About Amherst Landscape and Design Associates

Creativity, quality, strong values at heart of Amherst Landscape and Design Assiociates

Steve Prothers measures happiness not by the amount of money he makes, but by enjoying his work, and being surrounded by a loving family and close friends.

By this measure, he is a tremendous success. But he has also built Amherst Landscape and Design Associates into a highly regarded landscaping business that emphasizes creativity, integrity, professionalism, quality and durability.

Prothers not only celebrates 30 years of Amherst Landscape and Design Associates being in business, but also successfully carving out a life that balances work with family, friends, and community.

Because Prothers always wanted to spend more time with wife Linda, and daughters Jenna, 28, and Sierra, 22, he purposely kept Amherst Landscape a small operation.

"I've always valued my family life," Prothers said. 'At some point I have to shut down the work day and spend time with my family."

Prothers said Amherst Landscape gives the impression of being a larger company than it is. He only typically employs between four and six crew members, but the company's truck and signs can be seen all over the Valley at sites where they work.

"I do a lot of bid work for contractors," Prothers said. "When you do that kind of work you're name gets out there."

Amherst Landscape and Design Associates works with some of the area's finest architects, builders and contractors to transform residential and commercial landscapes. The company is expert at a variety of landscape and hardscape projects including design, creative plantings, seed and sod lawns, perennial gardens, pruning and mulching, deck construction, brick and stone patios and walk, and stone walls.

"l have a love for the outdoors and I wanted to work outside and grow things," Prothers explained. "l like the creative part of my job, the design part, placing the landscape and the greenscape within the site. I like to work with wood, stone, plants, parennials, and to use all of those to create a cohesive design."

New York kid makes good in the valley

Though Prothers is well established in the Valley, he was born and raised in Queens, New York, and got his first taste of working with plants as a grower in a greenhouse on Long lsland, and as a part time landscaper after college.

Prothers received an Ornamental Horticulture degree from The State University of New York in Cobleskill. As a young man he also traveled extensively around the country working as a carpenter.

He and Linda, who has been his wife for 33 years, traveled across New England looking for a college town in which to settle. They moved to the Valley in 1979 and started his business.

"We wanted to put down roots and raise a family," Prothers said. " We chose a great community and area to not only raise and educate our kids, but to also maintain a successful business. We never looked back."

Prothers "knocked on a lot of doors" trying to get Amherst Landscape and Design Associates off the ground. He went to businesses, restaurants, banks, and other places he thought could use his expertise.

"lt was cold calling to businesses I saw that I thought needed a fresh look and creative ideas to explain how landscaping could be to their benefit" Prothers explained.

One of Prothers first jobs was planting flowers at Plumbley's Restaurant. In order to extend the landscaping season, he eventually started a decorating businesses for the Christmas season, putting up garland, wreaths, and lights. When he started, Prothers worked by himself and carried his tools in a small Toyota pickup truck.

"Have truck will travel, with shovel, rake and wheelbarrow" he said. "Now we have lots of shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows."

Prothers hired his first employee in the early 1980's.

Over the years, Amherst Landscape has done too many big jobs to count but a few stand out in Prothers' mind. One was the Vllage Commons in South Hadley in the late '1980's, where he did all of the landscaping. He returned a few years ago to construct a large canopy called a pergola.

"Since then l've constructed a lot of pergolas," Prothers said.

Another large project was the landscaping of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst.

One of the highlights of Prothers' career was designing and installing the landscaping at The Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley for the 2004 U.S. Women's Open.

"We transformed a big meadow into the entrance to the country club," Prothers explained. "l was privileged and honored do that project."

He and his crew also landscaped around bleachers, VIP and corporate tents, and heavily traveled areas of The Orchards grounds. He used trees, shrubs, flowers, mulch, and even built stone walls to transform the area. He left behind a beautiful stone with the logo carved into it commemorating the event.

Once the Women's Open was over, Prothers had a large tag sale to sell the plants and other items he used for the project, and donated the proceeds to a local charity.

Because of his stellar work at the U.S. Women's Open, in 2006 Prothers was offered the opportunity to landscape a major golf tournament at the Newport Country Club in Newport, Rhode lsland. He respectfully declined because he didn't want to leave his customers in the Valley.

"l had to say 'thank you, but no thank you,"' Prothers said. "It was tempting, but it's not only about the money."

Amherst Landscape and Design Associates also works on as many residential as commercial projects.

"Between renovations and new construction, we do a lot of residential work," Prothers said.

While Prothers is there to offer his expert advice, he believes it is equally important to listen and assess the client's landscaping needs and desires. In the end, clients need to feel satisfied with the overall appearance and usability of their grounds.

“Amherst Landscape is known for quality, " Prothers said. "Landscapers are finish carpenters in a sense. We put the final touches that can make or break a project. Creatively, we can envision what the mature landscape will look like down the road. lt could be years before it reaches its maturity."

A commitment to the community

At the moment, Amherst Landscape and Design Associates is located on Lawrence Plain Road in Hadley, but Prothers has purchased a 10.5 acre parcel of commercial land in North Amherst where he plans to build a new headquarters.

The building has been designed by Kuhn Riddle Architects, Inc. of Amherst and will have lots of New England-style touches, and will be constructed using stone, glass and wood. It will be located near many complementary businesses.

"lt will be a showplace and a shop," Prothers explained. "It will also be a design center, a place where people can see our designs develop inside and outside. It's a beautiful spot. We'll have display gardens, stonework, brickwork, and plantings. They will see examples of our work and how it fits into one's landscape.”

Prothers is also committed to the community through his philanthropic endeavors.

He has been generous over the years to a number of causes, and will continue to do so. “I rarely say 'no', when I'm approached,” Prothers said .Il try to help out as much as I can with as many agencies and organizations that are in need, especially in donating our time and expertise. I thank the community for the support they have given me tor the past 30 years, so I try to do what I can to give back.”


Steve Prothers • PO Box 1014 • Amherst, MA 01004 • 413.256.0666

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