Rick Meadows was born in the nursery. He spent thousands of hours being “babysat” while his mother worked as Office Manager for Meadows Farms. He built “forts” in the tree sections, hid in “caves “ in the mulch pile, made “mazes” with azaleas, with his brothers and cousins. As he grew up, he learned the names of plants and their growth habits from his Grandad, who was the General Manager. He still remembers the amazed faces of customers being told by an eight year old kid where to plant Nellie Stevens Holly, and explaining their growth habits.(and telling clients that they don’t need a male and female to produce berries and he was too young to even know what sex was!) It was fun being raised in the nursery business. Looking back I realize how truly unique and fortunate the experience was.
I spent my early teen years working part time during school and full time during summers at the nursery. Having the good fortune of being family, the nephew of the owner, Bill, “The Farmer” Meadows, I was introduced to every aspects of the nursery industry. It soon would become obvious to Farmer and his wife, Betty, as well as my parents and granddad, that my talents was in the world of plants. More importantly, my family recognized my gift to design and create with plants, rocks, bricks and flagstones. “He is an artist, not a businessman,” he would overhear Uncle Farmer state. In those days Meadows Farms was on the cutting edge of introducing affordable landscaping services to residential homeowners. He observed the lifestyle of successful designers in the company (many still with Meadows Farms today) and decided that was what he wanted for himself.
During my late teen and college years, I spent every available hour working in the nursery, as part time consultant to homeowners, installation foreman, tagging along with Uncle Farmer and other designers observing home landscapes. Attending seminars and shows, absorbing all influences of the landscape industry. (I was even a roommate of the top landscape foreman of Meadows Farms for three years) I learned design skills from working for and with the best Landscape Designers from Virginia Tech, West Virginia University, and Penn State. I proudly boast that I did not learn how to design traditionally, with a formal education or degree, I learned from, if you’ll excuse the pun, “from the ground up!”
Having learned landscaping from blistering hands, sore elbows and knees, and achy back, gave me the experience to create “out of the box” landscapes, yet stay within reality of what is truly feasible. I have spent many years observing not only the best designers and their designs, but just as important learned from the worst. Over and over, I observed not only what was artistic and gorgeous, but also the outrageous and failures of others. In short I copied what worked and stayed away from what didn’t work! As I matured I developed my own style. I always get a kick when talking to friendly competitors, “I saw such and such house in that neighborhood that you did. Wow, what a unique landscape!” In other words, another successful yard with the “Ricky Lee” touch!
Now with over FORTY YEARS of experience in the nursery/green industry I have become a master at coordinating plants, along with other features such as rocks, flagstones, bricks, water and walls. BUT more important to you, I have learned to LISTEN to you. I often asks personal questions to get a feel for what you want and desire. I feel it is my job to understand you as a homeowner and my Piscean nature allows me to do so. I note the furniture in your house, the cars in your garage or driveway, kids toys? Or not? Jewelry. Motorcycles, boat? Clothes you are wearing. Don’t take it personal, but I am not an electrician or a plumber giving you an estimate on a repair job, I am your personal designer, who wants to guide you into a custom plan for you and your yard’s specific needs. Do you want a landscaper who just comes in and tells you what he wants to do? Or do you want an artist, like me, who will listen and guide you and develop a landscape YOU want? If the answer is no, please stop reading and pick another designer. However if the answer is YES, keep on reading!
After a little meet and greet session, I will get down to business, er – I mean start creating your custom landscape. With factors such as your personal tastes, your yard’s specific needs, the fun begins! I create using groupings of plants, so that one group blends, contrasts, complements another group of plants, or highlights a focal specimen, feature, or structure.
I use not only colors, but textures, as well. I introduce features not only specific to colors and textures, but shapes and styles, and consider the surrounding environment. Seasonal factors, what each unit of the landscape is doing throughout the four seasons, boosting a beautiful interest throughout the year. To be successful, is to do all the above so that the eyes can observe the entire landscape in one easy “viewing”, not in some odd random hodgepodge look. And to top it off, to be able to do it with plants and features suitable for your yards. For instance you may like hostas, but if you have a sunny western exposure, it just won’t work. However, liropes and lilies will perform magnificently, we’ll put the hosta on the shady side of your yard with the eastern exposure.
