An interview with Mel Bellar of Zone4 Landscapes
Why did you decide to open a business in the Catskills?
My wife and I already loved it here, had friends and owned a beautiful home, so when I left my “high-powered” CTO position at a major advertising firm and well… the obvious thing to do was to start a landscape design business in the Catskills : )
What was step one in making your dream come true?
I kind of needed to know something more about landscaping than the fact that I LOVED it. I had designed a roof garden at our brownstone apartment in Manhattan and was a hobbyist gardener at our Catskill home but I never had any formal training. I enrolled in the certificate program in Landscape Design at the New York Botanical Garden. It was awesome.
How long have you owned your business here?
Zone4 Landscape is in its eleventh year of business. Can I hear a Woo hoo?
What has been your biggest lifestyle change?
Everything! Less money, more satisfaction; working in the elements rather than indoor under fluorescent lights; being my own boss; driving our beautiful roads rather than taking the subway; having winters off; loving winter.
What are your favorite things to do here (when you aren’t working)?
I never tire of exploring and enjoying our beautiful environment here in the Catskills. I also enjoy playing the cello and hanging with friends and enjoying a farm-to-table dinner prepared by my amazing wife.
Name one thing you love about living and working upstate?
Being part of a real community.
What advice would you give to people who are beginning to dream about starting a business in the Catskills?
Go into it for love and passion!