Rich and Kris were stumped. For 26 years, they had lived in the house that Rich, a skilled craftsman, had built and customized over time. For years, though, one area perplexed them and remained unfinished: a small, grassy plot just outside their front door. “We just couldn’t come up with a plan for that area,” remembers Kris. “We stored our garden hose there, but that certainly wasn’t the vision we had for our entrance garden! Every so often, we’d plant something there, but nothing seemed right. We got pretty frustrated.” “In fact,” Rich chuckles, “it got to the point where we found ourselves avoiding the front door completely; we started going into the house through the garage instead!”

They mentioned their growing frustration to a friend who had recently driven past the Hanselman Landscape nursery. He suggested Rich and Kris take a look at the HL website. They saw enough on the website to give them hope that, in the right hands, their entry way could become something special after all.

“When we called the first time, though, we never dreamed we could end up with all this in such a tight space–I mean, huge boulders, a water feature, a stepping stone path, and a large Japanese Maple!” Rich recalls, with a trace of incredulity, as if the exquisite garden still seems too good to be true. “When James came out to meet us and see the space, he had such great ideas and seemed confident his team could make it happen for us. And they did! They involved us in the project, too. They patiently answered our questions, carefully explained the options, and let us have the final say. They are true artists and made sure everything was just right, from the placement of each boulder and tree, to the forming of the beautiful water feature–which Ben Hanselman handcrafted for us!”

Kris is surprised by the immense joy she draws from this tiny space just outside her door. And yes, they now enter and leave their home by the front door again! They have also placed a bench adjacent to the garden where Kris reads and recharges on temperate mornings, and where she and Rich now linger and catch up at day’s end. “I am amazed by the tranquility I feel when I am out here,” smiles Kris. “This beautiful garden invites me to take time out, to sit and rest awhile. Even when I am working in the kitchen, I can hear the water splashing onto the rocks. I never get tired of it!”

The team from Hanselman Landscape relished the opportunity to turn an area of frustration into a source of daily joy and refreshment for Rich and Kris. “This all happened because Rich and Kris trusted us,” states James Hanselman. “The ideas we proposed were bigger than they imagined possible, yet they believed in us. Their trust gave us the freedom to be creative. They were also patient about the time it would take Ben to fashion copper pipe into a one-of-a-kind, bamboo-look water feature. It was a privilege to work with Rich and Kris to create this tiny but enormously gratifying courtyard garden.”

–Betty Hanselman (Gardener’s wife)

Entrance garden exudes a gracious welcome

Entrance garden exudes a gracious welcome


Small courtyard garden delivers enormous delight!


Bamboo-look tsukubai was ‘Hanselman-fashioned’ by Ben, using copper pipe.



A GROWING PARTNERSHIP WITH BRITTANY’S HOPE: Planting seeds of love and hope for orphans around the world.

          Sod installation 1        Brittany's Hope garden care        Brittany's Hope HQ

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

James and I first heard of Brittany’s Hope after meeting the founders when they strolled through our display garden at a builders’ show more than 15 years ago. They were in the process of adding to their home to make room for their growing family and were looking for a landscape contractor to recreate and tend their estate gardens following the renovations. What began as a professional relationship has grown into a wonderful friendship. We soon discovered the family’s raison d’etre and have received happy announcements each time they have adopted a precious child into their family. At last count, this amazing family includes three birth children and 12 ‘special needs’ adopted children. It is their dream to share the joy of family with ‘special needs’ children from around the world. It is a dream that was inspired by their first adopted daughter, Brittany.

Brittany joined the family in 1989, an angry and aching 12 year-old; her father had abandoned the family and her mother was dying of cancer. Brittany’s mother wanted to choose the family where her daughter would grow up, and approached our friends with her request: Would they love and care for her daughter after she was gone? They agreed, and began the challenging process of loving Brittany into their family. Eventually, with the love and support of her new family, Brittany grew into a beautiful, confident, and caring young woman. Realizing the importance of stable homes for needy kids, she encouraged her new parents to consider more adoptions. Before long, their home resembled the United Nations, as children from Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Haiti, China, and the Ukraine were added to the family!

