Coming Up Roses
Homeowners flock to Main Line Gardens for guidance in bringing out the beauty of their properties
by Theodora Malison

With spring in full bloom, homeowners throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area have begun thinking about outdoor projects to revitalize their properties. Many of those same homeowners are planning their next pilgrimage to Main Line Gardens, a family-owned garden center and design studio that has been beautifying residential and commercial landscapes for more than 30 years.

Today, Main Line Gardens offers a full range of services, from large-scale to small-scale landscaping and hardscaping renovations, with several additional services provided. The Malvern-based company has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Jody Camp, president of Main Line Gardens, was an ambitious 19-year-old with nothing more than a pickup truck and a lawnmower when he founded the business.

“At 21, my grandmother helped by giving me the mortgage for our first building on Coffman Avenue [in Malvern],” he says. “I lived at home with my parents so that all the money I saved went towards purchasing equipment for the business. In 2008, my brother, Kevin, and I had the opportunity to expand even more by purchasing Main Line Gardens from the Harding family.”

The expansion essentially helped the Camps mold the business into what it is today: a sprawling garden center where customers can select from a wide variety of trees and shrubs, annuals and perennials, as well as fertilizer, mulch, topsoil and stone, to suit any gardening or outdoor project. The diverse business also offers landscape and hardscape design, with services ranging from custom plantings of seasonal favorites to patio hardscapes, walkways and retaining walls.

“When we expanded, we renovated the store and property to create an easier shopping experience and offer services to help every kind of customer, including people who prefer a DIY approach,” says Jody. “We provide house calls and consultations, as well as landscape design services and suggestions.”

Frequently requested projects include everything from redesigning front entrances, building patios, refurbishing perennial beds, as well as creating landscape screenings to conceal unappealing views. “When somebody buys a house where the previous owner let the yard go, we come in and redo the yard to give it that fresh-new look,” Jody adds. “Sometimes, we can salvage existing plants by properly caring for them and pruning them the correct way. We get a lot of people that say, ‘We drive up to the front of our house and don’t like what we see anymore.’ We can either fix up certain sections or completely redesign areas. People don’t always keep up with their gardens, so it’s our job to bring them back to life.”

A new design studio enables Main Line Gardens to help clients by creating initial digitalized drafts of their expected final project. Through a software suite known as LandscapePro, Main Line Gardens uses before-and-after images to help a client visualize a particular project. This evolution marks a significant upgrade to traditional sketches.

“If customers choose to go the DIY route, we have plenty of knowledgeable staff to help,” adds co-owner Kevin Camp. “Our goal is to provide fresh, new looks for customers and improve their properties.”

As for the highly popular garden center, the inventory changes with the seasons, providing homeowners with an extensive selection of plant material throughout the year. In addition to vegetation of every sort, the garden center features a “Garden Farmacy” stocked with grass seed and fertilizers, as well as disease- and insect-control products. 

“We are the equivalent of a grocery store, simply a one-stop shop for gardening,” Jody says. “Whether you live in a house, condo, apartment, or retirement community, we have the necessities for flower boxes, smaller plants, birdfeeders, birdhouses and much more. We have a huge variety of supply for all needs of a home.”

With warmer weather now within reach, the Camps note that colorful annuals, such as begonias and petunias, will soon become the main focal point for vibrant summer gardens. Other favorites include Creeping Phlox, which adds hues of pink, purple and white in a giant carpet of color; Salvia, because of its ability to bloom in late spring through summer and again in the fall; and Jacob’s Ladder, a drought-tolerant plant that thrives in shade and is resistant to deer, according to Tom Falcone, one of the landscape designers at Main Line Gardens.

“We’re very excited to get this season rolling,” he says. “We have a great team and we’re ready. Most of our customers tend to think long term. We design so that our customers will achieve a full-season presentation by strategically placing species of plants with different bloom periods throughout a garden. If you plan ahead, you’ll have interest all year long.”

It’s this wellspring of knowledge and expertise that has helped establish Main Line Gardens as a destination for all seasons.

“Recently, we visited a client for a design consultation, and I asked how she heard of us,” Jody recalls. “She shared with me that she was referred to us by another customer of ours that we had just completed the design process with and is awaiting installation. That customer was so happy with the initial consultation and design process that she felt we were the right team for the job.”

Main Line Gardens boasts a large gift shop containing garden and outdoor accents such as wind chimes, statuaries and fountains. Additionally, the gift shop offers women’s accessories such as hats and scarves. Thanks to the 2014 acquisition of the Exton-based Waterloo Gardens brand, Main Line Gardens’ gift shop now offers outdoor furniture. In other words, the business is the perfect choice for anyone’s list of must-have items for seasonal needs, or for special gift-giving occasions such as bridal showers and birthdays.

“We want to establish and maintain long-term relationships with our customers,” Jody adds. “What truly sets us apart from others is our extensive and diverse selection of plant material and our friendly and knowledgeable staff. We’re passionate about gardening; customer service and satisfaction are our main priorities. Our end goal is always to make sure the customer is happy.”

Main Line Gardens
376 Paoli Pike
Malvern, PA 19355

Photograph by Jody Robinson