CLC Landscape and Design: Backyard Dreams

The last calendar year has not afforded vacations for many of us, and as a result, it’s given homeowners a much different view of their backyards. The shrubbery and porch space are the closest we’ve gotten to a scenic getaway, and in all likelihood, the picture does not suffice. So a lightbulb probably lit in many New Jersey corners, the illumination hits home and must have more and more people yearning for a relaxing escape with the simple cross of the backdoor threshold. But to bring a real vision to life, homeowners should seek a landscape design/ build firm that knows all about putting inspiration into motion and doing so with a vast storehouse of knowledge. “Great Landscapes Begin with Great Design Ideas,” said Rich Cording Sr of CLC Landscape Design. As founder and president of the firm, Cording can definitely back up a guiding business model that does everything from pools to decks and patios to pergolas. “We have so many architects working together and bring a synthesis of ideas to any project,” said Cording. In addition, customers don’t have to worry whether the project site has the workers dialed in. An owner is involved in every aspect of the process, and the professional expertise really digs in. Senior’s 45 years’ of experience and licensed Landscaping Architecture standing aside, Rich Cording Jr has his Masters Degree in Landscape Design from Columbia University.

In the weeds or actually out of the ivy, CLC’s primary service is for pools. “The biggest difference between a pool company and us is that we integrate the pool into the entire backyard,” said Cording. Thus, CLC takes into account the sun angles and the privacy purview while endeavoring for aquatic imagery that looks good year-round. “So when you’re sitting on that patio, looking across the pool, there’s a beautiful water feature on the other side,” he said. You also want to position the pool so you’re not looking at an out of place pool cover for eight months, Cording added. However, CLC’s main job is design, not installation. But the firm is still on top of the process no matter the installation. “My son has built up a tremendous repertoire of subcontractors,” said Cording, and CLC oversees the entire project from concept to completion. So the roster stands ready to deliver an indoor amenity that virtually every design seeks. “Customers want an outdoor kitchen or a fire element,” said Cording. Of course, customers typically want cover. “Right now, so many designs include a pergola with a fireplace and an outdoor kitchen,” Cording revealed. But bringing the indoor-outside for the family meal or a larger together works best when the eyes are served as well as the stomach. Unfortunately, that’s where other companies can fail. They chaotically rush to fill empty space with plant life and flowers. “Planting is an art form that has been lost,” said Cording. A huge focal point of CLC’s operations, Rich, Jr. lays out the specs artistically and prepares a canvas that invites all year round. “The biggest compliment I hear about Rich is, ‘I never thought it was going to look this beautiful in July and September,” beamed Cording. Rich, Jr’s Master’s degree also makes sure the greenery is appropriate to the environment, so ‘adaptive’ planting thrives along with the natural order.

“We are also conservation experts,” asserted Cording. CLC also goes green by trying to use materials that are already on site. For instance, the installation might take pieces discarded from the old patio and place in the new rock wall. The firm also tries to get its staples nearby and reduce the carbon footprint for carting materials. Nonetheless, the artistry usually begins on the phone, and again, it’s kept in the family. Rich, Sr. answers the call, gets a general sense of what the client desires, and his sons Eric and James make the first introductions at the home. “We explore a couple of different design options and pretty much give them anything they want on their wish list,” said Cording. The specs then go to the next level. “I have a team of full-time architects that work with me to create this master plan,” said Cording, and if customers like, a 3D model can be purchased. Still, not everything is set in stone or style.

“After the landscape architect has laid everything out and we have a master plan, my son, Rich, has a sense of what people are looking for and then takes it to the next level,” said Cording. The possibilities don’t end there either. A licensed architect in the lead and under the direct supervision of CLC, multiple heads are better than the one that’s typically out there. “That’s what separates us from other people,” said Cording. On the other hand, not everything about CLC has been completely thought out. Senior initially got his teaching degree, and landscaping emerged as he was trying to make extra money. Lawn work started turning into more money, and he kept repeating that he would do this only ‘one more year.’ Unable to pull away, he took the plunge in 1973, but actually enjoying the nuts and bolts of getting his hands dirty did take some time. Eventually, he said, “I decided it was something I loved doing.” Even so, that’s not necessarily what gets him out of bed every morning, “What I truly love is helping people achieve their dreams,” the president boasted. And for New Jersey homeowners, it can all start by simply looking out your window.

For more information, visit