Wednesday, November 19, 2014  |  0 Comment(s)  |   Email   Print

Q&A with Mike Supler, V2V landscape contractor

The Supler Brothers pictured above, Mike (left) and Matt (right).  Photo courtesy of the Plain Dealer.


Tell us about your business, New Vista Enterprises.

I started the company in August of 2000 after working for another company in the area for several years. My brother, Matt, joined me as a partner a few years later. We both have bachelor degrees in Horticulture from The Ohio State University. We do a ton of landscape design and construction work but also have maintenance and planting crews. In recent years, we have been fortunate to connect with LAND Studio who have really helped us build a presence on public/private funded projects within the county. Without LAND Studio, we probably would have not been introduced to the Vacant to Vibrant projects.
We purchased our building in the Woodland Hills area about 7 years ago after renting space in Euclid. The location is perfect for us as we do a lot of work on the east side, west side and within the city of Cleveland.


What do you like about working on green infrastructure projects specifically?

I have always enjoyed the challenge of solving drainage issues but usually the solution involves sending more storm water to our overburdened sewer system. The beauty of the rain gardens is that all that water can now be captured on site, filtered naturally and returned to the groundwater supply.


How well did the Vacant to Vibrant designs translate to installation?

I think the design worked out very well for each site. A little bit of adjusting had to be made on site to fit some of the elements due to unknown property lines during the design phase, but that happens on just about every project.


What aspects of the V2V installation were difficult to implement or had to be modified?

It seems like the biggest issue going forward will be getting the city to streamline the permit process for this type of work. The average homeowner wanting to disconnect his or her downspouts and tie them into a rain garden will likely find it extremely difficult to wade through the permit process. The city needs to recognize the benefits of rain gardens and work toward creating a standard guideline for the installation of them.

Did your crew run into any unanticipated problems during installation?

There really weren’t any big problems we couldn’t adjust for to keep things on track. One of the sites had a lot of demolition debris buried right under the soil surface so we ended up hauling away a lot more debris than we expected. I think this will not be too big an issue in the future as it seems the city and county are keeping better watch over the companies that demolish the vacant homes.

New Vista's crew digging the curbside rain garden on Shale Ave.


What would have made installation smoother/easier?

As I said before, the permit issues created delays that pushed these projects late into the season. Luckily, CBG took care of most of the permits so that took a lot of frustration off my hands so we could focus on getting the projects started.


What attributes of vacant residential parcels should landscape contractors consider?

The vacant parcels offer a clean slate to start from and most have a mature tree or two on them that can be used to build your design off of. Usually the trees are at the rear of the parcel which then offers a nice space for a shade garden while the front half gets full sun where you can plant just about anything.

What hopes do you have for the Woodland Hills neighborhood?

All the long-vacant buildings need to be removed as soon as possible. They do nothing but create areas of crime and don’t encourage pride in the neighborhood. Hopefully the Opportunity Corridor will bring new businesses to the area.


Any other words of wisdom for people wishing to replicate a project like this?

Do your research in regards to varieties of plants that will tolerate dry conditions followed by very wet conditions. Also, know what size your rain garden should be to handle the water directed to it.


The Bottlebrush Buckeye.


Last, for the plant lovers… what is your favorite plant and why?

I have many favorite plants but if I had to choose only one I would say Bottlebrush Buckeye. It has fantastic leaves and very showy flowers. Does well in all sorts of soil conditions. You rarely see it used on new landscape projects which makes it a unique plant to use.

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