Set in Stone
Through expert landscape service, design and installation, Ambler Industries LLC helps homeowners maximize the enjoyment of their outdoor living spaces
by Michelle Garling

“Busy” is a way of life for many families these days. Although productivity is important, free time is more precious than ever. Few people understand this concept better than the team at Ambler Industries LLC, which works to maximize its clients’ time by offering top-of-the-line landscape service—lawn care, bed maintenance and snow removal—as well as the design and installation of beautiful landscapes that allow them to maximize the enjoyment of their property.

Owner Rob Ambler graduated from Temple University with a degree in marketing but quickly realized the corporate world was not where he wanted to be. Instead, he started a business that would let him be home with his family each evening. He started with mowing and mulching then grew to the construction of walkways, patios and fireplaces, as well as outdoor kitchens, to create complete outdoor living spaces.

Four years ago, Melissa Eckhoff, another Temple University alum, joined Ambler in the business. Like him, she too worked in the corporate world before realizing that it was not satisfying her love of landscape. Now, as the company’s designer and horticulturist, Eckhoff has become “a major asset,” Ambler says.

With lawn-care manager Andrew Forback, construction manager Josh Miller and landscape manager Oscar Salguero, Ambler Industries is a one-stop shop for all of its clients’ landscape needs. According to Ambler, his company’s success stems from “hiring the right people—ones who are loyal, knowledgeable and hardworking,” and who also keep up to date with what goings-on in the industry. For example, the company maintains an active off-season training program. Also, it has earned certification in pavers from the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, as well as significant hours of training in pesticide application.

Prospective clients are treated like family from the very first encounter. When prospective clients call in, for example, they are typically greeted by Eckhoff or even Ambler himself. Once the prospective client’s needs are ascertained, the client is put in direct contact with the appropriate in-house expert. “We want to be able to meet every client’s individual needs,” Eckhoff says. In keeping with this focused approach, budget is one of the first topics discussed. “We need to have a good idea of what they would like to spend,” Eckhoff explains. “We don’t want to give them a Cadillac when they are looking for a Ford.” From there, she says, the designers can “go anywhere with it.”

A typical design discussion may touch on features the client would like to include or descriptions of how they intend to use the space. Landscape photographs or other visual aids depicting client preferences are helpful as well, according to Eckhoff. From there she and Ambler consider the physical requirements of the design: square footage, grading, any zoning restrictions, etc. “With all that combined, we come up with ideas,” she says. “Then we come back and meet with the client, get their feedback, what they like and don’t like, and suggest ‘How about if we do this?’”

Notably, because its approach to the process is so direct, Ambler Industries typically does not charge for its design service. “Generally, if we are putting together a design, we know through the interview process, that [a client is] serious and that we are designing for their budget,” Eckhoff says. “Most times they will go through with it.” Once the client has decided to go forward with the project, the next step is to consider material selection, including stone or pavers from EP Henry or Techo-Bloc. Ambler Industries applies for any permits needed and, once approved, construction begins.

Ambler Industries’ diverse skill set includes the construction of patios, outdoor kitchens and fireplaces. “If you do it right,” Ambler says, “the landscape is like another room you can use for three seasons. A patio with sitting walls, lighting and a fire feature to warm it up can be used from March to December.” Fire pits, on the other hand, are a cost-effective way to create a cozy place for the kids to toast marshmallows, while a fireplace is a much larger structure that throws more heat in a controlled area. Both styles can be built as either wood burning or gas fueled. Other commonly requested features include overhead pergolas and outdoor kitchens with a grill, sink and refrigerator—in some cases, even storage drawers and a pizza oven. Ambler Industries works with product that allows for the features to be built using a customizable kit that can then be faced in natural or fabricated stone.  

Once the hardscape elements have been chosen, Eckhoff designs the landscape to complement it. “There are so many things to consider,” she says, and such considerations would include sun, shade, growth habitat and native wildlife. Her strong horticultural knowledge also allows her to quickly make adjustments based on a client’s preferences.

“Usually people know the basics, but there are so many varieties [of plant options] on the market that are better performers or smaller varieties,” she continues. “Most clients don’t have a green thumb,” she adds. “But they know our door is open; if they have any questions, we will come out to look at the problem and troubleshoot. They can call me anytime. I love talking about plant material and any questions they may have. I don’t tire of it.”  

This is just one example of why having one company that is proficient in all aspects of landscape and hardscape is a distinct advantage. “First of all, we get familiar with our customer and their property,” says Ambler. “We train our guys on how to spot problems, and they are there weekly to keep an eye on things; while mowing, they can look out for weeds in the beds.”

Weeding is often done bi-weekly, with annuals and containers installed three to four times a year, and beds cleaned and mulched in spring and fall. In addition to mowing, clients on a lawn program receive standard lawn treatment six times a year, as well as pesticide and additional fertilizer application, plus aeration and overseeding as needed. Ambler Industries also provides commercial and residential plowing services. “Relying on one company also avoids overlap in services,” Ambler says. “We take care of scheduling for that.”

Above all, Ambler Industries is “big on honesty and trust,” Ambler says. He explains that clients appreciate the convenience that comes from such as relationship. “They do not have to call another company they do not trust for each service.” With just one call to Ambler Industries, homeowners can not only spend more time enjoying their yard but also enhance their property so there is a more breathtaking and pristinely kept yard to enjoy.

Ambler Industries LLC
760 Edison Furlong Road
Furlong, PA 18925

Photograph by Rob Hall