Josh Kane, at 44, looks too young to be marking his 30th year in business – until you realize that he started Kane Landscaping in 4th Grade. With the help of some good friends and his dad, he maintained the business during the week while he attended Virginia Tech studying landscape contracting, horticulture and business. It’s very much a family business, with wife Julie providing strategic planning and doing all the financials, not to mention assistant-coaching her daughter’s basketball team. (Josh handles soccer so none of the stereotypes are exactly right.)
Josh has always loved the outdoors and the couple’s own backyard sports, climbing ropes and a playhouse for their four kids set against a wooded area near Algonquian Park. The company now has five landscaping crews to handle projects as well as maintenance, with Josh acting as lead architect and planner. Josh says his three-part approach to any project can be summarized as: Inspire, Create and Sustain.
Inspiration involves helping homeowners come up with ideas or helping to transform their “wish list” into workable designs that fit their lifestyle and their personal property, Josh explains. “Inspiring people is usually visual – sharing with folks what we’ve done and accomplished in the past.” Then, he has a team of creative architects who can explain what’s possible and what form that will take, bringing designs to life with the latest in design software. Done well, the right plan will help families create something not just aesthetically beautiful but workable – and maybe even evoke places they’ve been that they especially enjoyed. “The right landscaping flows naturally from one place to the next,” as opposed to creating “boxes” where things happen. Yes, landscaping improves your home’s value and “curb appeal,” but it’s also the place where your kids play, your family entertains and your memories happen, he says.
Once a design is approved, Josh says it’s time to create that landscape of your dreams. His construction teams are trained to use the latest equipment, technology and techniques to make sure that landscapes are installed properly and last over time. One interesting challenge Josh says he’s faced in our multicultural community is in being flexible with homeowners of many different cultural backgrounds. “Asian families will often turn aside suggestions regarding ornamental grasses, because they grow wild where they’re from. In other cases, we’ve had to discourage the use of bamboo, which is lovely, but spreads like wildfire here. The silver maples we enjoy here, conversely, are prohibited in New York State. There’s a lot to consider in getting the look exactly right, and making sure it’s easy to maintain.”
As Vice President of the Loudoun Habitat for Humanity Board, one of activities Josh enjoys is helping new and prospective homeowners learn how to maintain the outside of their new properties. This might start by just explaining the difference between annual and perennial plants, or going into detail about proper drainage or lawn upkeep. Each Habitat property might not be professionally designed and planted, but even the most high-end landscape needs care to sustain its beauty and functionality. Kane's on-staff horticulturalists regularly review its more than 500 clients’ lawns and gardens and help to develop a sustainable maintenance program. They also provide services from weekly mowing and fertilization to bed maintenance, pruning and seasonal flower changes as necessary.