All Hands on Deck

McChesney Landscape Design offers beautiful and affordable landscapes.

Wayne McChesney says there are few things that still surprise him about landscaping; after over three decades in the business, he has pretty much seen it all.

In 2002, he started McChesney Landscape Design, which has since become a household name in St. Louis Park, thanks to its commitment to creative and cost-effective landscaping solutions. Ken and Mary Reid recently had McChesney do a total makeover of their backyard. It was, admittedly, no easy task, but the Reids insist that they couldn’t be happier with the final result.

“We wanted outdoor living space, and our deck was also falling open,” Mary Reid remembers with a laugh. The wooden deck, which was about 3 feet off the ground, was rotting, and she and her husband, Ken, decided they wanted to replace it with a patio. They sought recommendations from a local landscaping supplier and were given the names of three different companies but opted for McChesney as soon as they got off the phone with him. “He just had so much enthusiasm, and the other two just were not any fun at all,” she explains.

Although Ken and Mary weren’t sure on the specifics, McChesney took their basic vision and turned it into a concrete plan. “We just had some very vague ideas in mind, but he came up with a fantastic design that we of course fell in love with,” Mary says.

McChesney certainly had his work cut out for him, having to figure out how to get from the deck-level entry to the ground without deck rails. “Making it work both aesthetically and functionally was the biggest challenge,” he says. He designed a three-tiered patio system that would allow the Reids to walk out onto a hard-surface patio that ended up including a fire pit and plantings around the sides. “It created this cool little environment that turned out really, really awesome,” he says, describing the final results.

The entire project took a little under a month to complete. McChesney says that he is pleased with the results and the hard work his company invested. At the same time, he insists that it would have been impossible were it not for his partnership with Legacy Landscaping. “I’m just the design guy; they’re the one who make me look good,” he says. “Trust me, I come up with the idea, and they have to implement it. They are sometimes miracle workers with what we have to work with.”

Paul Schwalba, who owns Legacy Landscaping, met McChesney several decades ago while they were both working at the same landscaping company. Eventually, they decided to start out on their own. They have spent the last decade and a half working together, designing and implementing for homeowners across the metro. Like McChesney, Schwalba enjoyed tackling the particular challenges posed by the Reids’ backyard. “It was a fun project, because it was a complete project,” he says. “Sometimes we come out and just do one thing, but they’re always more fun when you can take them from start to finish. Then it’s a complete makeover; the customers are just wowed.”

Mary says that she and Ken are incredibly satisfied with their experience working with McChesney and Schwalba and thrilled with the final results. “On a scale of 1 to 10,” Mary says, “we’re pretty much a 10.” Although it’s hard to pick a definitive favorite part, since the various elements flow together so well, she says they really love the fire pit. “We spend a lot of time out there.”