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Perry Brätt, Founder at Stratton and Brätt talks about Water Conservation

aired on Park City TV

Perry Brätt is a founder of Stratton and Brätt—the largest, longest serving privately owned landscaping family in Utah. For more than five decades, the Stratton and Brätt brothers have been creating beautiful landscapes to spec and on budget. Under Perry’s leadership, the company has completed a myriad of high-profile projects, including several major projects in Utah such as the Red Butte Gardens, Thanksgiving Point and religious edifices in Mexico and Haiti. Brätt holds a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a general contractor and engineer license. He also serves as the president of the board for the Child’s Hope Foundation—a non-profit organization dedicated to “Lifting Orphans from Surviving to Thriving.”

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Healthy Soil is the foundation of a stunning landscape: Here’s how to keep it that way.

by Perry Brätt for TotalLandscapeCare.com

World Soil Day, December 5, was established by the United Nations in 2013, as a way to recognize the importance of fertile soil on a global scale. When everyone does their part, global soil can be healthy and thrive, supporting not just food production and livestock, but gorgeous and sustainable landscape projects.

Millions of microorganisms live in soil, and they provide the nutrients that plants need, become healing medicines, and keep the environment healthy. Modern clients are looking for sustainable options that make a great impact on the world. It may surprise many of them to learn that developers and large commercial properties have the potential to help mitigate climate change, prevent droughts and improve air quality—all from maintaining healthy dirt in the many acres they control.

Whether it’s a xeriscape project or a luxury plaza, landscape design has to start from the bottom: with a healthy foundation of soil. The type and quality of the soil in any given project determines the success or failure of structures, sod, sustainability and plant growth. Healthy soil also promotes proper drainage, reduces corrosion and supports stable paths and walls.

With so much relying on proper soil, what can landscapers do to ensure that a project has the right base to begin? Here are five tips for maintaining strong soil in any outdoor space.

Plan ahead

Once a landscape is completed, it can be difficult to change up the soil texture and content, so it’s vital to start off on the right foot. Soil tests should always be performed in the planning stages of a project so that adjustments can be made. Testing helps identify the issues that may cause problems later. For instance, sandy soils don’t trap enough water and erode easily, while silty soils can cause rotting and even floods. Knowing ahead of time makes it possible to address any concerns with the soil and create a healthy base to start from.

Provide cover

Open spaces may help with water conservation and taking in the view, but leaving large areas bare in a landscape leads to serious soil erosion. Erosion isn’t just a problem for farmers. When too much soil is blown or washed away, what’s left isn’t conducive to attractive landscaping. All soil areas of a commercial or residential project should be covered—if turf isn’t an option, mulch, boulders and creeping ground covers all help to keep soil intact.

Compost

It’s a basic rule, but something that many commercial landscapers overlook. Organic matter is one of the best ways to keep soil healthy. Once it has been through the composting process, living material provides vital benefits to every kind of soil. Among some of its advantages, compost helps soil retain water, absorb nutrients, deter pests and balance pH. It can also be used as mulch when ground cover is needed.

Young green plant in soil

Design with soil in mind

Different plants thrive in different soil conditions. The flipside of that statement is also true. Different soils thrive with different types of planting. Plants that are native to the local environment tend to be a great benchmark for what will keep the soil healthy. Native plants grow quickly and establish strong root systems, both anchoring and aerating soil. And plants that already grow well in the locale of a project require less fertilizer, so fewer foreign chemicals get added to the soil.

Smart maintenance 

Healthy soil requires more than just proper preparation and planning. Clients should be aware that consistent maintenance is a key part of keeping a healthy greenspace. Pulling weeds by hand instead of using chemicals or machinery helps keep soil in place and filled with nutrients. Diseased plants should be removed as quickly as possible to avoid spreading to the soil itself. And plants should be rotated often, so the soil doesn’t get overtaxed or stagnant.

Soil seems like such a small thing, but it creates a huge impact on individual projects and an even bigger impact on the world at large. There are more than 40 million square miles of soil in the world, and it takes thousands of years for fertile soil to renew.

Smart soil care is every bit as important as the wise use of every other resource on the planet. Following these simple tips in the way landscapes are thought about can go a long way to producing beautiful projects with beautiful, healthy soil underneath.


Perry Brätt is a founder of Stratton and Brätt—the largest, longest serving privately owned landscaping family in Utah. For more than five decades, the Stratton and Brätt brothers have been creating beautiful landscapes to spec and on budget. Under Perry’s leadership, the company has completed a myriad of high-profile projects, including several major projects in Utah such as the Red Butte Gardens, Thanksgiving Point and religious edifices in Mexico and Haiti. Brätt holds a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a general contractor and engineer license. He also serves as the president of the board for the Child’s Hope Foundation—a non-profit organization dedicated to “Lifting Orphans from Surviving to Thriving.”


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Lasting Memories Start in Utah’s Own Backyards

by Zack Stratton, CEO, Stratton and Brätt

Your Endless Backyard Vacation Awaits

Spring was spent doing online school, summer was full of canceled vacations and family gatherings, and the fall season brought distanced Trick-or-Treating and empty football stadiums.

