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Brothers Scordo landscape gardens in Queens

Richard and Michael Scordo turned an after- school and summer job into a...

By Adam Kramer

For many teens cutting neighborhood lawns is the best way to make some extra spending money for CDs, video games and nights out, but for the Scordo brothers it became their lives.

Richard and Michael Scordo turned an after- school and summer job into a career. They are the owners of the Hillside Garden Center on Hillside Avenue between 257th and 258th streets in Glen Oaks.

“We took the place over in May, but we have been doing landscaping since we were teenagers — around 18 years,” said Richard Scordo. “We started cutting the lawns of the people on our paper route.”

After high school in New Hyde Park, L.I., where they grew up, both headed off to the State University of New York at Farmingdale to study horticulture and landscape design.

In 1980 while in college, the brothers founded the Eagle Lawn Service Company. Scordo said he and his brother named their company after the Eagle Scouts, which they belonged to as adolescents.

Scordo said the new store in Glen Oaks, located in what looks like a small ranch house surrounded by baby fruit trees, huge bags of sod, wood chips and more than 25 garden gnomes and statues, was the next step for their business.

Inside the shop they sell everything that a person needs to build a successful garden. There are seeds, shovels, flower pots, fertilizers, plant foods and a wide array of fountains.

“We are a full-service landscape, design and flower shop,” he said. “We have about 600 accounts in the New Hyde Park, Glen Oaks and Floral Park area along with some big exclusive homes in Brookville, L.I.”

During the busy season, which runs from the beginning of March to the end of December, the store is open seven days a week and has about 18 workers on staff.

Scordo said the store has been a real boost to their business because it allows them to show prospective clients the bushes, plants and trees they think will best suit a specific home. Before they only had pictures off their work and now they can show clients a miniature layout of their plans.

He said the biggest mistake a person can make when designing a garden is to overplant it. He said plants, trees and flowers are living entities and need room to grow and flourish.

“Sometimes smaller properties are more difficult to design,” he said. “Plants need space to grow and thrive, and you need to leave enough space so people can use their yards.”

The price of having a yard landscaped varies depending on the number of plants, variety of plants and size of the area, he said.

“You can do anything depending on your budget,” Scordo said. “The smaller plants cost $10.99 and the larger ones can cost up to $500. When you want to do landscaping work within a budget, you can still have a successful and nice job.”

He said after his company landscapes a yard, it works closely with the home owners and educate them about the after-care.

According to Scordo, some of the most popular flowers are the rhododendron and azaleas as well as evergreen privacy hedges.

“Another big seller are the fountains,” he said. “Fountains are becoming so popular that Disney is even getting in on it. They have designed fountains with Winnie the Pooh and Piglet as well as Mickey and Minny Mouse.”

In addition to landscaping, the shop also puts together flower arrangements and will decorate events such as weddings, sweet-sixteen’s and funerals.

“This is what we love to do and we just made a career out of it,” Richard Scordo said.

For more information on landscaping or the Hillside Garden Center call the brothers at 347-4404.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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