Mother Nature’s September 2010 tantrum transformed Pat and Rich Suhody’s Morrison Drive backyard…and not in a good way.
“The damage was quite massive,” Pat Suhody says. Six of her 11 backyard fir trees had snapped off at about halfway up their 60-foot height. “The trees toppled our swing set, part of our fence and the top of our chimney. The debris was as high as our second story windows.”
Pat started calling tree removal companies, but because the storm had left so much damage throughout the South Hills, she couldn’t get through to any. Undeterred, she hopped in her car and canvassed the neighborhood until she found a landscaping company a few blocks away that was removing someone else’s downed trees. She talked the owner, Matt Paladina, into stopping by her house that evening. Paladina and his crew ended up working into the night and coming back the following day to remove the downed trees and cut out the 30-foot-high “stumps.”
“When he left, Matt handed me his business card and said to call when I was ready to landscape the hillside,” Pat says.
A year and a half later, the backyard resembled a jungle and Pat and her husband, Rich, knew they needed to do something. The result was to take the ¼ acre lot that had previously been an unusable hillside and turn it into an outdoor livingroom.
Paladina Landscaping worked through the summer and early fall of 2011 installing a terraced hillside with lights, steps, a spot for a hot tub (on the to-do list for this year), a small vegetable garden, a fire pit and plenty of space for seating.
Paladina worked closely with the Suhodys to make their vision a reality. Hedges, honeysuckle, lilac and forsythia were ripped out, and Pat accompanied Paladina to local nurseries to find the perfect plants to enhance the yard. They ended up with hydrangeas, holly bushes, azaleas and evergreen trees. Not everything was replaced, however—a bush on the side of the house where Petey the dog likes to lounge remained as did an azalea bush near the porch that flowers beautifully in the spring.
The Suhodys, who had been considering a backyard renovation since moving into the house in 1989, found the experience to be worry free. “He does what he says he’s going to do,” Rich says of Paladina.
The family has increased its living space and is thrilled with the results.
“Mother Nature forced this project along,” Rich says. “But we turned a bad thing into a good thing,” Pat adds.