Tim and Dala Ryan accidentally came across and brought their passion project to life in the process of planning their wedding. Tim and Dala worked through hand cuts and the many, many blisters to hand dig and recover 170 mature species of trees and plants to prepare for the design they wanted for their wedding reception, across two separate private property venues. They wanted a tropical oasis and with hard work, no investment in machinery just a shovel, a crowbar and a small crane on the back of a Land Cruiser ute they managed to successfully bring their vision to life. Tim started his landscaping construction business off the back of receiving a phone call from someone wanting him to do a job – red brick pavers! Fast forward 20 years later, a successful red brick paving job and Tim and Dala along with their two little ones in tow are finding that while having a small business can throw you in every direction, running Treecovery has allowed them to have a new lifestyle balance that they feel most young families crave and yearn for.
In your own words, because this one isn’t as obvious, what is Treecovery?
Treecovery, in a tongue-in-cheek nutshell – “Savings trees. Keeping bees”.
Treecovery represents the mindful act of botanical rescue, transplant and recovery of mature species of trees and plants that are otherwise destined for demolition. We provide a service that requires the safe and professional transplanting of a tree or a plant to a new location.
Tell us the story – your story, of how you came to be in business running your own landscaping business + how long have you been up + running for?
We’ve been running Tim’s Creative Landscapes for over 20 years and it was because of our experience in landscape construction and our love for horticulture that lead to the inception of Treecovery.
It was the year that we got engaged that we started digging out and transplanting trees, back in 2016. Giving ourselves 12 months to plan and create our own tropical wedding reception venue, on two separate privately owned properties – one for the ceremony and one for the reception. We hand dug and recovered 17o mature species that year alone. Each species was a rescue, destined for demolition and/or the tip! We had no investment in machinery at the point, just a shovel, a crowbar, a small crane on the back of a Land Cruiser ute which at the time we had been utilising for landscaping work for a few years already and a lot of hand cuts and blisters!
We married later that year, in December of 2017. In 2018, freshly married for two months, starting to come down from the high of the wedding celebrations when we were reflecting on the year we has just had in our tree rescuing adventures and realised our abilities and our new passion. What we had learnt over the previous 12 months of tree transplanting brought about opportunity after opportunity with one after another project lining up, it turned into so much more than a ‘love project’ for our property. It felt like a natural transition led by landscape construction knowledge and a passion for horticulture.
We like to say that we provide a ‘tree removal option – without the chainsaw’. The service we provide is opposite to say a tree lopping service as we aim to save them and transplant them to give them a new home as opposed to cutting down or demolishing and taken to the tip.
Everybody has something they love, what do you love about your job?
It use to be working together… and then two babies came along!
Time no longer permits the same amount of onsite work side by side to dig out trees together but we do love the fact that we are still running an actively busy business together in new ways.
Our business grew from a project and a goal that we were working on together (for our wedding) so we love the organic pivot we have been able to establish to run it as a business. We joke to our friends and family about how to test the quality of relationships, some couples may try camping, some try an overseas trip, or some test their relationship with a ute’s worth of Ikea flat packs. Our version was moving huge mature trees and plants which 100% cemented our ability to work with each other and the addiction to the challenge when many would doubt us or we were told the removal of a tree is stupidly impossible. We’re yet to be proven wrong to date.
What we really love is the instant satisfaction of moving an 80-year-old tree, 10 tonnes in weight, averaging 10-12 metres tall – there’s nothing like turning heads in traffic when commuters see what looks like a flying palm tree travelling along the highway. It’s definitely not a sight you see every day.
What was your “lightbulb moment”? The moment you realised that Tim’s Creative Landscapes was going to be your footprint on the world?
When the phone rang for my first landscaping construction job on my own at 19 years old – a red brick paving job! After one and a half years of working for a landscaping crew and doing weekend work of my own, I took the red brick paving job and enjoyed it so much that I realised I wanted to be in control of my own jobs and my own style, clients getting excited about my ideas and have respect for my creativity. And so the inception of Tim’s Creative Landscaping was born.
When you get your first few pay packets and realise the opportunity of being in control of your own career and salary, the freedoms involved as well as the challenges of the responsibility of running your own show, it was exciting as a young man.
There’s a lot of competition out there for the industry that your business is in, what sets YOU apart from the next business that offers both landscaping design + construction across Geelong, the Surfcoast + the Bellarine?
Sustaining a business for 20 years, we’ve found our market in landscape construction purely via word of mouth and referrals. In those 20 years of business landscaping, we’ve never chosen to advertise but also never found ourselves short of projects.
We believe that your reputation will always precede you so long as you practice a genuine nature, transparency and honesty with your clients and your customers. We’re proud of our work ethic and drive in the way we run out business and will continue to do so over the years to come.
What do you consider a good day at work for you?
One that consists of productivity, physically seeing the job moving forward and on schedule and setting a handful of goals and meeting them. Being able to stop and see a tree at the back of a truck – whether that be after a successful dig out or on its way to its new transplant site/garden. When we can make things happen that others weren’t sure would be possible or not even worth the time, money or energy it takes to rescue trees, if we can educate them and turn unbelievable into real life, this is a good day at work for us.
What do you find is the main reason that keeps you getting up every morning, putting on your work boots + heading out to new projects?
Running Treecovery has allowed us to have a new lifestyle balance, which we believe most young families crave and yearn for and this is especially important to us, as parents of two little ones.
Work was just work once upon a time, but now it’s family and setting up our family’s future just as it would be for many other families out there. We love having an outdoor work setting – rain, hail, and shine including the winter chill and the scorching summer heat equally.
Tell the secret, your secret… What are some of the little joys that you bring to those that have entrusted you with their homes + bringing their landscaping to life?
Delivering on expectations! From a blank canvas to what clients ask for and creating that for them is a little joy as you drive away from a completed job and knowing you have delivered a space you know they will be enjoying with their friends and family for years to come. We love that we can provide new ideas to clients that they had never thought of and surprise them with creative possibilities. There is excitement and surprise when a tree gets lifted out. Our clients are either surprised it was possible, impressed or just in complete shock and are always left wondering why they hadn’t done it earlier. When you have a whole street lined with onlookers it is always a little joy, sometimes stressful but equally as exciting.
If we were to spend a day in your shoes, what would that look like?
Busy! We’re talking lots of driving around, always on the phone, a brain that never stops and is full of different mental lists as well as trying to be in five different places at any given moment. It’s the same for every small business owner out there – we can guarantee it!
Every business needs an adviser… who do you turn to for help and with so many accountants Geelong has on offer, why Canny Group?
A referral is a huge one for us. When you come fully recommended and referred, it’s always a good thing. We had a landscaping client keep an eye out for us who was also a client of Canny Group’s and referred us to Krystine Canny-Smith at a time we needed it the most and we’ve chosen to stick with Canny Group ever since.
How do we get in touch + find out more about the amazing work you’re doing?
Tim’s Creative Landscapes