in general, a rewarding profession. It’s hard work, but you can make a good living, and you get to spend most fine days outdoors. But for me, that’s just part of the story. I don’t just feel fortunate to have a job I like. I feel fortunate to have a job that really goes to the heart of something I’m passionate about – getting people outdoors.

The Outdoors

I love the outdoors, and Asheville is a perfect place to enjoy them. I spend a lot of time hiking and biking here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I have found hundreds of spots where the scenery just takes your breath away. The connection you feel with the natural world – when you’re biking past fields of colorful wildflowers, or standing on a narrow mountain ledge and looking out over a vast stretch of forest – is profound, and deeply satisfying in a really fundamental way. And, I believe this connection is something we all need.

In the Biblical account of the beginning of the world, God placed man in the garden. That was His idea of a perfect paradise for us. I’m afraid we have drifted far from that idea, but I think it’s exactly something we need to get back to. We were created as natural beings. We may not all be outdoorsy, or love to spend all of our free time hiking in the woods, but deep down there’s a part of us, as humans, that really longs to connect with the natural world.

Man-made structures are great, but they are structures, and they box us in. Too many of us spend too much time indoors. We’re looking at screens. We’re breathing in poor-quality air. As families, we’re doing a bunch of different things in the same room, but we’re not doing the same things together.

Spiritual Cleansing

Getting outside is cleansing. It’s healing. It really refreshes both your mind and spirit. When I have a problem I can’t solve, or life feels too complicated or too stressful, I go on a long bike ride alone through the woods. It’s amazing how my head clears, and how my perspective changes.

Family Adventures

shane-family-2Heading outdoors is also a great way to really enjoy your family. There’s just so much to see – it’s always an adventure. Even if you go to the same places every time, something is always a little bit different. You don’t know what you might discover – some beautiful new flowers blooming, a colorful hummingbird hovering in midair, or maybe a scenic picnic spot you never noticed before. When you’re outdoors with your family, you’re really with them. You don’t have distractions. You’re all sharing the same moments, and the same adventure together. You can build so many amazing memories, and learn so much about these people you live with. Plus, you can teach your children how to value the simple and natural things in life.

I really believe that spending time in nature is good for people’s overall well-being. But, you don’t have to go hiking, or biking, or fishing to enjoy the outdoors. You don’t have to have a lot of extra time or resources. In fact, you don’t even have to leave home.

Why I Do It

Every backyard, no matter how small, or run-down, or plain, has the potential to be a showcase of natural wonders. Every garden can be a place where families gather to be a part of the everyday magic that nature has to offer. This is my vision, and my passion – creating spaces that draw people outside, into the grass and the trees and the sunshine. Spaces where people can recharge alone, or enjoy each other’s company, out in the fresh air. Where they can have date night on the moonlit deck, or play tag with their kids in a grassy field full of wildflowers.

This is why I do what I do. Because these beautiful outdoor spaces we’re creating aren’t faraway places you can only visit and enjoy now and then. They’re made for you. They’re your own little piece of the natural world. And I love that I am a part of making that happen, every day.

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