PW Fire Light Hydrangea

Fire Light® is the standard to measure all panicle hydrangeas! Proven Winners developed this easy-to-grow, reliable panicle hydrangea in Michigan, selecting it for its huge, full flower heads and sturdy, strong stems. Blooms emerge creamy-white and age to a vivid red for lots of summer color. It makes a great cut flower, fresh or dried, and can be used as a hedge, specimen, or incorporated into flower gardens and foundation plantings.

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Top three reasons to grow Fire Light® hydrangea:

- Exceptionally hardy, growing and flowering well even in chilly zone 3

- large flowers age to red early in the summer for a colorful display

- low maintenance and easy to grow – the perfect plant for “black thumbs.”

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Maintenance Notes: 

Panicle hydrangeas are best pruned in early spring. Cut the branches back by about one-third their total length. This plant tolerates a wide range of conditions, but does not grow well in soggy soil. Plant in full sun in zones 3-7; afternoon shade is preferable in warmer areas. A good 2-3″ (5-7.6 cm) layer of shredded bark mulch over the roots is very beneficial.

If desired, fertilize in early spring with a granular fertilizer formulated for woody plants, like a rose fertilizer.

Fire Light hydrangea is a true show off in the summer garden!

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Thoms Bros. becomes a VersaCourt Authorized Dealer

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Thoms Bros. Landscaping, Inc. expands its Recreation Areas Installation Service by adding VersaCourt by The Recreational Group as our manufacturer of athletic court systems.  The Recreational Group specializes in bringing backyards to life.  By integrating poplar amenities like putting greens and multi-purpose game courts, we transform open areas into space where families and friends can gather to play, exercise and enjoy life.

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Derived from the words “Versatile” and “Court,” VersaCourt systems have lived up to their name. The dynamic and colorful appearance combine with its inherent safety, maintenance and performance characteristics to make VersaCourt an obvious choice for all types of sports surfacing.

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Whether you are a homeowner looking for a backyard basketball court or a school facilities manager requiring a more kid friendly surface, VersaCourt employs an innovative, centralized design and construction process that improves quality, lowers cost and streamlines installation.

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Customers Come First Philosophy

The secret to a long-lasting court lies in expert design, service, and installation. We promise to deliver everything needed before, during, and after installation to keep your court performing for years to come.

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Custom Courts Built Just For You

Let us custom design a court just for you… any size, any color combination, any game, any logo, everything you want. When you work with VersaCourt, you will work with our in-house designers to get a custom solution that fits your backyard, activities and budget.

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Made In The USA

We are proud that all of our surfacing options are made right here in the USA.

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The VersaCourt & Thoms Bros. Difference

 

Every VersaCourt order is fully assembled in a warehouse and all requested lines and logos are pre-painted by our team of professionals in a controlled environment to ensure accuracy and longevity. We then install the court in your yard on a existing surface or a concrete surface installed by our team to the strict specification of the manufacturer and the region.

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Along with the court base and tiles, Thoms Bros. can install Ball Hog (or other manufacturer) basketball goals, containment fencing, ball rebounder systems, lights, net systems.

Along with VersaCourt, Thoms Bros. offers design and installation services for synthetic turf & golf greens, In-Ground Trampolines, Porous Pave XLS, bocce ball courts, giant chess/checker boards, horseshoe pitch, grottos, and resort style pool slides and water features.  All of these services are available to residential, multi-residential, commercial, and institutional clients.

Oso Easy Italian Ice® – winner of Shrub Madness 2020

Proven Winners® ColorChoice® crowns 2020 Shrub Madness winner as the world’s only plant bracket competition comes to a close. Based on the NCAA basketball playoffs, the contest is populated with a wide variety of Proven Winners® ColorChoice® shrubs, which compete throughout the month of March for the chance to be crowned National Champion.

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Coming from a crowded field of 64 contenders, the competition narrows to the Floral Four, then the final two after multiple rounds of voting. This year’s Floral Four included Scentara Pura® Lilac, Double Take Scarlet™ flowering quince, Suñorita™ rose, and Oso Easy Italian Ice® rose.

The last round of voting found Oso Easy Italian Ice rose with a firm lead over challenger Double Take Scarlet flowering quince, but the quince soldiered on and steadily gained traction. In the final hours of competition it looked like the quince might make up lost ground, but the robust rose pulled ahead and soundly defeated the quintessential quince, and was crowned the 2020 Shrub Madness National Champion.

