Kevin Wilkerson finally has the backyard of his dreams. For three years, the owner of Innovative Stoneworks and Landscaping in Kingman, Arizona, has been working on a huge, 4,550 square-foot project that he designed and installed with the help of his team.
“It’s kind of like the mechanic’s car is always broken down kind of situation,” Wilkerson says. “I could never finish it because my company is so busy.”
Innovative Stoneworks and Landscaping has about 40 employees working 50 hours a week, Wilkerson says. That made it hard to find time to finish the huge project that spans 4,550 square feet.
Including a pool, entertainment center, outdoor kitchen, fire pit and fireplace, the project took three years to complete. There are 14 speakers with subwoofers built into the benches (all controlled by phone or remote control) and an overflow pool. Wilkerson says the backyard contains all of his coolest ideas.
Wanting something a little different from the traditional Arizona backyard with palm trees and curvilinear lines, Wilkerson went with a nearly 100 percent evergreen plant and tree palette. “I just wanted to be different,” he says. “That’s why I went with a totally modular design with no palm trees. I wanted it to almost look more like a California backyard, not like palm desert, but a more modular, contemporary deal.”
The total cost came to about $110,000, not including Wilkerson’s time. He did pay employees to help out on the weekends, but says he put a lot of his own time in. He and his team were able to lay down 35 pallets of pavers over the concrete in just three days, but the brickwork was much harder. Incorporating more than 100 pallets of bricks into the project was the most time-consuming part.
He estimates that the total, including all of his labor, would be about $150,000.
While Wilkerson uses the patio for his own parties, he also uses it to show customers just what his company can really do. He says the project has already helped him seal the deal on two pools.
“I think they were kind of sold anyway, but just showing them what we’re really capable of really helps,” he says. “It’s not that I want to brag but I love sharing my cool ideas. All of my top ideas are in this yard.”
Even though the job is already complete, he says he’s thinking of going back and redesigning the project to show customers how it’s done from start to finish. “We would be able to have them look at it and see the whole thing getting designed and built right in front of their eyes and then have before and after pictures,” he says. “We want to have that 3-D design available just to show people the whole process.”
And he doesn’t plan to stop there. He’s already hired a professional photographer and has plans to enter 10 to 12 of his projects into different contests in the area. “I’m looking at going in there and making a statement with the jobs that we do,” Wilkerson says.
“We want to have that 3-D design available just to show people the whole process.” Kevin Wilkerson, owner, Innovative Stoneworks and Landscaping
However, competition is tough. Kingman has a population of about 29,000 and is up against companies in cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix.
Innovative is looking at doing some more traveling to get to larger commercial projects. The company has tapped out commercial jobs in its area, but Wilkerson says the average job is about $25,000. He recently submitted a bid for a $1.2 million job that’s about an hour away. “It’s not that far,” he says, adding that the company already travels an hour in the other direction for commercial jobs in Lake Havasu. “We’re just limited here. There’s not that many people and not that much development.”
Wilkerson estimates that about 300 new houses are built every year in Kingman, and Innovative landscapes about 200 of them. “Other than that, there’s only a couple new commercial buildings that get built or remodeled each year,” he says.