Motivated by her own experience with adoption, Brittany entered college and began to prepare for a career in social work. The Christmas of her senior year in college, Brittany sat down for a cup of tea with her mom. In a voice choked with tears, Brittany thanked her mother for believing in her. “What would have happened to me, Mom, if you and Dad had not opened your heart to me? Without your love, I could never be the woman I am becoming. Now I dream of a world where all children know the peace and love only a family can provide.” A few days later, on her way to work, Brittany’s car slid on a patch of ice and hit a tree. Tragically, Brittany’s life ended on that icy road, but her dream lives on in the Brittany’s Hope Foundation, an organization begun by her parents in her memory. In keeping with Brittany’s vision, this organization is dedicated to aiding in the adoption and care of ‘special needs’ children around the world.

For almost 15 years, it has been our privilege to be a part of the Brittany’s Hope support team. Recently, James and I attended a sponsor event where we learned, to our great joy, that since its beginning, Brittany’s Hope has helped to bring more than 900 children home to their forever families, including our two youngest! In recent years, the Brittany’s Hope Foundation has stepped up their efforts to reach out to even more children through their orphan care programs. These efforts are changing the lives of more than 1400 children each year through direct sponsorship and nutrition programs. Even more children are helped in the orphanages built and managed by Brittany’s Hope in Vietnam, Kenya, and Ethiopia. It is especially noteworthy that Brittany’s Hope is unique among charitable organizations in that 100% of every single donation goes directly to the care and support of orphans (since all overhead and administrative costs are financed by the founders). James and I are honored to partner with this worthy organization to plant seeds of hope in young hearts in many parts of the world.

**Please visit to learn more about this wonderful organization**

~Contributed by Betty Hanselman
Gardener’s wife (& grateful mother of two Brittany’s Hope kids!)


Kyoto Gosho - bridge 1   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Japanese courtyard garden 3 - Nobedan

From garden design and choice of materials to plant care techniques, Hanselman Landscape follows time-honored Japanese garden traditions. But with so many garden styles to choose from, what has led Hanselman Landscape to the Japanese for inspiration?

At the heart of Hanselman Landscape’s mission is the desire to learn from the best garden builders in the world. According to Doug Roth, publisher of a Japanese garden journal (Sukiya Living), every culture is highly successful in at least one area, and “the Japanese are very, very good at landscape gardening.” In fact, Japanese garden tradition has been under development for more than 1,000 years, and is far more refined than most people comprehend. As defined by Roth, Japanese gardens are high-quality living environments that reflect the beauty of the natural world and respond to basic human needs.

The careful thought, high-quality workmanship, and integration of nature’s beauty with daily life that characterize Japanese gardening culture also guide the vision and standards of Hanselman Landscape. For this reason, each company team member is continually trained in traditional Japanese gardening methods. This training is applied to every aspect of gardening, from design to maintenance. Regardless of the style of garden being developed, many Japanese garden techniques have universal application, resulting in high-quality, enduring gardens that delight and refresh.

Hanselman Landscape & Gardens of Manheim, Pennsylvania Receives Best Of Houzz 2016 Award

    Woodland path - stepping stones 2                A child-sized path to waterfall                Courtyard garden - Bryn Mawr 1                                               

Over 25 Million Monthly Unique Users Rated Top-Rated Home Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals in the United States and Around the World

MANHEIM, PA – Once again, Hanselman Landscape & Gardens of Manheim, PA has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Design by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design.

“Believing the world can be beautiful, we are dedicated to bringing the joy of natural beauty within the daily reach of our clients and their loved ones.”

—James and Betty Hanselman,

The family-owned garden design and development firm was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers.”

“Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Hanselman Landscape & Gardens among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

About Hanselman Landscape & Gardens

With unique solutions to complex challenges, Hanselman Landscape’s garden design experts will embrace your home with a custom-tailored, sustainable landscape design. Japanese gardens, swimming pool landscapes with refreshing waterfalls, and carefully-pruned specialty plants are just a few of the ways we can bring natural beauty into your daily experience.

About Houzz

From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin and Sydney. For more information, visit

Follow Hanselman Landscape & Gardens on Houzz

Pool Landscape Design pool 1

Pool Landscape Design

Imagine the ultimate retreat in your own backyard: A beautiful custom swimming pool perfectly paired with a peaceful, low-maintenance landscape. When you work with Hanselman Landscape to design and build your own swimming pool landscape, this dream can become a reality.