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Oso Easy Italian Ice rose looks and performs like the champion it is. Dressed the part, its orange buds open to soft yellow flowers that melt into pink blushed margins, which are set off nicely by dark green, glossy foliage. Flowers are semi-doubled, with 24-30 petals per bloom. Exceptional performance is the stuff winners are made of, and this rose has proven to be tops in that department as well. Self-cleaning, excellent disease-resistance, abundant flowers and a nice habit make it an outstanding player in landscapes and home gardens.

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Developed seven years ago, Shrub Madness is one example of how Proven Winners® puts its marketing dollars to work to bring attention to its line of ornamental shrubs, and this year particularly, to stress the importance of shopping at local garden centers.

“Shrub Madness is the perfect vehicle to find out first-hand which shrubs are most interesting to gardeners this year.” Said Spring Meadow PR specialist Natalie Carmolli, “We hope that during this difficult time, the competition gave people a chance to unwind and make plans for a season of renewal, which is what gardening is all about.”

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When asked if the contest continues to gain traction, creative marketing specialist Shannon Downey said, “This has been a fantastic year for Shrub Madness. We set a new record with 7,159 people casting 384,535 votes; nearly 100,000 more than last year.” She continued, “Feedback shows these wildly engaged gardeners are inspired by the shrubs they saw, and our hope is they will contact their local garden centers to arrange for delivery or pick up of their favorite varieties. These independent businesses need everyone’s support now more than ever.”

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This year players were once again given several opportunities to score samples of top-scoring plants including the grand prize “Floral Four and Plant Geek Swag Bag.” For more information about Shrub Madness or to obtain a winners list go to: www.shrubmadness.com/

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New Product Alert – Oaks Neva XL

Large format interlocking concrete pavement aka pavers (or slabs) continues to be the trend in the landscapes.  The days of using “twinkies”, a 3″x6″ size paver in Oak’s old Romanesque line or many of the other manufacturers discontinued products are long gone.  Manufacturers continue to develop new pavers that meet these new trends.

To the lay person there is no difference between a concrete paver and a slab.  But the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) defines a segmental concrete paving slab as “a pavement with units each having a surface area over 100 in.2 (0.065 m2). Generally they are no larger than 48 in. x 48 in. (1.2 m x 1.2 m) with a minimum thickness of 1.18 in.(30 mm). The overall slab length to thickness is greater than 4.”

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On April 1st, 2020, Brampton Brick Limited, a North American leader in manufacturing masonry and landscape products, announced the addition of Nueva XL Slab. “This new product satisfies the market demand for a large-scale single-size product with a smooth, contemporary appearance. It is designed for pedestrian applications such as patios, terraces or stepping-stones and pathways.”

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Available in established popular colors: Champagne, Marble, and Onyx; it offers the following features and advantages:

• A six (6) square-foot slab size to optimize installation efficiency

• Included as part of the Nueva Collection, its surface finish and colors provide a perfect complement to Nueva 50mm slab, Nueva 80mm paver and Nueva Wall (available summer 2020) for perfect integration of product colors and features across an entire landscape project

• Its 60mm thickness allows many design possibilities when combined with other 60mm products such as Molina

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Oaks Landscape Products, a division of Brampton Brick, proudly manufactures superior concrete paving stones, retaining & wall blocks, curbs & steps as well as enviro products serving Canada & the United States. All of their products are precision engineered with high density factors, meaning a much more durable outdoor living space that can withstand not only the test of time, but all of the wear and tear that life can throw at it.

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Their products are built to withstand the scorching heat, freezing cold and everything in between. Their concrete products will not disintegrate or break down. In fact they guarantee it.

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THE 2020 PERENNIAL PLANT OF THE YEAR®

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The Perennial Plant of the Year® (PPOY) program began in 1990 to showcase a perennial that is a standout among its competitors. Perennials chosen are suitable for a wide range of growing climates, require low maintenance, have multiple-season interest, and are relatively pest/disease-free.  The selection process is quite simple – PPA members vote for the Perennial Plant of the Year® each summer. At that time, in addition to the vote, each member may also nominate up to two plants for future consideration. The Perennial Plant of the Year® committee reviews the nominated perennials (more than 400 different perennials are often nominated each year) and selects 3 or 4 perennials to be placed on the ballot.

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The 2020 Perennial Plant of the Year® is Aralia cordata ’Sun King’. It had been nominated again and again over the past years and finally came out on top – persistence pays off!  Gold Japanese Spikenard (aka Sun King) is just excellent in terms of color in the shade; the huge compound leaves are a wonderful golden chartreuse-yellow. The big, bold, sunny foliage is further enhanced in summer when the plant bears 2-foot-long arching spikes of small white blooms that mature to sprays of purplish black fruit in the fall. This deciduous clump-former prefers moist, well drained soils and dappled shade. Use ‘Sun King’ as a moderate-scale ground cover, specimen, or companion to darker leaved, shade loving perennials such as Heuchera, hostas, astilbe, ferns, and sedges.