The pandemic presents an opportunity for us to focus on our families and the sanctuary that a home can be. A landscape that is both stunning and practical gives homeowners the chance to create a little slice of paradise among the chaos.

Our family firm, Stratton and Brätt, is the largest and longest serving privately owned landscaping company in the region, specializing in bringing landscapes to life. Our work includes the masterful scenery at several LDS temples around the world, stunning artscapes at Thanksgiving Point, the grounds for the new Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy, and many high-end residential homes along the Wasatch Front.

After the pandemic hit, all of us found out there were little options to family recreational activities; you can only hike your favorite trail only so many times. Aaron Brinkerhoff, our residential landscape manager at Stratton and Brätt, found his job incredibly busy.

Trampolines weren’t the only things sold out. “When families found out this last summer that they couldn’t rely on public pools for fun, we had a huge increase in pool installation requests,” he said. “And really, why not? With a pool or pickleball court in your own backyard, you can swim and play safely anytime of the year, avoid crowded courts and rec centers, and create those memories with your children or grandchildren.”

A backyard pool or splash pad can do just that. Families interested in installing a stunning aquatic feature should consider a few key things before signing a contract. Safety, quality and maintenance are important factors to research. Here’s the gist:

Safety

When most people think of a backyard pool, they picture a gorgeous oasis with laughing groups of family or friends. Or maybe a peaceful setting where they can relax with their favorite drink. Or both. A pool can definitely be those things, but it also needs to be safe. Every pool built in Utah must be fenced-in, either within the entire yard or just the pool itself. As an added layer of security where children and pets are involved, most customers opt for a sturdy cover. An alarm system is another great way to keep everyone safe and out of the pool without supervision.

Quality

A pool is a big investment, so it needs to be beautiful, functional, and long-lasting. No one wants to regret a lifechanging purchase like that. Look beyond just the initial price tag because reliable filtration systems, superior materials and installation practices are worth it in the long run. Unique features like a cleaning robot, a mobile app for heating and lighting control, a hot tub, a waterslide, fountains and even fire pits, make the pool owning experience practical and enjoyable for everyone.

Maintenance

Aquatic maintenance may sound overwhelming, but once a system is in place it really doesn’t have to be. Depending on budget and interest, there are several approaches to keeping a pool pristine and pleasant to swim in.

“Our pools come with several months of maintenance built in to the contract to help get you going, and that can be extended indefinitely to make it really simple for the owners,” Brinkerhoff says. Alternatively, do-it-yourself solutions are possible, although they take another precious resource: time. If neither of those plans is the right fit, Brinkerhoff says, “You can always install automation and a robot that will do a lot of that work for you!”

With features like full pool automation, controlled lighting for ambience, a splash deck for younger children or for lounging, and jetted options, your Stratton and Brätt pool is the envy of the neighborhood. Our company can even help design environmentally-friendly options that use salt water and clean energy to reduce the impact of the pool on the planet.

If you’re dreaming of swimming in your own backyard pool next summer, you’ll want to jump in now. Because of the high demand, pool installations are a few months out. Imagine your family’s smiles, on Christmas morning, when they see how much better summer 2021 is going to be, with their own endless swimming vacation.



Ready for your Endless Summer Vacation? Contact us and let’s get started!

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Sowing interest in landscaping careers

by Ryne Williams for Daily Herald.com

Excerpt:

The largest family-owned landscape company in the state of Utah is having a problem finding workers.

Normally during the summer, the company brings in legal immigrant workers from Mexico to help with its projects.

This is done under a program provided through the United States government. It is utilized as a way to supplement the current workforce locally, but the pandemic and current restrictions have taken that option away.

When asked about why the company brings in foreign workers each year, Stratton and Bratt general counsel and attorney Keven Stratton Jr. said that the company does it out of necessity rather than strategy.

“We have always been concerned with growing local jobs and keeping local jobs,” Stratton said. “The only reason we have used that program is because we have not been able to find willing and able workers here within the state of Utah.”

The company has worked on some temple projects for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Haiti, Tijuana, Mexico, and some in Utah while also doing more commercial and even residential projects. Splash pads, parks and other open spaces have all been built by the company.

Stratton characterized the problem surrounding local workers as one of the company’s biggest challenges and opportunities.

“We have been nourished and nurtured by this valley, by this community and our goal is to give back to that community,” Stratton said. “Our starting wage for our entry-level position is more than double minimum wage. It’s not that we are trying to lowball anybody, we want to hire people, give them a good living wage and a place that they can work and grow. Our success is the community’s success, and to be not able to fill that need is beyond frustrating.”

As for possible next steps to generate interest in the landscaping industry, Stratton and Bratt has been working with local universities to build programs to fit the needs of recent graduates. Attempting to show the need for workers in landscaping while also showing the possibilities.

The goal is to open people’s eyes to the growth opportunities available right in their own backyard, possibly literally and figuratively.



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