Richmond lawyer-turned-landscaper Jeffrey Cartwright transforms his family’s forever home
Jeff Cartwright has always loved a good project. So when he saw a 1930s home in a Richmond, Virginia neighborhood that needed a complete overall, he got excited.
“The inside needed a total gut job and we basically stripped everything out of the yard,” recalls Jeff. “We wanted to put a fresh stamp on the landscape and create a home to raise our daughter.”
Back to His Roots
Four years earlier, Jeff launched his own company, Cartwright Landscaping, after leaving his job as an attorney.
“I grew up landscaping with my dad,” says Jeff. “As kids, we were told to make the yard look nice. We always took great care of our yard. I really took pride in being meticulous and making it look pristine.”
While running a landscaping business might seem like a 180-degree turn from practicing law, both require a strong work ethic and attention to detail.
“I really wanted our company to be a one-stop shop,” he says. “I spent a lot of time researching the very best people to partner with so when I opened my business, we could hit the ground running.”
Nothing seems out of Jeff’s wheelhouse. Cartwright Landscaping handles everything from design to build to maintenance. Irrigation, drainage, grading, lighting, hardscaping, landscaping, tree removal—they do it all. If Jeff or one of his nine employees can’t do it, he calls on one of his partners.
The transformation of his own residence is a testament to his company’s talent and breadth of services.
Custom Metalwork, Masonry and Construction
Welders and metal fabricators created powder-coated custom gates, arbors and steel screen growers. His team expanded the driveway, using valley black stone. To provide a visual buffer between the road and the home, they built a cobblestone culvert as well as a cobblestone apron and border. They duplicated the design at the entrance to the garage.
Jeff worked with his team of carpenters to design and build two custom sheds—one for gardening and one as a gym that overlooks the new swimming pool. They also built a rough-cut property fence and a covered porch for sitting area with an outdoor fireplace and TV.
The team constructed a stone firewood container, fireplace and firepit, using cinder blocks with a falcon mist veneer stone and a large bluestone cap. And around the pool, they used sandblasted and sealed marble to keep the surface from being too slippery. They installed blue select thermal bluestone on the front patio to add richness to the front entrance of the home.
Throughout the design and build process, Jeff considered the right plants that would add texture, beauty and privacy while maintaining a sense of scale. Jeff also considered the long-term effects of the plants as well as maintenance.
“I hate seeing these huge expensive houses with nice cars, but they’ve put in these tiny little plants and disease-susceptible landscaping,” he says. “It’s really important to achieve a balance. My rule of thumb is to plant about 60 percent of the way up the window sill, taking into account the plants will grow.”
He also created a little side cutting garden, since his wife loves having fresh flowers in the house. “We’ve planted peonies, tulips, freesia, gardenias, dahlias …” says Jeff. And to the anchor plantings in the garden, they installed boxwoods.
Other plants around the property include Japanese maples, Shenandoah grass, camellias, holly plants, deodar cedar and cryptomeria, among others.
To accentuate all the new improvements, Cartwright Landscaping, which is licensed in lighting, designed and installed uplighting and downlighting systems to illuminate the home and areas around the property.
“We’re really happy with how things turned out,” says Jeff. “We’ve doubled the value of our home, so the investment has been well worth it. We see this as our forever house.”
Cartwright Landscaping worked with the following partners on this project:
Walsh Builders, Jennifer Radakovic Design, Nested Design, Avery Frank Design, Prestige Cabinetry, Andrew Mazza, DM Welding, Colesville Nursery, Homescapes, Grelen Nursery, Plantation Landscaping, Site One Landscapes, Inaray Lighting, Miller Irrigation, Riverside Turf, Jeff McKenney, Pete Rose Landscape Supplies, Stone Center, Angie Hill, BK Painting, True Timber Arborists & H.J. Holtz & Son, Inc.