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Growth Habit: shrubby

Average Mature Height: 2.5ft

Hardiness Zone: 3

Recommended Spacing: 1 1/2′-3′

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COVID-19 Update Part II

Dear Valued Clients,

Your assistance would be greatly appreciated but before we ask of you, we want you to know how much we care about you, your family and the lives of our team here.

Each and every day we make great choices on how to stay safe not only just for our families but for those whom we may come into contact with as well. Many of us have close ties to friends and family that have truly suffered through this horrible Pandemic and we want nothing but the best care and treatment for those who are in need. We also appreciate the sacrifice and courage of all first responders and the many who serve within the medical community at a time when life is so fragile. It is in this time of reflection that nothing should be taken for granted.

Because you’ve supported us in so many ways over the years, we would also like to thank you for your valued commitment to us as we try to navigate our way through these challenging times. Without your trust and support we would not be able to support & care for our team and their families which are very important to us.

Many of you have reached out questioning why we aren’t classified as “Essential Business” and have been wondering if we will be able to begin working on your property soon. This week everyone is expecting the Governor’s office to extend the “Shelter In Place Order” through April 30th.  If we are not deemed as Essential specifically in this next order then we will be subjected to fines by the Attorney General’s office and they have threatened to pull licenses for professional services who break the law. We also now understand that Governor Whitmer has afforded the Attorney General with the power to decide who is classified as “Essential” and currently they are allowing people to shop in closed buildings where the spread of Covid-19 is actually greater knowing that it is spread with no symptoms and through merely just talking and to top it off it can remain airborne up to 3 hours. Its far safer for professional lawn and landscape companies like us to service clients like you, outside with no contact, than for anyone to enter a big box store!

Please help us get back to work by calling and/or emailing the Attorney General’s office at 517-335-7666. Their email is MIAG@Michigan.gov

We also recommend contacting the Governor’s office at 517-373-3400 or by email: governorsoffice@michigan.gov.

And finally, please call Oakland County Executive at 248-858-1048. Email Mullanw@Oakgov.com

Your assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated. We know everyone will be exhausting their patience levels very soon thus its important you and your family can enjoy your property as much as possible!

Sincerely,

Steven D. Thoms, CGIP, FAPLD, LIC-M

Vice President/Chief Designer

COVID-19 Update

The recent Covid-19 outbreak has taken the world by storm.  And we are all doing our best to ride out the storm for brighter times.  As many of you, we have much more time to listen to the news and dig our way out of the millions of emails regarding the virus.  We are sorry we had to communicate this but felt like we needed to keep you informed.

Before this, the 2020 season was looking to be another record-breaking season for us, but like many of you we are living in uncertainty right now.  Of course, the health of our team members, customers, and the community is extremely important to us.  According to the state mandate, we have paused all field work (maintenance and construction) until April 14.  Our management and sales force continue to work remotely with others preparing our business for when we return to work.  During this process, we have been planning new work safety guidelines to implement for the future.

Both state green industry associations (The Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association and The Michigan Green Industry Association) have been working hard to make sure the Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order does not get extended, especially for our maintenance clients.  Even though a late start date is not ideal, we at Thoms Bros. believe we can overcome this by allocating install labor to help out with maintenance work.  With this, our installation schedule will be thrown off in a big way and we appreciate the patients that our clients will extend to us.

Please stay safe and let’s all get through this together.

Coronavirus Disease 2019

Thoms Bros. Landscaping, Inc. is carefully monitoring recommendations made at the local, state and national level regarding restrictions and best practices for stemming the spread of COVID-19. We place the health and well-being of our community at the forefront of our operations.

As of March 14, Michigan Governor Whitmer urged all non-essential businesses to close for 14 days to help stop the spread of this disease. Agriculture, which includes landscape and nursery operations, and construction are not part of this restriction, but we are taking steps to do our part in flattening the curve.

It is our intent to continue site and office operations at this time. Contact between team members and clients has been very limited since these recommendations.   We are utilizing electronic communication and file sharing to its fullest. Consistent with recommendations from the CDC, we are practicing social distancing by offering plan presentations and client meetings via video conferencing and in other technical facets. On site, all interpersonal contact is outdoors, keeping six feet apart and abstinence from physical handshakes.

Many vendors, suppliers and other partners are taking similar precautions and we applaud the commitment of our industry to keep safe while keeping business moving forward.

We will continue to monitor and update our policies and procedures as the situation evolves.

