CCBR Business Review

4 Boos t your Goog l e ranking wi th Oddfish Medi a Contact us : info@oddfishmedi a . com. au GET A FREE SEO AUDIT CO V E R S T O R Y Colin and Lisette Marchant – Costata Landscape Design WHEN COLIN MARCHANT purchased a small lawn mowing run on the Central Coast in 1990 as an entry into landscaping, he didn’t imagine the business would evolve into the nationally recognised design and construction enterprise it is today. Costata Landscape Design, named after Col’s favour- ite tree, the Sydney Red Gum (Angophora Costata), celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in September. From humble beginnings, Col and his wife and co-managing partner, Lisette, have earned an enviable reputation built on trust, transparency, quality and clear communication from concept to comple- tion. In the process, they transformed a lawn mowing run into an established landscaping, building design and management business. They have also been awarded three times nationally, are currently finalists for another national award and continue to grow strong- er year by year. With a business structure and philosophy that is quite unique from most other landscaping businesses, Col and Lisette discovered a symbiotic ‘sweet spot’ that not only works effectively for them, but also for their clients and the team of contrac- tors that supports them. Col’s landscaping journey began in the 1980s when he and Lisette spent a year liv- ing and working on a large country estate in Scotland. On their return to Sydney’s northern beaches, Col was offered a position with a local landscaper and spent the next three years maintaining commercial and high-end residential gardens. Realising he lacked the landscaping skills to fulfil his ambition of starting his own business, Col completed an Right from the start, Col’s professional- ism, punctuality and communication skills stood him apart. He was also a supreme perfectionist with very strong work ethics. However, he was very conscious of the con- struction skills he lacked as a horticulturalist to install a project. “I had been in business for ten years and I remember shedding tears of frustration because I just didn’t seem to be making significant progress in establishing the business in its own right,” said Col. He came to the conclusion that his strengths and passion were in landscape design and client liaison. He just needed to find the best way to outsource the construction and build up the confidence and courage to charge appropriately and separately for his design and project management expertise because nobody else was doing that at the time. “The real turning point came when I did a job in Pearl Beach that was so breathtaking it featured on our website for twenty-five years. It was then that I realised, I’m better than this. So, I started humbly charging a management fee and then eventually began charging separately for my design, slowly raising that fee over the years as my confi- dence grew.” Col also realised that his target market was clients who saw the value in his meticulous twelve-step design process and concept to completion philosophy. In 2016, Lisette left her employment in Sydney and came on board in a full-time capacity after adding a building design qualification to her credentials. Since then she has applied her skills to projects that require built elements and construction experience, Advanced Certificate in Urban Horticulture while continuing to work full time. Two years into his tertiary studies, the couple purchased a small lawn mowing run on the Central Coast where they decided to settle and raise a family. “That tiny run was a means to an end. It allowed me to earn a weekly wage and work my way into being a landscaper,”said Col. He decided to concentrate on commercial and acreage maintenance and, in so doing, established contacts in local property circles. “That was my first entrepreneurial decision because one of those clients engaged me to do the largest landscaping job I’d ever done and then proceeded to recommend me to at least half a dozen movers and shakers on the Central Coast, and it all went from there,”said Col. Lisette, a successful commercial interior designer and project manager, was handling the administrative duties after hours while commuting to Sydney for work by day. “It was a typical husband and wife small business working team,”said Lisette, whose thirty-five years’experience in the construction and civil engineering sectors would serve the business well in the future. By Phaedra Pym “That was my first entrepreneurial decision because one of those clients engaged me to do the largest landscaping job I’d ever done and then proceeded to recommend me to at least half a dozen movers and shakers on the Central Coast, and it all went from there.” CENTRAL COAST BUSINESS REVIEW OCTOBER 2020

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