by Samantha Haas
on Thursday, August 31st, 2017 at 6:12am.
Joe Hanauer, owner of Landscape Architecture LLC, started the Madison-based business 21 years ago. A graduate of UW-Madison, he is a licensed landscape architect and also has a degree in horticulture.
"I'm well-versed in the issues that involve design, construction and engineering in the landscape architecture side of things, but I'm also really well-versed in the plants, what they need and what grows well where," he said.
He spent the first seven years of his career working in the Chicago area, where he learned a lot about design on a large scale. Moving back to Madison revealed a difference in companies, customers and style in regards to the landscape architecture industry, which took some getting used to. Unlike many contractors who have a landscape company because they like driving big equipment, Hanauer said he gravitated toward the field for other reasons.
"I love being outside, design and creating things," he said. "So how could I combine art with outside working with people?"
After a year working with two different companies, he decided to start his own. And his beautiful yard acts as a living billboard for the kind of work he's capable of doing.
"It's been really fun, I've really enjoyed it," Hanauer said, especially when it comes to turning a 2-D design into reality. "To be able to explain that and create a vision for people but then having them see that vision come to life, that's really neat."
He does all the design work, meetings and customer service, but he leaves the construction up to the 10 others on his staff. He said he's "stayed small on purpose" because he enjoys taking care of the nuts and bolts, working directly with people and visiting the work sites.
Hanauer was one of 12 finalists from around the country for Total Landscape Care's 2014 Landscaper of the Year, an award that recognizes smaller landscapers for their impressive portfolios, business techniques, community involvement and safety records. He said he was honored and humbled by the experience and grateful to form friendships with others in the business.
"We don't compete with each other, so we can freely talk about what we do and the issues we have," he said. "It's really about a great exchange of ideas and continues to be a real source of information and education for me."
Landscape Architecture LLC serves the Madison, greater Dane County and Lake Wisconsin areas. With a focus on excellence, the staff specializes in handling higher-end residential design/build landscaping projects, from decks and retaining walls to lawns and lighting.
"If it's outside, we pretty much do it," he said.
One of his goals is to create "weed-whip free yards" through soft, flowing bedlines and avoiding small areas that lawn mowers can't get reach. Hanauer blogs about other landscaping tips and ideas on his website.
About the business
What: Landscape Architecture LLC Owner: Joe Hanauer Established: 1997 Location: Madison Website:landscapearc.com Phone: (608) 798-1840