A Home-Grown Family Business Since 1948
0Years in business
0Varieties of plants
We have a rich history in the Great Lakes Bay Region. We started in 1948, when Richard “Dick” Somalski returned home from Michigan State University, where he studied forestry. He started a small company called Bay Lawn Service, installing lawns and planting shrubs and trees for residential and commercial properties throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region.
Dick met and wed Marilyn, the love of his life, and she quickly became integral to the business with her accounting experience. Their children, Julie, Dan, and Jerry grew up with the business, helping Dick in the mornings and weekends. Dick’s two sons Dan and Jerry handled the commercial and residential ends of the business, respectively until 2012.
Today, Bay Lawn Service has grown into Bay Landscaping, a reputable member of the local, state, and national communities. We’re proud that Bay Landscaping supports 25 families, and has grown its starter 3-acre parcel of land into a 70+ acre nursery. We’re looking forward to sharing our experience and expertise with you!
75 Years of Growth
The company begins to grow. Dick purchases new and innovative equipment that's specialized for the landscape industry, like this Lawn Maker.
The company grows as more property is purchased and the fleet of trucks and tractors is expanded. (Fun fact – one of the tractors is still in use today at the nursery!)
Dick and Marilyn’s sons, Dan and Jerry, begin working in the business. Jerry (age 13) is pictured in the lower right, then Dan (17), then Dick. With the cap is crew member Narsico Padilla, crew member Tom Nowicki. Both retired from Bay Landscaping after long careers. The three young gentlemen on the left were MSU students interning in the nursery and landscape business. Dick continues the professional development of the company and staff, bringing both local and international interns.
The company continues to invest in new, modern equipment with the purchase of one of the first tree spades. The automation reduced the need for labor-intensive hand digging of large trees.
This timeframe saw the evolution from balling and burlapping pretty much everything, to using lightweight containers that required less labor hours and allowed plants to be moved year-round.
The purchase of bobcats was another example of continuing to move with the times to adopt modern technology. These bobcats were used with the tree spade to move trees instead of using tractors.
During 1984 and 1985, our designers attended the Fred Buscher Landscape Design Short Course for landscape professionals at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. These programs were a real eye-opener for the Bay Landscaping team! Fred Buscher saw a need for landscapers to improve their landscape architectural skills and move away from the outmoded foundation planting process. Pictured in the photo are Dan Somalski (driver), Jerry Somalski (with head turned), Jack Gustafson (front passenger), and Warren Liken (rear passenger).
From left to right is Jerry, Dick, Marilyn, and Dan. Again, speaking to the professional development and life-long learning – Jerry was President of the Michigan Nursery and Landscaping Association in 1992. His father Dick was President in 1964. His brother Dan was President in 2002.
Another significant item in the 1990’s was moving from a paper to a computerized system!
The new office was built around the old office in 1992. Landscape crews helped with the construction and the new tractors came in handy!
By the turn of the century, the company had expanded its operations to encompass 70+ acres of nursery area.
Our values aren't just words on paper - they're the guiding principles we live by every day here at Bay Landscaping.
Enjoy the Journey
Have a positive work ethic every day.
Do the Right Thing
Work with integrity and respect
Make Something Better Today
Solve problems responsibly
Evolve and Grow
Embrace lifelong learning and keep an open mind
Below are just some of the ways that we stay connected to the landscape industry and our community to ensure we stay current with new plants, technology, best practices, and environmentally safe materials.