TROY SPIRITUAL GARDEN

A LOOK BACK

The 1960’s Troy house job was an evolving job.  The homeowner was recently widowed from her husband of close to 40 years.  Her husband had always made the decisions on anything that happened with the house.  So this was undiscovered territory that this timid, older lady was about to journey into.  Her original plans and the reasons I was called in for, was to design a renovation plan of the front yard foundation plantings, and to design a new walkway leading to a new paver patio off of the door wall.  As we probed into her wants, needs, and desires, I discovered additional items that we would incorporate into the original design.  I designed a meandering walkway that would in the future give rise to the question “what’s around the next curve?”.  In the newly created bed between the walkway and the house, I incorporated plant material that was colorful and lively.  Large blooming hydrangeas, whispering ornamental grasses, and unique flowering shrubs were chosen to invite you into the backyard.  Making the first turn on this winding walkway was a pleasantly surprising spiritual garden.  The client, a devout Christian, wanted this area to have Godly representation.  She had come up with a plan to have the right side with red perennials to represent our sins and the blood of Christ, the center to have purple clematis to represent Jesus Christ, and the left to have white perennials to represent our saved condition after accepting Christ.  Perennials used in this area included, but limited to: Davidii Butterfly Bush, Carpatihian Harebell, Turtlehead, Coreopsis, White Coneflower, etc.  The area was also inspired with the adding of a specimen piece of flagstone, that had the scripture of Isaiah 1:18, “Come not let us reason together says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet they will be white as snow, though they are red as crimson they shall be like wool”.

Before Our Work

Before Our Work

The red/white spiritual garden infected with pink garden phlox

The red/white spiritual garden infected with pink garden phlox

The following Winter I was called back to the clients to discuss her landscaping further.  She had talked about the desires of a pond and some privacy from her neighbor to the west.  I communicated to her how it would be better to have a lawn edge that is strongly defined and continuous.  Not only could she have privacy from the neighbor to the west, but we could also add some intimacy and interest by having plant material flowing all around the perimeter of the backyard leading to the pond area.  After she had thought about it, she decided she liked the idea.  After a small time going through this process with her, I discovered that the budget was extremely flexible, so I let my creativity flow.

A look into the backyard prior to our work beginning

A look into the backyard prior to our work beginning

The new look into the backyard

The new look into the backyard

As I observed and created a mental image of the planting beds in the yard, I realized drainage was going to be an issue.  I wanted to raise these beds just slightly to prevent them from drowning.  There was approximately 6” of topsoil underneath the existing grass, but underneath this soil was hard compacted Michigan blue clay.  I knew the new plant material would have problems if we did not raise this area.  Unfortunately, raising these beds would leave a low spot in the turf area at the bed edge.  So I decided to suggest running corrugated perforated piping with a sock buried in a pea gravel trench.  Since this older neighborhood had no storm sewers located in the backyards, we decided to run this drain system into a rain garden located on the far eastern portion of the yard. This garden was excavated several feet down and refilled with a sand and compost mixture.  The garden was planted with bog type perennials.

Rain Garden

Rain Garden

Hand picked boulder engraved with Bible passage in the rain garden

Hand picked boulder engraved with Bible passage in the rain garden

PW Black Beauty Elderberry in rain garden

PW Black Beauty Elderberry in rain garden

The Detroit Metropolitan area is in USDA zone 6, which gives us a plant choice flexibility that the rest of this midwestern state does not have.  I chose some of the new exciting plant material from the “Proven Winners Color Choice” flowering shrub and the “Premium Plants” perennial lineups.  Both of these propagator/growers have been on the cutting edge of introducing outstanding plant material.  Some of the plant material chosen was: Artic Fire Red Osier Dogwood, Little Henry Sweetspire, Wine and Roses Weigela, and Trophytaker Daylily.

PW Limelight Hydrangea Tree in background

PW Limelight Hydrangea Tree in background

Perennial bed off edge of patio

Perennial bed off edge of patio

For the water feature, we wanted to keep the same flowing, natural theme.  I chose to use an Aquascapes Designs system for this pond.  In my experience, done properly, this system will provide the most desirable effect while being low maintenance.  We designed and installed the system to have large boulders placed into it for both effect and for sitting purposes.  We also layered the entire rubber liner with gravel for both a natural effect, and for maintenance purposes.  With this strategic placement of boulders, stones, and gravel, we installed planting pockets for hardy lilies and marginal plant material.  We also encouraged the homeowner to add fish to balance out the delicate ecosystem.

