Curb Appeal

It’s one thing to imagine the potential your backyard holds. And it’s another to see landscaping plans on paper. But what really allows a homeowner to fully realize what a space could transform into is to actually walk through a perfectly manicured space — and think about how good it feels. That’s just the goal with the new showcase from Miller Landscaping, a Woodstock-based company specializing in outdoor spaces.

mid-2016, the Miller Landscaping showcase provides potential clients a place they can explore and see the workmanship on display. Boasting a pool, fire pit, outdoor kitchen and grill and more, it’s an impressive space.

The new showcase is located in southwest Canton, in a subdivision called The Reserve at BridgeMill near the banks of a finger of Lake Allatoona. It’s the latest development of a company more than 30 years old. Bruce Miller started Miller Landscaping back in 1985. Focusing mostly on plants and sod at first, Miller grew his company’s knowledge and skill sets over the decades, and now focuses more on outdoor living, incorporating but not limited to: pools, patios, decks, arbors, kitchens, putting greens, water features, walls, fencing, irrigation, lighting and plants.

They’ve turned steep, at-first-glance unusable back yards into multi-tiered patios prime for entertaining. They’ve taken formless expanses of grass and dirt and created wonderfully intricate gardens with rows of seasonal plants and sculpted walls. They consult with customers to meet specific needs, like a recent in-ground pool they constructed that was built to be accessible for a homeowner with disabilities.

also creates a computer-designed 3-D rendering of a project rather than just the typical bird’s-eye view of sketches, letting homeowners change the point of view to really imagine themselves in the space and how it will really look from any perspective.

“I’d say the personal aspect of the company sets us apart,” says Britany Heater, the director of marketing and sales for Miller Landscaping. “Bruce is very much involved in the projects. Even though there’s an assigned project manager, he likes just to peek in and let people know he’s on top of things. He’s been doing it for 30 years, so he’s great with people and is very understanding of the business needs but also the special circumstances that come up in a project.”

As the company has grown and changed, it’s been able to satisfy its customers and their evolving tastes, says Heater. For instance, while outdoor fireplaces were popular 10 years ago, now Miller’s seeing a trend towards seat-walled firepits that allow a family or group of friends to sit in a circle — it’s a more communal feel, says Heater, and one that saves money. Miller’s firepits have a base price around $2,800, while a fully built outdoor fireplace could start at $8,500 alone.

And while Heater says there’s no one specific thing that pins down and defines a Miller customer, she says one thing they have in common is a desire to improve their day-to-day lives and focus it around how a family uses a property. (Maybe the family focus comes from the fact that Miller Landscaping is itself a family business — Heater is Miller’s daughter, her brother Blake handles accounting, and she met her now-husband Sean when he was handling operations.)

“We see a lot of new families, people with young families, who are getting to a point where they want to upgrade,” she says. “That’s very common. And we have a number of retired couples that want to have a place of their own to relax and have the grandkids over.”

The next year looks to be a big one for Miller, with numerous ambitious projects already on the calendar. “We’re really excited about 2017,” says Heater, “That’ll be the first full year with the showcase open. The spring rush will be a really exciting time where we’ll be able to meet our customers’ needs. I think that’ll be a huge difference for the company. Showing off this finished product and lots of different options available will just make the whole process a little more seamless.”