Ultimate Backyard Makeover 2010 – Honoring a Local Hero! Pt. 3

Ultimate Backyard Makeover 2010 – Honoring a Local Hero! Pt. 3

As we continued on with our Backyard Makeover, my cell phone began to ring. Offers were coming in to help with the project, in fact at one point I thought we might have too many people running around the site. Calls came in from John Borovicka’s Carpenter’s Union Local 43, as well as Local 24, with which he had been working the day he died. John’s Union brothers were great, they showed up asked what needed to be done, and got to work. They agreed to finish up the trim work on the sauna addition John had started, install a screen door for the space, and helped out with the Memorial garden, by pouring the slab for the Granite bench. It was quite a site, seeing some of Connecticut’s best bridge builders, pouring a slab that only measured 14 inches by 42 inches. The scale of this project was much smaller than they were used to, but they handled it with the same precision reserved for our state’s major roadways.

Locals 43 and 24 finishing the sauna addtion exterior

Making the forms for our slab

The slab must be level

A job well done!

While the Union guys were seeing to their tasks, our crews lead by Readco Landscaping, were busy working on the sitting wall and patio under the watchful eye of our Director and camera crew. Construction had to be halted from time to time, but Readco did a great job staying on schedule.

Our Director would not miss a shot
At times it feels like fish in a fishbowl

Sometime during the afternoon hours on Wednesday, a woman walked down into the backyard carrying two large plastic containers. We were use to friends stopping by at this point, but could not imagine what she was bringing by. Maureen, and her family, are good friends with the Borovicka’s, and she began to tell us of the many times John had been to their house to help with repairs and projects. Tears filled her eyes as she told us of John’s generosity, and that she had brought us cookies and peanut butter bars to say thanks for all that we were doing. Her story warmed our hearts, and the treats were delicious. Unknowingly though, she had broken one of the rules of dealing with contractors and stray dogs; If you feed them they might never leave!

As the stories and visits continued a renewed sense of what we were really there for kept us focused on finishing on time, and the wrap party planned for the end of the week.

Check back in to see what else lay in store for the Borovicka backyard!

Scott

www.blueheronlandscapes.com

Ultimate Backyard Makeover 2010 – Honoring a Local Hero! Pt. 2

Ultimate Backyard Makeover 2010 – Honoring a Local Hero! Pt. 2

John Borovicka had donated much of his time to “Christmas in April”. On one project the crew could not finish the work on a particular house, so John went back on his own time, and finished the work by himself. The homeowner grateful for the extra effort John had shown on her behalf, offered to pay John for his work, but John declined, saying he was glad to be of help. Being of little means, the woman insisted on compensating John for his time so she paid what she could, a can of peaches, a bag of peanuts, and the coupons she had clipped from her newspaper that week.

These are the stories Linda Borovicka began to share with us as we began work on her backyard. Each story bringing a smile, and at the same, causing a sinking feeling that came from deep within. We have caught only a glimpse of the person John Borovicka was, but it was clear he was special.

Day one of the shoot was a mix of setting up camera shots and interviewing the principles. Our host, Fox 61’s Sarah Cody would be leading us through the week interviewing vendors, and checking in with me from time to time for updates on the project. My job is to create the overall layout of the project, schedule the work, apprise the camera crew of who they would be interviewing and filming each day, making sure materials arrive as needed, and keeping the Fox61 people up to date on the progress. Although it seems like a lot of work, my job has been easy, thanks to the fantastic efforts of each of the following parties involved;

Our Host Sarah checks here notes with two of our producers.

Dunning Sand and Gravel would be supplying all the hardscape materials. Readco management is supplying the labor needed to install the patio, grade and excavate, site cleanup, and just about everything else needed, including a couple of special projects at my request. More about those in a later post. Salem Country Gardens would supply the planting plan, the plants and the planting labor. Carefree Small Buildings a 10 x 12 shed. Giant Oak Power is supplying a Mower, and Big Y, food for the wrap party. We received a few last minute and surprise gifts, and we’ll find out about those later also.

Ben from Dunning Sand and Gravel chats with Drew from Readco about the upcoming week.
Our Director John, Checks the footage of the tree work.

Our job meeting the previous Friday with the principle contractors had gone well, and I had sensed that this group would be great team to work with. Not wanting to step on their generosity, I had laid out my ideas and rough schedule, and waited anxiously for Monday to arrive. What I found out, is that I had underestimated the generosity of this group. Here we were on day one, and already Dunning Sand and Gravel was dropping off a dumpster and a mini-excavator, and Readco had had called in Sullivan Tree Experts, to remove an oak that stood in the way of John’s patio (both companies had already kicked in more than they had pledged). I knew instantly that this would be an exciting week!

