Landscaping runs deep in the Ganshert family, who’ve owned Ganshert Nursery & Landscapes, LLC for over 65 years. Peter Ganshert started the Madison area business back in 1951, and the company eventually moved from its downtown Erin Street location to Seminole Highway. At that time farmers doubted he could make a living by growing plant material, and yet he did.
“Back then you’d hire multiple companies to do your landscaping, and we were the company that did your planting, design, and installation. And then there were speciality companies that did walls, brick, grading, and so on,” said Peter’s son, Paul Ganshert.
Paul and his brother had always been involved in the business, but once Paul graduated college with a degree in landscape architecture, he started doing more construction projects on the side and purchased plant material from his dad for many years.
“Then we got to a point where we said let’s just both throw money into the pot to buy plant material,” Paul said. “And then I started buying all the plant material and he bought from me, so it was a nice way for him to kind of retire and transition out.”
About 30 years ago another move was necessary when Paul took over the business -- this time to six acres and a barn he converted to office space on Lacy Road in Fitchburg. The company was growing, both in the number of employees and pieces of equipment. When people assume Paul inherited everything for the business, he quickly corrects them.
“My dad had a pickup truck and a wheelbarrow -- he never wanted to be mechanized. He talked about having a dump truck my entire life, and a mechanical sod cutter, and those were the first two things I bought when I got out of school. Once we had them it was the best idea he ever had,” Paul joked.
What has been passed down is incredible work ethic, honesty, attention to detail, and an emphasis on customer service.
“We respond to people; we show up early; we call. We’re trying to respect your time,” Paul said. “Weather makes it challenging, but we definitely try to overdeliver.”
Ganshert no longer has room to grow plant material, so they mostly buy from specialty nurseries and hold them at the farm. Most jobs are now a combination of projects, from plantings to patios. During consultations, the team listens to customers’ concerns, budgets, likes, and dislikes. Then they’ll come up with a design based on what they know will grow best, look best, and function best.
And for nearly every job, Paul will also adjust the grade of the yard to get a better positive pitch away from the foundation. Rather than develop a master plan, the Ganshert team tries to get people to focus on their top three projects to chip away at.
They understand that life changes, so they are able to adapt to their customers’ needs as time goes on. Since each project is designed to their use, they suggest that people lay out the spaces with a hose or extension cord and spend time in that area first to make sure the furniture fits, for example, or they like the view.
“We have them realize all the things that come into play,” Paul said. “Look out every window in the house and tell me what you like and don’t like, but don’t qualify it with, ‘There’s nothing landscaping can do about that.’”
And if you’re going to do any house remodeling, talk to them before doing any landscaping so you don’t have to redo a project and waste money. Whether that’s twisting a space so you’re not looking directly into a neighbor’s window or using tricks to make your house look taller, shorter, narrower, or wider, the Ganshert team can help.
If you also need a plumber, massage therapist, or any other service, Paul can refer you to someone who is “as responsive as we are” since they’ve built relationships with many “phenomenal people” over the years. They also coordinate with other contractors to reduce your project timeline.
“We’re trying to set ourselves apart, so we just do everything to the nth degree,” Paul said. That’s a Ganshert guarantee.
About the business
What: Ganshert Nursery & Landscapes, LLC
Owner: Paul Ganshert
Phone: (608) 274-2443