A great swimming pool garden flows naturally with the surrounding space to offer visual refreshment even when not in use.

Virtual, 3-D design concept
The Hanselman Landscape design process begins when you arrange a free consultation so we may better understand you, your dreams, and your goals. If you decide to partner with us as your designer and builder, we will work together to develop a vision and create a unique design for your pool and the surrounding landscape.

After seeking to understand your thoughts, we carefully survey your project site to understand how water flows and to record accurate dimensions that ensure the proposed changes will fit and function well.

Using computer-aided design (CAD), a scaled overhead view of the landscape is developed, communicating the initial design concepts on paper. The CAD drawing accurately depicts grading changes, plant placement, and an overview of how your landscape will change to incorporate your dreams.

The next step takes you on a virtual walkthrough of your future swimming pool landscape, using a specialized three-dimensional computer imaging program. With our 3-D design capabilities, you can clearly understand the proposed changes before any work is begun. This allows you to provide informed feedback and enjoy peace of mind from having a clear picture of what the final result of our work will be.

We craft structures that will last
At Hanselman Landscape, our work is a lasting reflection of who we are and what we believe. When we design and build a waterfall, fireplace, seating wall, or slide for your swimming pool landscape, we do so with lasting value and beauty in mind. For structural items, we recommend enduring surfaces and foundations. Our clients tell us how delighted they are to find that the living portions of their gardens genuinely improve over time. Rather than deteriorating due to poor planning and lack of care, with our touch, your pool landscape will improve with age as plants mature.

The Hanselman Landscape crew members are craftsmen who skillfully combine artistry and solid workmanship into the garden structures they build. Our crews include experts in boulder placement, construction, plumbing, and lighting who support our overall garden design and maintenance services. We build poolside structures that bring enduring enjoyment to our clients. From seating walls that maximize pool patio space to water slides nestled in naturally landscaped hills, each stone is thoughtfully placed so as to gracefully obscure “the hand of man.”

Another way to add elegance and enjoyment to your pool environment is through well positioned lighting. As daylight fades, lighting adds to the ambiance of your pool landscape while increasing safety by illuminating walkways and steps. We use high-quality, heavy-duty bronze fixtures and soldered wire connections for lighting installations, providing enduring value and long-term reliability.

Proper plant selection for year-round beauty
A pool garden can look beautiful year-round. In each season, carefully selected slow-growing trees and shrubs increase visual appeal from inside your home or beside the pool, while minimizing pool debris and adding lasting value to your pool landscape.

Project phasing: a longer-term solution
Choosing to divide a pool landscape project into phases is a common way of allowing high-quality, custom work to be completed at a pace you can afford. We will work with you to devise a master plan at the outset and can implement the design in phases to suit your budgetary needs.

Landscape Design Services in the Philadelphia Area

When you look at your home’s landscape, do you like what you see? Are you among the homeowners living in the Philadelphia Main Line suburbs whose garden does not live up to your dreams?

At Hanselman Landscape, we specialize in bringing renewed life to landscapes like yours, as we provide the service of landscape design in Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania, in addition to installation and ongoing garden-care services.

Your can have the garden you want—one that can be enjoyed for generations—often without having to start from scratch. We will work with you to take what your current landscape offers and turn it into a cohesive composition that is beautiful, orderly, and refreshing.

Our landscape improvement process
At Hanselman Landscape, our partnership with you begins by understanding your existing landscape and how it compares to the garden you imagine. We take the time to exchange ideas with you and seek joint inspiration as we plan landscape improvements that complement your home, your neighborhood, and your unique taste.

Often, the first and most important thing a landscape needs is ongoing maintenance from skilled gardeners. Although you may have lost hope that your garden can be restored, our expertise and experience in developing plants and landscapes may tell us otherwise. Under our stewardship, existing plants that may be unhealthy now can become beautiful again. With proper care, we can often rejuvenate failing plantings, incorporating them into a garden that will grow in health and beauty.

Landscape makeovers
In many cases, a landscape makeover is necessary because plants were improperly selected for your environment and site. Landscape improvements begin with diagnosing and resolving problems with your existing garden.

