Industry At Heart Of Hit TV Show

Industry At Heart Of Hit TV Show

When members of the Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association (PLNA) were asked to help ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” create a safe home for a young widow and her baby, the resounding response was, “What can we do?”

The family chosen by “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is Trisha Urban and her 1-year-old daughter, Cora. Trisha’s husband, Andy, died from a massive heart attack on February 4, 2009, the day Cora was born. Andy had been born with a congenital heart defect and was denied health insurance because of the pre-existing condition.

Ed Anewalt of Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting in Bernville, Pa., signed on as the trade lead for landscape and was tasked with assembling a team of volunteers to provide labor and materials for the show. Within a couple days, Anewalt had a group of about 40 volunteers from local green industry companies ready to roll up their sleeves:

– Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting, Bernville
–Diebolt Landscape Co., Inc., Mohnton
–Golden Oaks Landscaping, Mohnton
–Jim Walck Lawn & Shrub, Drums
–Nature’s Accents Landscape Services, Inc., Hamburg
–Waterfall Gardens, Shillington
–Wheatfield Nursery, Centre Hall

“It’s through PLNA and networking with other business owners that I was able to put a team together so quickly,” Anewalt says. “There is a strong sense of camaraderie among PLNA members to help each other and the community.”

Matt Davenport of Watkins Architect in Fleetwood, Pa., was the landscape architect for the project. He focused on the installation of perennials for seasonal color with large trees and some large shrubs forming the structure of the design.

“I also chose a lot of plant material for its fragrance to add to the sensory experience along the walks and to allow early spring scents to permeate the house through open windows and doors,” Davenport says.

An additional level of beauty is that the design will bring butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and other species of songbirds into the yard to enhance the experience.

PLNA members donated much of the plant material used in the design.

Anyone who has seen ABC’s hit show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition knows that the goal is to design and build a home, complete with landscaping and possibly other accessory elements such as a pool or outdoor living area, in less than a week. That’s no small order.

On top of that, this was one of the most extensive landscape projects in the show’s history. With 23 trees, 150 shrubs and 515 perennials, just the plantings totaled 220 man hours. Anewalt estimated a job this size would normally take three to four weeks to complete. The installation team did it in two days.

To finish on time, crews worked around the clock. Landscape installation began the evening of August 2 and continued nonstop through the afternoon of August 4.

To accomplish such a major feat in so little time, the volunteers had to work well together under tremendous pressure. Anewalt compared the teamwork involved to a world-class orchestra. “We needed respect, flexibility and skillful orchestration, and we had all of that. We couldn’t have pulled this off without everyone who pitched in.”

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