Jeff Breedlove of Centralia, Missouri, started his company, Breedlove Landscape Services over 30 years ago, while working full-time at another job. After graduating from Missouri State University in Springfield with his Bachelors degree in Agriculture with a specialization in agronomy and soils, Jeff went to work full-time for a local Central Missouri company, Atkins Lawn Care.
“After that, I worked for the Boone County Hospital Center, first in grounds care and planting and then for another five years in building maintenance, working with the boilers in the power plant. “I did my own landscape business on a part-time basis for those first few years but since 2000, this has been my solo career.”
Jeff explained Breedlove Landscape Services’ primary job is actually water control as a great many of the facets of modern-day landscaping deal with drainage, fighting erosion, slope control and retention. “This work is about quality installation and maintenance,” he shared recently while traveling between clients in the area he serves which is an approximate 30 mile radius around Centralia. “Probably 70% of our clients are homeowners who need help with repairing damage created by water and poor drainage which is often complicated by the types of soil we have in this area. We design and build drainage systems and retaining walls for individual homeowners as well as commercial customers, primarily contractors building new homes.
“We have a high percentage of repeat customers and a great many referrals from past customers so that tells me we must be doing something right,” he added with a smile in his voice. “We build patios and retaining walls to enhance a homemaker’s home area. We want people to be able to enjoy their property and I enjoy helping them find ways to do that.”
Jeff is originally from Seymour, Mo., in the southwest part of the state and enjoys meeting new people in the work that he does. “I come from a talkative family,” he laughed. “I mean, most of us can start up and carry on a conversation with the rocks so visiting with folks, finding out exactly what it is they need comes naturally.”
An important aspect of landscaping is discovering different answers to the variety of problems encountered on a regular basis. “One of our most challenging jobs was for a nice duplex, purchased by a family, where the parents were living in one side and renting out the other. The property was located off of a hill and that made the drainage problem even worse. In addition to installing a system of pipes to remove the surface water, we added an extensive wrap around retaining wall. In this case, it truly involved a multiple defense system against the invading water.”
Jeff also shared that landscaping needs and solutions can be tailored to a variety of budgets. “There are a number of different and affordable options available to resolve any particular problem. For instance, we can use natural stone or rock from a local quarry, using bigger boulders, to take care of a drainage issue with significant cost savings. Depending on the situation, we can use erosion mats and seed on rough terrain, rather than sod which is more expensive. A homeowner may be wanting to sell, for example, and while he needs to resolve the problems, he doesn’t want to put thousands of dollars into this particular property and that’s understandable. We use stone and plants to our advantage to alleviate the problems involved. We can even develop a short term payment plan, if needed.”
Jeff met his wife, Ruth while both were students at MSU. Today, she works for the University of Missouri Extension offices in their financial services. She also helps her husband in his business in terms of technical assistance with billing and computers.
“I started out as an animal science major in college,” he concluded. “I lost out on an internship one summer that I wanted with Tyson Foods but the next year, I got one with Best Lawn. I’d just taken an entomology course, learning all about insects. That summer I could apply that to the insects in people’s shrubs and spider mites they were fighting and I was hooked.”
Jeff Breedlove has been busy, helping people resolve their landscaping challenges ever since.
Article Written by Laura L. Valenti
Author & Novelist