Landscape Workshop: in a league of its own Email
Written by Becky Garber-Godi   
Wednesday, July 27, 2022 04:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, when eighth in line to the Saudi Arabian throne, built a 60,000-square-foot house, in Aspen Colorado, in 1990 that needed a landscape on a par with his palatial retreat. It was an opportunity Landscape Workshop, Inc., then based in the Denver area, felt prepared to tackle. “It was a good fit for us,” says Tim McMichael, now the president. “It put us on the front end of development when Aspen was on the cusp of breaking out and we were lucky to be in the right place at the right time.”

Leading up to this opportunity, Landscape Workshop had been a fast-growing company founded in 1979 by landscape architect Jim Pitts, McMichael’s father. By 1986 Pitts had grown the firm from a team of three to one of largest landscape installation companies in Colorado. With experience from large projects such as Southwest Plaza shopping mall and The Pinery, Landscape Workshop was confident taking on a big job in the mountains. At the time, there were no companies in the high country that could match their experience. Landscape Workshop gained a What does it take to please a Saudi prince in Aspen? Jim Pitts, founder of Landscape Workshop, Inc., with his wife and their great grandchildren who may someday be part of the company team. Landscape Workshop knows how it’s done foothold in the Aspen market and soon operations moved to Carbondale.

Like the prince, their clientele continues to be rich and famous personalities with closely guarded identities. Landscape Workshop requires all employees and subtractors to sign nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements “Most of our property owners, due to privacy concerns, won’t allow us to submit their properties for awards,” says McMichael. Nevertheless, most owners in the area know one another and word of mouth from satisfied clients travels.

That first job also captured attention among landscape architects who design for the crème de la crème of high-end projects. Though a landscape architect, Pitts had long set a policy of not doing design. He preferred to avoid competing with the designers who could send projects to his company. “Now we negotiate about 80 percent of all our work,” says McMichael.

Reputation matters to McMichael, and he learned that principle from his dad. “Jim was good about teaching everyone about doing all work the right way from the start—there’s an immense value in that.” And when something goes wrong, do what is needed to make it right. Today those principles live on when he and others on the team make commitments to clients. “When we tell a client we’ll be done with their project on a specified date that is 2-, 3- or 5-years out, we do NOT miss a date.” Read the full article in the July/August issue of Colorado Green.]

2024 ALCC Platinum Sponsors