Outdoor Living Areas
A Backyard Business Blooms East of Birmingham
When landscaper John Calloway visited family in Nashville in summers past, he noticed more and more people there were building outdoor living areas in their backyards.
“I saw this was quickly becoming a popular project for homeowners,” Calloway said. “Knowing that Nashville is a little ahead of the curve in home trends versus Birmingham, it would only be a matter of time before that interest would spark in our area.”
He researched the options Birmingham homeowners had and found the market was ready. A 20-year-veteran of the landscaping business, he knew he and his partners, Scot Thompson and Johnathan Messner, had the customer base for developing a new business.
“We’d always done rock and stone work for people by request,” Calloway said. “We were so tuned into planting shrubs, mowing grass and laying sod that it never dawned on us to offer clients other options.”
The business partners started Outdoor Living Areas Inc. in 2005. Once Calloway began marketing the types of patios, fireplaces, kitchens and more that could be built outside, the work took off. Five years later, the company keeps two crews busy with projects.
Now that the trend for building these areas is in full-swing, Thompson cautions homeowners to keep several things in mind when obtaining bids.
“Beyond just the design process, some customers are surprised by the licensing and permits involved,” Thompson said. “Surveys, plot plans and footing details may be required by the municipality and their homeowners’ association. We go to great lengths to provide plot plans to scale, photographs and landscape design for the finished space. We want the customer protected and to know their project is being performed by professionals.”
When meeting with a potential client, Thompson prefers to show customers actual work being performed in their area.
“Although we have an excellent website with photos, I like to take them to a job if we have one going on close by,” he said.
Messner said fire pits are his favorite feature of the outdoor designs.
“They remind me of camping trips with my family,” Messner said. “There’s something special about a fire that draws people around it. People relax and enjoy each other’s company.”
Cheech Ayers, a homeowner on Shades Crest Road whose home overlooks the Ross Bridge area, hired Outdoor Living Areas to build a patio area that allows his family to entertain outside and highlighted their fabulous view.
“Johnathan and Scot have produced projects for me both efficiently and professionally,” Ayers said. “Our home is one of the few properties along Shades Crest with sufficient backyard space, and this allows us to make the most of it.”
Calloway said he takes pride in and enjoys the unique projects his company has built for customers like Ayers.
“Every project we design and build is different in some way than any we’ve ever done,” Calloway said. “That is what makes it so enjoyable for everyone here to come to work each day.”
For more information on Outdoor Living Areas services, visit www.outdoorlivingareas.net or call 205-402-2110.