Classic Lawn & Tree was incorporated in 2014 with the aim of setting a very high standard for landscape design and installation in the greater East TN region. With an initial focus on Blount and Western Knox counties our founder, Joe Vernetti, quickly realized that specialized services such as aeration and over-seeding, as well as weed control, in this area were too expensive and often not performed to any sort of acceptable standard by certain national companies whose standardized practices were not tailored to our climate. One of Joe’s favorite sayings, that he often repeats, came from his advisor in under-grad school: “the only value in a Liberal Arts Education is that it comes with a built in Bull **** Detector”. This phrase aptly applied to what was available to Joe’s clients at that time for these services.
A little background: Joe grew up on a cattle ranch in Colorado that produced its own feed, grew cash crops of fruits, grains and vegetables and had its own dairy for steady cash flow (grandpa Vernetti broke a lot of norms, and turned a lot of heads, with some of his business decisions during the depression – like using his best land for questionable cash crops and then driving to Wisconsin to buy and haul hay for his cattle – but his risk taking and ingenuity have stuck with later generations). The demands of the ranch/farm life exposed Joe to many types of skill sets from cutting trees for lumber and firewood to establishing new fields for nutrient rich pasture land.
While still serving in the Army in Washington, D.C. Joe founded his first company by purchasing 43 acres of forested hillside in West Virginia to harvest its wood for both commercial use and to sell as firewood in the greater D.C. area. This then lead to the purchase of a single axle dump truck, a tri-axle dump truck and several pieces earth moving equipment that morphed into an excavating focused company for new residential homes while Joe attended undergrad and graduate schools in Maryland. That business then morphed into a much larger corporation in Central Pennsylvania that required subcontractors to stabilize soil, establish lawns (using various practices from seed and straw to sod as well as large scale hydro-seeding) and then to install landscaping once the sites were built out. Upon retiring to East TN in 2004, Joe dabbled in landscape design and installation part time for several new found friends who happened to also be commercial and residential developers. Out of this hobby, Classic Lawn and Tree was born.
Though originally founded to do complete landscape design and installation – with the goal of retaining those clients for lawn and landscape maintenance – Joe added the tree removal division to the corporation in order to keep our crews paid in the late fall and winter months. Though focused solely on the landscape installation of a new home or business, Joe soon began to realize that the area needed a local company that specialized in establishing, and nurturing, new lawns as a counter to the national companies that his clients were forced to use (often resulting in poor or inconsistent quality coupled with higher than needed prices).
During this transition period, Classic Lawn & Tree fielded numerous request from new home owners and businesses to hydro-seed their new lawns as an alternative to either much more expensive sod or weed-filled straw. After a few years of not being able to find a local contractor to refer his clients to for hydroseeding, Joe began in earnest to travel and research not only the equipment needed for hydroseeding but also the best practices to establish both cold weather (fescue) and warm weather (Bermuda) grasses in our unique climate zone. This research and experimentation (on several ¼ acres patches on his land over the course of a few years) finally convinced Joe to narrow the company’s focus to just these areas: establishing new lawns from bare dirt; rehabilitating existing / neglected lawns; educating clients to care for their new lawns; and, tree removal (we really like the feeling of accomplishment that comes from removing a fallen, dead or unwanted tree).
To accomplish these goals Classic Lawn & Tree – as a licensed TN corporation – continuously maintains new and efficient equipment and carries no less than $2,000,000.00 in liability insurance for each division (very important for the tree removal to have insurance specific to this task). We belong to several national and international associations, such as The International Association of Hydroseeding Professionals, so that our staff can take advantage of their continuing education programs. We have also taken great pains to establish ourselves with local and national suppliers in order to purchase materials in bulk so that we can continue to keep our client’s cost as low as possible whether it be for hydroseeding, aerating, over-seeding, erosion or weed control.
That being said, please don’t be surprised if we, in the future, recognize an new need in our community and then jump head first to try and be not only the first to, but the best to, fulfill that need. Update at eleven.