Let’s make your yard your ROCK! I love designing with rocks, and most importantly my clients like the added touch that rocks bring to their landscape. Also when was the last time a rock died? Meadows Farms buys rocks from all over the world, this allows me to design with truly unlimited potentials. I have over twenty types of walls that can be incorporated, all to your taste or yard’s specific needs. Boulders, all sizes, shapes and textures and color. A neat little “trick” I do, is incorporate boulders into rock walls. I use not only rock shapes into the design, but color contrasts as well. It is often pleasing to have rockwalls to contrast to color of siding, brick or patio. On the other hand many clients want to complement with similar color. The same can work for boulders too. For example, a blue-grayish wall with a tannish boulder built into the wall or on top of wall. Just a simple design, your taste and your yard’s needs can dictate what we can do. The potentials are unlimited, thanks to Meadows Farms enormous buying power (don’t want to brag but my designs,too) and the best rock foremen in the mid-Atlantic area. Lastly, I always say, when was the last time you had to prune a rock?
Another fun project to create are walkways and paths. As always we look at your yard and your specific needs. I ask a few questions, and off to work I go,-er , off to creating again. (To me this isn’t work!) When designing paths and walkways two factors are critical, is it a primary walk/path or is it only occasionally used and cosmetic? Again thanks to Meadows Farms enormous buying power we have hundreds of choices. Bricks, flagstones, rocks. All colors, shapes, styles and textures. Again, just as with rocks above, we can use various combinations together to contrast or blend with other structures, plants, walls, ponds, etc. A personal favorite of my clients, are cobble pavers with boulder rock riser steps. Again we often complement the colors or contrast, to highlight another feature. In some cases the path/walk is the highlighted feature or focal point! Other cases it blends into the surrounding landscape that is already there or one that is custom created for you. Extend your outdoor living, entertaining area with a new patio, again installed by the best skilled craftsmen and foremen in the mid-Atlantic region. We will discuss your needs, wants and desires and develop a outdoor area custom made to your needs. Some clients want a private oasis, perhaps with the soft sounds of trickling water, to unwind after a hectic day. Other clients want a complete entertaining area, with a grilling station and a refrigerator. Benches around a firepit? Koi pond to reflect by? Arbor to sit under relaxing with a good book? Again I use combinations of bricks, rocks and flagstones to create the patio. I carry numerous photo’s so you can get a feel for what I am creating for you. You have your input as to whether we use bricks, flagstones or rocks, I simply guide you into making the best choice for you!
Want to get close to my heart? Let talk ponds! To me there is nothing more relaxing, more soothing or mellowing than sitting on the porch or deck, at nite with your loved one(s) and listening to the night sounds attracted by a pond with trickling water. The occasional splash of gold fish or koi slurping an insect, the splash of frog jumping into the pond, the croaking of frogs, the chirping of crickets. Stare into a pond gazing at the koi or goldfishes, with some vibrant lilies in bloom, and soon you’ll find your mind at peace, one with nature, the day’s care no more.
I fortunately have to keep repeating myself, but again Meadows Farms has the best pond installers in the mid-Atlantic, allowing me to again custom design with you, your pond. First we discuss placement. The single biggest key to success with pond is to have them in a sunny and high visibility area. Size is important, too. Many of my clients want the pond to be the highlight, the feature of the landscape. Others just want the pond/fall to blend or mesh with the landscape as a whole. Together we can develop a plan according to your tastes as well as what your yard’s specific needs dictates. I also have available for you bubbling rocks and gravel and mill ponds. I have lived in Spotsylvania County since 1984, so that I can better serve my clients I only work the Fredericksburg/Stafford and surrounding counties including Lake Anna and Lake of the Woods.
I live with my wife, Shelley, also a Meadows Farms designer, and daughter Amanda and son, Bradley. In my free time I enjoy watching the kids grow up, being their number one fan at their soccer games and swim meets. I have also been known to “wet a line” and “chase a little white ball” every once in a while. Another passion I have, even though I do this for a living, I still can’t wait to get home to add a little “Ricky Lee” touch to my yard.