With the tree work finished and rain moving in, we cleaned up and headed home.

Check back in to follow our story, as we Honor a local hero from Vernon, CT!

I hope you find special people to build your team with!

Scott

www.blueheronlandscapes.com

Ultimate Backyard Makeover 2010 – Honoring a Local Hero!

Ultimate Backyard Makeover 2010 – Honoring a Local Hero!

This past Monday, we began shooting the second “WTIC Fox 61 Ultimate Backyard Makeover”. I was fortunate again this year to be asked to serve as landscape designer/project manager. We have a great group of vendors participating this year, and a very nice family to work for. The Borovicka’s of Vernon, CT. will receive a wonderful new backyard, but they have recently suffered a tragic loss. This is their story.

The recently finished addition.

John Borovicka was a master carpenter with the Carpenters Union, Local 43. He was a doting father to Bethany and Kimmie, father-in-Law to Sid, and loving husband to Linda. He plied his trade during the day building bridges and working on various construction projects throughout Connecticut for O&G Industries. On nights and weekends over the years, John built the house the family lived in, the deck and gazebo they dined and relaxed on, and landscaped the yard they played in. John’s efforts didn’t stop with the family home though, as he regularly helped out neighbors, friends and family with any project they needed help on. He volunteered with Christmas in April, his Church, drove the High School Band instruments on trips, and brought his daughters to dance class, even dancing with them every once in a while. John was proud family man, and a devoted community volunteer. And, unbeknownst to him, he was soon to be a grandfather. Last fall John began working on the last part of the yard.

The patio area.

After recently completing an addition in which they placed a sauna, John had intended to construct a patio and sitting wall just outside. He prepped the area, did some drainage work, and put away his tools as winter began to set in. The plan was to get right back at it this spring, but tragically in November, John lost his life in a workplace accident. The patio and steps would remain unfinished, the family would lose the center of their world, and the community would lose a hero.

Here is where our story begins, as Kimmie Borovicka napped on the couch with the TV on. She awoke to hear the announcer say something about a Backyard Makeover contest, but didn’t hear the details. She ran to tell her mother and sister, and after a thorough search, they found the Fox61 website and sent in a picture and an essay. All this, one week before the contest began.

Bethany, Linda, and Kimmie, outside the addition.

The Borovickas entry was selected as one of three finalists, and their story was posted on the website to allow fans to vote for the winner. After a week of voting the Borovickas, with over half of the vote, were declared the winners. In just two short weeks, the Borovickas, still grieving from their loss, went from wondering what they would do with this unfinished area, to welcoming in our crews to carry on John’s work. It is our hope that what we provide, will in some small way give them comfort as they remember a great man.

In upcoming posts, we’ll find out exactly what the Borovickas have won, meet the contractors that will finish the work John started, and create their Ultimate Backyard.

I hope you all have a hero to lean on,

Scott

http://www.blueheronlandscapes.com

When the cat’s away…..

When the cat’s away…..

Recent events have kept me from attending to all the details that keep each project moving along smoothly, and that has caused there to be a little downtime for the crew. When faced with idle time in the past, I could usually trust that my crew would keep themselves busy in some sort of constructive fashion. My current crew, consisting of 2 college aged males on the otherhand, upon finding themselves with some empty time, decided they would rather exercise their ceative muscles. When instructed to move an existing pile of brick, they instead decided to build a monument any mason was sure to be proud of. So, move it they did. All that was left was to sit back and soak up the accolades.

So my friends, I give you – “Pile of Brick”, by Justin and Mike.

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Now in the past, I may have over reacted to this kind of “tom-foolery”, but I have matured over the years, and have learned to accept things for what they are. After all, they could have used their idle time in all manner of degenerate ways (that’s a story for another time!).  No, this time I took into account that the customer was fairly amused, and that their actions didn’t leave me with any repairs or the need to replace anything (which is also a story for another time!), instead I focused on the positive, and….. promoted them.

I am pleased to introduce the new Vice President and Executive Assisant, of material storage and brick stacking for Blue Heron! (I’ll let them decide which is which).

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Now if I could only find their time cards……..

See you in thegarden!

Scott

www.blueheronlandscapes.com