 

Bog garden added after intial installation of pond

Bog garden added after initial installation of pond

Maintenance is always a major consideration in designing landscapes.  Before I ever went to the drawing board, we discussed her opinions on maintaining the landscape.  She liked to garden, but was not used to extensive gardens like I was proposing.  Though with the passing of her husband she had more time on her hands with the passing of her husband.  We came up with the conclusion that she wanted to spend more time in the garden, but not all of her time.  She was an older lady, so she did not want any heavy labor work.  With this information, I could start the designing process.  I chose shrubs that would not outgrow the areas that they would be put into.  Although some of them would need minor pruning throughout the season, no drastic hedging to maintain size would be necessary.  The client would be able to handle and would enjoy, minor maintenance tasks such as: perennial cutbacks, weeding, and water gardening.

 

Client using netting to keep Blue Herron from eating her fish

Client using netting to keep Blue Herron from eating her fish

In the final year of this three-phase/year project, we had to redesign and enlarge her patio that we created in the first year.  In the original design, the client wanted to downsize the size of her patio.  She did not do much entertaining and thought it would be used primary for her.  After creating the lush and inviting yard, she discovered that she was doing ten times more entertaining then she ever had in the past.  She wanted a larger patio.

Here are comments from the client:

Dear Steve,

Thank you for the beautiful landscape you created for me.  It is a blessing beyond words. The completion of each segment brought me great joy. The front is very inviting to all that pass by.  The illumination each evening highlights the beautiful design.  The paver walk is awesome with its gentle curves and invitation to continue to come and see what else lies ahead.  Continuing along the walk we reach the breathtaking patio with its unique and interesting design.  The plantings you selected are special and unusual.  I look forward to the spring and summer when they will be in full bloom. 

            When we began the project I had no idea what the end results would be.  Now I see that God’s hand was present at all the times. First he encouraged me to select Thoms Bros to do the work, a wise decision when I wasn’t making good decision. I thank you for the patience you extended to me when I couldn’t make decisions at Weigands.  I appreciated your encouraging words and kindness during the entire project. Looking back I now see how needy I was during those days of my grief.  The delays were necessary for me to absorb all that God was doing.  He did a new and good thing encouraging me to add the meditation area with scripture and removing me from all plant selection decisions.

            Steve thank you for all you did.  May God enrich your life with His spiritual, personal and professional blessings this Christmas Season and throughout the New Year

 

After we completed the initial work back in early 2000’s, we continued both the business and personal relationship as well.  We have become close friends and she has become an adopted gramma to my kids.  The project went on to win a Gold Award for Landcape Reconstruction and a Design Award by the Michigan Green Industry Association.  The yard also won a beautification award from the City of Troy and was featured in Landscape Contractor Magazine.

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Awarded Best Of Houzz 2020

The Annual People’s Choice Award from the Houzz Community Highlights Home Remodeling and Design Professionals with Most Popular Designs and Top Ratings

Macomb, MI, February 12, 2020Thoms Bros. Landscaping, Inc. of Macomb, MI has won a “Best Of Houzz” award for Customer Service on Houzz®, the leading platform for home renovation and design. This award-winning landscape design, build, and management firm services the greater southeast Michigan area was chosen by the millions of homeowners that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 2.5 million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz badge is awarded annually, in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design awards honor professionals whose work was the most popular among the Houzz community. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including a pro’s overall rating on Houzz and client reviews submitted in 2019. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award.

A “Best Of Houzz 2020” badge will appear on winners’ profiles as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

We are excited to win this prestigous award four years in a row.  This recognition shows our team’s commitment to providing our clients with the best possible experience they can have”, says Steven D. Thoms, Vice President and Chief Designer of Thoms Bros.

“This year’s Best Of Houzz awards go to an incredibly talented and service-oriented group of home remodeling and design professionals, and we’re proud to highlight the winners on the Houzz website and app,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “This award is particularly meaningful as it reflects the sentiment of the millions of homeowners in the Houzz community who are hiring home professionals for their projects across the U.S. and around the world.”

Follow Thoms Bros. on Houzz at https://www.houzz.com/pro/sthoms3355/thoms-bros-landscaping-inc

Since 1991, Thoms Bros. Landscaping, Inc. has grown steadily from a small maintenance company into a completely integrated landscaping firm: design, build, and management.  Thoms Bros. now services clients through all landscape processes; design, coordination of builder and architecture teams, construction implementation, management, and environmental care.  By combining the professional abilities of the owners, Scot F. Thoms and Steven D. Thoms with their highly trained team members, Thoms Bros. can deliver maximum value while meeting individual client needs and expectations.

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow, Tel Aviv and Tokyo. Houzz is a registered trademark of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.

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