Cory Mann has a degree in horticulture from Michigan State University and opened his own business in 2012 after 11 years working and learning all facets of the landscaping business with an established company.
So he knows his business inside and out.
But while he brings acres of experience with him, there are two other variables that come into play when he sets out to create something special and unique for his customers.
The first is the client’s needs, wishes and ideas – Mann strongly believes in the “customer comes first” idea of doing business. The second is nature and how the area and climate mesh with the overall game plan.
“A lot of imagination comes from nature,” Mann says. “In the end, nature controls all. If the customer wants a specific plant but it’s just not going to work for one of many reasons we have to listen to nature and come up with another plan.”
And Mann is the man with the plan – whether it’s plan A or plan B.
“First and foremost is to listen to the customer and determine what they want and then use our expertise and experience to create what they’re looking to do,” Mann said. “When customers want a native plant such as a wildflower garden or butterfly garden they have to fully understand that it’s going to take a lot of work to maintain native plants because they are easily overtaken by invasive species.”
In other words, you gotta weed to succeed.
Poseidon Ponds & Landscaping has been succeeding for four years. The Dexter company began with a mission to work with customers and devote time to helping them create, enhance and maintain their outdoor living spaces.
“We strive to provide the perfect solutions for both residential and commercial clients in landscape installation, pond and water feature installation, landscape maintenance, pond and water feature maintenance, storm water management and snow removal,” Mann said. “We also pride ourselves in being professional individuals while working with our clients. We have a specialist in each division of our company so we are better able to answer your questions correctly.”
And customers have noticed.
“I call them my pond elves – we come home and someone has magically cleaned and maintained our pond,” said Dexter’s Teresa Keppler.
Keppler says her “elves” scrub the rocks, make sure the pond plants are all healthy and maintain water health.
“We have Poseidon open our pond in the spring, keep it clean and healthy all season, and then they close it in the late fall,” she said. “All we are left to do is enjoy the sound of the water, watching our fish, seeing the lilies bloom, and count how many frogs we see.”
Mann, 35, was born and raised in Dexter. He’s “fifth generation Dexter” and is proud of his hometown, family and heritage. He also is proud of the pond he created in his Dexter backyard, a perfect example of how he built something to fit the “customer’s” needs and ideas.
“We designed this pond with a waterfall with a little bit of a twist,” he said. “At the bottom instead of having a dry basin we created a little pool so my young kids could splash around in it on these hot summer days. They love to get in there and splash around and have fun. They like the natural feel of it.”
Business has been steadily increasing and so has the staff.
“The first year we had one crew, one truck and then we expanded a little bit and it gave me a chance to spend less time on the road,” he said. “In 2013, we brought on another MSU grad (Jackie Grow) and she has helped me grow the business in different ways. And Eric Wilcox, who I’ve known since we were in sixth grade and worked with me at the other company, has been instrumental in the growth of the business. So we have a really good team.”
Every once in a while Mann will still get his hands dirty but he’s now more involved in customer relations, meeting with potential clients, networking and handling the financial side of the business.
“While we continue to grow there is a lot more involved,” he said. “I work hard to try and make the experience enjoyable and satisfying for our clients.”
While his days as a Dreadnaught and Spartan are over, Mann’s education is continuous. He is always experimenting and educating himself so Poseidon Ponds & Landscaping can exceed industry standards and practices.
“A lot of landscape companies get stuck in the same rut and use the same plants in every single design,” he said. “But there are a lot of different varieties of plants and materials to choose from. So at my house and my parent’s house I like to use our gardens as test areas for plants I’m interested in but don’t fully know how they will work. It gives me a good sense of how to utilize different plants and incorporate them into someone’s project.”
For example, this summer is he trying out a red pine mulch to see how that holds up during these hot Michigan summers – and beyond.
“It seems to hold its color a little bit longer and I really like it,” he said. “It holds moisture really well and gives a different look and makes the plants pop.”
Education is something Poseidon takes seriously. They are Michigan Certified Natural Shoreline Professionals in Washtenaw County Michigan which requires the completion of a three-day classroom instruction, one day field exercise installing a natural shoreline and pass a certification exam.
The certification is good for three years and is renewed with continuing education courses in the field.
Poseidon Ponds & Landscaping, also is known for creating and designing natural cut-stone patios, fire pits and stone stacked seating walls, offer services in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Saline, Chelsea, Milan, Grass Lake, Jackson, Howell, Novi and other communities in southeast Michigan. For more information, log onto www.poseidonponds.com or call (734) 726-5061.