Because Hanselman Landscape’s expertise lies in the creation and nurturing of gardens for lasting health and beauty, you can be sure we will plan and plant thoughtfully, taking into account the climate, environmental conditions, insect, and deer issues, of the Philadelphia area. Your garden’s future health and success will guide every aspect of our design, plant selection, and installation process, helping you avoid major issues in the future. We will also recommend and provide expert care for your new or existing plants.

We’ve determined, over the years, a selection of valuable plants that deer won’t eat, and work well in the Philadelphia area— these plants can be among the most beautiful in any garden.

Our expertise in planning and proper ongoing garden maintenance will help avoid major issues with in the future.

The Hanselman Landscape staff continually receives training in proven Japanese pruning and care techniques. Learning from the best garden builders in the world has refined our approach to garden design and inspires us to produce gardens that delight our clients and respect the natural environment.

Other landscape improvement ideas:

  • Lighting— Thoughtful lighting placement evokes drama, elegance, and a unique ambiance in your garden as daylight wanes.
  • Water features— Crafted to fit naturally in the garden, a water feature can inspire tranquility and refreshment.
  • Garden care— Regular, expert pruning assures steady plant development and health as your garden evolves, allowing your investment to grow in beauty and value.
  • Drip irrigation— Save time, water, plants, and money (in the long run) by adding an irrigation system. These systems are convenient and can be customized to your schedule, water requirements, and soil conditions.

How To Hire A Garden Designer

Developing a garden can be a fun and rewarding process. Many people seek a professional to help them turn their garden dreams into reality. In this way, costly mistakes are avoided and the learning curve is shortened. Most importantly, since plants take time to grow to a pleasing maturity, starting right can save years of frustration.

At Hanselman Landscape, we have found that clients most enjoy the garden building process when they are fully engaged as partners. Here are several recommendations to consider when hiring a garden designer.

1. Develop your garden vision

Find a source of inspiration, think about your goals, and be ready to communicate them. At this point, it is more important to understand your hopes and motivations than to worry about the details or logistics.

You should also begin to develop a budget, so that you can have a realistic conversation about costs with your designer. Realize that a garden landscape is not a one-time expense, but rather an ongoing and rewarding investment. An experienced designer understands the importance of regular garden maintenance, and can discuss ongoing costs for the garden they propose. To stretch budgets, most people choose to develop their garden in phases.

2. Decide between “design-build” and “design-only” methods

“Design-build” firms integrate design, construction, and maintenance services. “Design-only” means an individual or company provides consultation and design, while the installation is done by another firm.

Consider the integrity and ability of the landscape designer, as well as the experience and skill of the installation company. A risk with “design-build” is that the designer might lower expectations in the design stage in order to “win the bid” and ensure feasibility when the time comes to build. A risk with “design-only” is that practicality might be a problem when the design is implemented by another contractor. This can lead to fingers pointing both ways, with alternate parties blaming failures on “poor design” or “poor installation.”

We typically work in a “design-build” capacity. Because our team stands behind the entire process, we can ensure a high level of quality for our clients.

3. Interview the prospective design partner

Stellar references are the hallmark of a trusted designer. In addition, ask to see examples of projects completed in the past. If you have time, in-person visits are best, but you can learn from a series of photos as well. Look specifically for gardens that have matured over the years. Are the plants maturing beautifully, showing good selection and careful tending? What is the condition of the hardscape surfaces, such as pavers, stones, and bricks? Consider it a red flag if you are only shown examples of newly-installed gardens or referred to only recent clients.

4. Evaluate the designer’s perspective

An experienced garden designer should be able to competently “listen” to the site. In other words, a good designer will thoughtfully and skillfully consider several parameters: the natural state and boundaries of the site, the norms of the surrounding community, the aesthetics of your home’s design, your preferences and dreams, and your budget.

Look to your designer to answer the following questions in a way that makes sense to you:

  • How will this landscape design look from inside the house (through a window vs. from the street)?
  • Will your garden be viewed as you “walk-through” or as a “picture” from one setting?
  • Will the structures and spaces be the right size and type for your needs?
  • How will rainwater move through the garden and keep your home dry?
  • What will this garden look like in 10 years or more? Will it keep its value and beauty?
  • How will the landscape appear in each season?
  • What are the costs involved and how can they be managed over time?