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  • Patrick Hughes

Coming Home

Updated: Mar 18


What’s the saying, “life is a circle, or maybe “to come full circle,” others might say “the circle of life?” However you want to phrase it, I find myself in one of these circular situations. And I am excited for the opportunity.


I will be re-opening my landscape/design business, Wheel & Barrow Landscape here in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.


To come full circle would not be an exaggeration. In 1999 at the age of twenty-four I started Wheel & Barrow Landscape in my hometown of Plymouth, Wisconsin and operated it through 2002. Following the 2002 garden season I came to the conclusion that I had mountains to climb, places to go and things to learn. I departed on a journey that took me to Montana, Wyoming, Washington, D.C., Beijing, China and ultimately settling down in Portland, Oregon.

I lived in Portland for thirteen years. During that time I met my wife, Erin. She is a very talented hydro-geologist, who is largely the driver behind my return and her new adventure in Wisconsin. An opportunity for professional growth opened up for her with a firm in De Pere in the spring of 2019. Although we were not expecting to leave a city we both had put down root, we trusted that it was the right move to make.


Elkhart Lake has long been a place I would like to live. So when an A-Frame cabin became available on the outskirts of the village in the fall of 2019 Erin and I jumped on the opportunity. We were looking for a unique home and Erin wanted to have lots of trees on the property. This property checked all the boxes. The proximity to Elkhart Lake was the cherry on top.


Erin and I refer to this addition of Wheel & Barrow Landscape as 3.0. I operated Wheel & Barrow Landscape version 2.0 in Portland from 2013 – 2019. Portland is a wonderful place to work as a landscape designer and gardener. The long growing season, mild winters, sunny summers, and of course ample rain make it a gardening paradise. Not to mention the creative spark that is baked in to the core of the city.


Portland is where I dedicated the time to refine my craft as a landscape designer. I found my creative groove. Working with plant material, specifically perennials and ornamental grass has long been the foundation of who I am as a designer. In Portland I cultivated my ability to bring color, motion, and seasonal interest to the landscape. I learned to use the landscape as a canvas and make an impression and a statement.


Part of what I credit my success in Portland to is my Wisconsin and Sheboygan County upbringing. I attribute my strong work ethic to where I grew up and the people I grew up around. The same can be said for my ability to service the customer. For good customer service is a continuing theme in my client reviews. A bi-product of growing up in Wisconsin is to know how to treat people. Like Charlie Berens puts it, “Midwest Nice.”


It’s very exciting to come full circle with Wheel & Barrow Landscape. With each of these versions I have the opportunity to update the operating system and build off the one prior. I am very much looking forward to sharing 3.0 with clients in Elkhart Lake, Kohler and throughout Sheboygan County. We’ll make this the best blooming version yet!

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Wheel and Barrow Landscaping Portland Oregon
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