WELCOME TO THE HOUSE! “This design has a lot of different plant varieties that will bloom at different times. When designing, we like to use lots of different textures and colors,” says Chris DeMato, owner of Rock Bottom Landscaping & Fencing. Shown here is a recent Rock Bottom project, creating an attractive design of contrast and color. “We’ve included textures such as dwarf conifers to contrast with the soft growth of ornamental grasses, which adds subtlety, and we’ve also featured boulders which have added texture, giving a natural look to the overall design. .”
By Jean Straton
Yesour home is your haven, and more and more often this extends to the surrounding landscape. Attractive plantings, beautiful patios and winding walkways add to the enjoyment of a welcoming home environment.
Chris DeMato, owner of Rock Bottom Landscaping & Fencing, knows all about transforming tired landscapes into exciting new looks. For over 30 years helping people choose the right landscape, hardscape or fence to enhance their property and increase their enjoyment.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to turn something that was overgrown or in bad shape and turn it into something special,” says DeMato. “Older properties can often have overgrown plant material that is not in good condition. We can install new plants and new trees, and it is very rewarding to see this transformation. »
DeMato’s experience with landscaping began at an early age, when he cut grass and helped with yard work as a boy.
“I was interested in seeing the transformation that can come from good landscaping,” notes the Middlesex native. “I went to college and studied agricultural science and then worked for different landscaping companies in the area. I got really into landscaping and started my own business when I was in my twenties. I also studied landscaping at Rutgers.
Often asked about the name of his business, “Rock Bottom”, he explains that it was suitable for different levels, “We often dug and removed rocks, and we also tried to offer really reasonable prices. It was just a name that felt right.
Based in Belle Mead, the company has evolved over time and today is a full landscaping, landscaping and fencing operation. It covers everything from landscaping and landscaping design to installation and maintenance, including lawn care, pruning, trimming, spring and fall cleaning and maintenance. grass cutting.
Rock Bottom handles projects of all sizes and styles, primarily residential but also commercial, DeMato reports. Attention to lifestyle and customer expectations is a priority. Currently, plant design and landscaping design are particularly in demand, he adds.
“Each client has their own individuality and style. The bottom line is that they want to showcase their property, both for their private enjoyment and also for entertainment.
Courtyards and patios
After COVID-19 entered everyone’s life and mindset, people weren’t traveling, he points out, so the home environment became even more important.
“They wanted to make their yards and properties as enjoyable as possible,” DeMato says. “They wanted to turn their backyards and patios into an entertainment zone, complete with fire pits, pizza ovens and outdoor kitchens.”
This was also true for people who had moved to the area from cities and wanted to create new landscapes and hardscapes.
Landscape lighting has become increasingly popular, DeMato adds, and it’s an important part of the business. Lighting the scene after sunset is a very interesting option. Uplighting? Downlight? There are many possibilities for a natural light setting.
“It can definitely add a really nice look,” says DeMato, “and it also provides added security. terraces.
Styles and materials
Fencing is also important to many customers today, and this part of Rock Bottom’s business has grown over the years.
“We added fences in the late 90s, and it’s really grown over the years,” DeMato says. “Many clients want to keep deer away from the property or dogs out. it’s also a requirement if they have a pool.”
A variety of styles and materials are available, and wood, metal, and vinyl, as well as ornamental aluminum and decorative fencing, are among the most popular choices.
Patio and pool designs and installations keep Rock Bottom teams busy, and there are plenty of options available, from simple to sophisticated. Cobblestone, brick and natural stone patios are all in demand and are also often seen on driveways.
“Today’s pool designs often have a sleeker, more modern look, with shades of gray and blue,” DeMato points out. “It’s not so much the rustic look it used to be.”
When designing a landscape, many considerations must be taken into account. Sun, shade, exposure, location are all important factors, and of course individual choice and budget are always paramount.
“The weather is also a factor,” he notes. “Now we are in a period of drought, and that can certainly affect the plantations.”
Like and dislike
When he meets clients, he is eager to know their likes and dislikes. Often people don’t know how to proceed, and it helps them to imagine their hopes for the project.
“I try to find out what they like and what they don’t like,” he says. “I’ll be asking about what they might not like about their current landscape and what they’re looking forward to – what colors they like, if they want the flowers to bloom all summer until ‘in the fall, etc.’
Other questions arise. Do they want flowering trees, like cherry, dogwood? Bushes and shrubs including azalea, hydrangea, rhododendron? Evergreen and shade trees?
Are sustainability and plantation sustainability considerations? Do they like perennials that bloom every year? Are they interested in native plants and also those that attract bees and butterflies? These are all important factors in determining the direction of the landscape.
High on the list for many customers are deer-resistant plants, and that’s an ongoing challenge. Some choices aren’t appealing to the deer menu, but when they’re very hungry, deer will eat almost anything. An assortment of deer and rabbit repellents, including sprays, are also available.
“There are certain varieties of plants that can also deter insects, including mosquitoes,” adds DeMato.
With today’s advancements in technology, incredible opportunities are available for customers to view “before and after” photos of landscapes and harsh landscapes.
“With computer imagery, we can show customers what the new landscape or hardscape will look like,” DeMato says. “It’s a great way for them to know what they can expect.”
Depending on its size and scope, a project can take anywhere from a day to six or eight weeks or more, he notes. “Sometimes a ‘big plan’ project can be spread over time, done in stages. This can help with planning and budget considerations.
“We have a full-time team of eight people, some of whom have been with us for 17 years,” he continues. “They all have their specialties – landscaping, landscaping, fencing. There will always be two or three guys on a specific job, and I oversee everything. I am involved in sales, delivery and design. I’m a hands-on guy and work with clients early on to make sure we hit their mark.
The company’s projects are mainly in Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset counties, many of them in Princeton, he adds, and he also looks forward to the completion of plans for a new division in Manasquan. “There’s a big increase in activity there for us, and in fact, that’s really true everywhere. It’s amazing how much the industry has grown over the years.
DeMato is proud of the business he has built and the reputation he has earned. He is particularly happy that his sons are now also involved in the operation.
“We’re a company people can rely on,” he says. “We have very high standards and our crews have extensive experience and skills. We offer a personalized service in a constantly changing world in terms of technology. Talking to someone face to face can make all the difference.
“I love interacting with people, watching the transformation that takes place on their property, and then seeing the enthusiasm of the clients when the project is complete. We often exceed their expectations. It means a lot to me that I help make a difference in people’s lives by transforming their landscapes.
FFor more information, call (732) 873-6780. Website: rockbottomlandscaping.net.