Think Outside

Shaping Tulsa’s Landscape with Jonesplan

Among Tulsa’s greatest assets are its outdoor spaces. Parks, golf courses, playgrounds, athletic fields and the exquisite landscaping adorning the city’s many luxurious houses surprise and enthrall visitors. Tulsans are proud of the amenities that have transformed their home turf into one of America’s most livable cities. 

Literally moving earth to enhance Tulsa is Jonesplan Landscape Construction. Mary Jones, a building architect who serves as a designer and Marketing Manager for the company, says they look for interesting and challenging projects that would benefit from Jonesplan’s multi-faceted capabilities.

“We just try to make everything run smoothly,” affirmed Jones, “and to be the people that can be called and depended upon.” 

Jones is married to Matt Jones, one of Jonesplan’s co-owners. Matt and his brother Justin have substantially grown their business since its inception in 2003. The company has played an active part in two of the most massive projects to break ground in Tulsa — Tulsa Botanic Garden and The Gathering Place.

At Tulsa Botanic Garden, the company was responsible for the construction and landscaping of the first two gardens: The fanciful Children’s Garden included ponds, bridges, a tree fort and the “Spring Giant.” The A.R. & Marylouise Tandy Floral Terraces incorporated tiered water features and pathways from the top of the hill to the lake 38 feet below. 

Currently working with Manhattan Construction, Jonesplan is digging into the Garden’s next phase to create the Stanford Family Liberty Garden and the Bumgarner Lotus Pool. 

“We have had a very close relationship with the Botanic Garden since it started, and with the designers, the owners and the architects,” shared Jonesplan Senior Project Manager Brad Kmita. “It’s been a great ride, so we’re happy to be back out there. There are 22 major gardens planned — 22 in the master plan.” 

The work at Tulsa’s Gathering Place required Jonesplan to place 17.5 million pounds of stone and gravel — 350 semi loads. Among the projects there that employed Jonesplan expertise were Peggy’s Pond, Chapman Adventure Playground and the Laredo Petroleum Slide Vale.

“Our work is all about relationships, servicing clients’ needs and providing what they want in a professional and creative manner,” offered Russell Huff, a Jonesplan project manager. Huff oversees golf course construction, among other projects. “I kind of went into a career in the golf profession and then wound up on the construction side,” he said. “I already had a lot of relationships built through being in the golf industry, and now to be still associated with it is pretty cool.” 

With Huff’s guidance, Jonesplan assisted Southern Hills Country Club before and after its last two major tournaments. The company has worked at all of the area’s courses: MeadowBrook, Cedar Ridge, Golf Club of Oklahoma, Page Belcher and LaFortune Park. Golf projects farther afield include Karsten Creek Golf Course in Stillwater, the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Norman, and Heritage Hills in Claremore. The Jonesplan team spent a year at the Gaillardia course in Oklahoma City, constructed The Woods Golf Course in Coweta, and worked at other courses in Northwest Arkansas, New Mexico and Missouri.

“Greens, tees, cart paths. It’s very surgical construction,” noted Kmita. “It takes a light footprint to do that kind of work.”

In addition, if someone asks “Who you gonna call?” to convert a baseball field into a soccer pitch overnight and then back again to accommodate baseball, “Jonesplan” would be the answer. A quick turnover is crucial when FC Tulsa has a match slated during a Drillers’ home stand. Huff explained that the process involves the removal of the infield diamond by grading it, laying down fabric and covering it with sod. “FC Tulsa plays their game, and then we take it all out and get it ready for the Drillers to have whatever home games are in their schedule.”

Jonesplan also has built community spaces like Tower Center at Unity Square in Bartlesville, and excelled in their execution of numerous large-scale residential projects.

“We really try to set expectations and communicate out in front of everything, which is hard to do sometimes, but setting expectations from the beginning is very important, so we try to do that,” asserted Kmita.

Another notable endeavor in which Jonesplan participated is John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, where they installed all of the landscaping and irrigation needed and worked with Crossland Construction to build Pathway to Hope.

A project that the Jonesplan team is finding immensely gratifying is the creation of a series of outdoor classrooms for Tulsa Educare. Both Jones and Kmita have an eye for design and are actively involved in every facet of work. Each classroom design is custom and often includes a bike path, raised garden beds, shade structures, mud kitchens, stages for gathering areas, mud and art areas, and water play. “We just put our architectural or landscape construction knowledge all together and started doing this,” said Jones. 

“They can make mud pies,” enthused Kmita. “There are teepees so the kids can have a little fort to play in, little bridges and private reading nooks. It’s just a different conception of what a playground can be,” he said.

The team has enjoyed Educare work so much, they have created a side company called Good Fieldwork, which focuses almost entirely on the design and construction of outdoor classrooms.

“Brad and I are having to learn how to create opportunities for children to grow and develop outside. Kids are so tactile,” remarked Jones. “They want to get dirty. They want to get wet. They fall down. They scratch up their knees and they keep going. It’s what they call ‘risky play.’ It’s about learning from falling down and learning from getting dirty.”

Added Jones, “It feels good to make an impact like that and to know that this little company that we started a long time ago that was pouring driveways is now doing something that’s really interesting — and doing it well. Yeah, I’m very proud.”

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