Sometimes Opportunity Knocks – Sometimes You Have to Create Your Own Opportunities
Article by Karen Creason
Photography by Trenton Lee Photography
Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle
Fifteen years ago, Charles Darby’s parents gave him sage advice: Take what you have and build what you want and need. His parents’ joy and love for helping people set the standard for how Charles wanted to live his life. “I did not want a job – I wanted a way of life.”
Charles’ passion for landscaping aligned perfectly with his personal value system. Landscaping affords him the opportunity to work and live close to his family, while helping others.
Charles began his landscaping journey by working for a successful landscaping company. Determined to succeed, he did what his boss did and learned much in the process. Ambitious, young, self-motivated and comfortable with knowledge gained, Charles branched out on his own and launched Opportunity Landscapes and Nursery in 2012.
Aptly named Opportunity Landscapes and Nursery “because I knew if I was given the opportunity I would supersede expectations with my ability,” Charles obtained his business license and started to beat the bushes. In his first week, he landed his first job which paid the equivalent of three months’ salary of his former job. He then struggled through a three-month drought. Not one to lose focus, Charles took all the outdoor jobs no one wanted to do, both challenging and mundane. “I trusted that growth of the company would happen organically and soon I would be utilizing my skills for enhancing outdoor properties.” It took time to earn the respect of vendors, the industry, and clients. As his unique design skills and outstanding quality in landscape and hardscape installation became known, Charles started receiving multiple referrals.
It is through passion for his landscape career that Charles can envision the future of plant and tree growth potential and thus provide the client with a broad range of choices. Charles states “I visualize the clients project in three, five, and ten years and can provide guidance on how to create a full and lush landscape and avoid the common landscape mistake of plant or tree overgrowth. Planting in layers with different textures can create a stunning and tranquil environment adding property value, while allowing the client the enjoyment of outdoor living.”
The Opportunity Landscapes and Nursery approach is based on feeling, emotion, respect and obedience to nature. “Nature is our gift. She provides us with everything and sometimes we don’t appreciate it.” So many look from their windows at “dead” features – walls, fences, bricks and streets. Landscaping brings life. Much like people, landscape comes in different colors, sizes and shapes. They both live and grow, get transplanted, adapt, take root and continue to grow.
Charles sees his strengths as “doing the job, leading the team, accountability, and overseeing the quality of our work. I have exceedingly high and exacting standards.” He loves that he can shine a light on others. “I want to give my workers the opportunity to be the star I know they can be.” Charles has created a motivating work environment where opportunities abound. His team is dedicated. “I will, and have, taken a good person over a good worker. I can train a good person to work but I cannot train a good worker to be a good person.”
Business has grown through referrals and that means a lot to Charles. “I would rather have the respect of others than a million dollars.” So valued as a leader in the industry, Charles is asked to consult on projects and to advise, teach and help others in the profession.
Opportunity Landscapes and Nursery was recently named by Trees.com to the 2022 Top 20 Best Gardening and Landscaping Services in Nashville placing them above longer-established businesses. Charles states, “My goal is to continue the career that I love while leading the company to greater successes. Our new lifestyles demand outdoor property beautification – Opportunity Landscapes and Nursery can make that happen.”
Feeling very fortunate in the choices made, Charles states, ”I am always fulfilled and feel thankful and honored by the opportunities I have been given to enrich the lives of many – just by planting a tree.”