Musician, Artist and Landscape Designer

For Cindy Giejda, an unusual combination of careers culminated in the success story of Giejda Landscape Contractors.

100 1586

If you’ve ever wondered what landscape design, art and bluegrass music have in common, there’s just one answer: Cindy Giejda. She started playing music as a teenager growing up in the northernmost reaches of Appalachia.

By the time she was 18, Giejda was playing with the Flashcats in Pittsburgh. Then she moved on to rhythm and blues music, took a sabbatical to have her son and recently returned to the national stage with her 2018 release, Moonshiner’s Daughter, a collection of songs based on the Laurel Hill moonshiners and Copper Kettle Highway.

Joining the Green Industry

Landscape design factored into Giejda’s life when she married her late husband, Mark Giejda, and Giejda Landscape Contractors became incorporated in 1992. As a graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, she learned how to hand draft, which is an essential part of presenting bids and landscape designs to potential clients.

From there, she pursued professional training. “I immersed myself in his business and I eventually got certified via the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD),” she recalls. As one of only 13 association members in New Jersey, Giejda used the opportunity to show her commitment and expertise. “I wanted to have something that said to people, ‘I know what I’m doing,’” she mentions.

Providing the Best Materials and Service

But it isn’t just expertise that Giejda Landscape Contractors offers its customers. Giejda describes the company philosophy as “doing it right” and credits her late husband for instilling within the business a can-do attitude.

“He never said no to anything,” she says. “If someone asked us for something we’d never done before, we’d say yes and learn how to do it.” Giejda Landscape Contractors also prides itself on bringing the highest quality of products and work to a job to build trust with its clients. “We offer a very high quality of service, workmanship and materials,” she notes.

The team at Giejda doesn’t spare time or costs when it comes to providing the best. “I shop for my plants personally and do the drawings” of the landscape designs, admits Giejda. “I’d forego money on the job knowing I’m bringing the right plant that’s going to look better. That’s really what’s going to make the job.”

A Diversity of Services and Deer Haven Nursery

Giejda Landscape Contractors has a diverse portfolio of service offerings. According to, the company provides services for both commercial and residential properties, including:

  • Landscape design.
  • Construction of retaining walls, patios and walkways.
  • Commercial snow removal.
  • Installation of annual and perennial gardens.
  • Site work, such as excavation and drainage.
  • Grounds maintenance.
  • The delivery of topsoil and mulch.
  • Christmas light installation.

The company also boasts professional memberships for several of its specialty services. As aforementioned, Giejda is certified through the APLD, the crew members specializing in building the retaining walls are certified Allan Block Master Wall Builders, and some patio and walkway installers are certified by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI).

Along with those services, Giejda Landscape Contractors has something most other companies don’t—its own plant nursery. Deer Haven Nursery, a division of the company, provides the company with access to large full-grown plants, including common, native and deer-resistant perennials and grasses.

Deer Haven Nursery additionally offers heirloom variety starter plants for residential gardens. Giejda feels that clients find a great value in this service because the plants are already grown, taking much of the work out of gardening.

“I like being able to shop in my own nursery with a plant that’s mature, as opposed to a couple of sprigs for a daylily that can take two to three years to mature,” she says. “We move out larger, more mature plants that have been in the pot for two years, such as peonies, hostas, coneflowers, hydrangeas and fountain grasses.”

The convenience of having her own nursery allows Giejda to try different varieties and types of flowers from year to year, along with providing unique offerings for landscape design jobs.

Staying Committed to Customers

When it comes to designing, Giejda has an art degree and a former career as an interior designer to create exceptional work for clients.

Though she uses GreenScapes design software, Giejda most often relies on her own hand to provide clients with a possible design. “I still do hand drawings for clients,” she says. “I feel the hand drawings look really good and there’s something artistic about it that’s appealing to the homeowners.”

Design isn’t the only way Giejda Landscape Contractors strives to keep its customers satisfied. Giejda and her team believe that staying committed to longstanding clients also helps attract new business. “We stay loyal and true to the people who have stood by us over the years and still provide the same quality of service by doing good work,” she says.

In return, happy clients spread the word about their experiences with Giejda. “We get [new customers] through word of mouth from other satisfied customers. Doing the best work that we can possibly do is the best calling card we can have,” she notes.

Creating and Carrying on a Legacy

Giejda is working to become more aggressive in attracting new business, especially in the sitework division where the company has secured some commercial accounts. Such work includes preparing sites, including excavation, drainage, grading and retaining walls, along with some landscaping work and maintenance.

Since the passing of her husband, Mark, Giejda is working to figure it all out and “revamp a bit.” She credits the general manager, Todd Finn, as being an enormous help to the company during a time of transition. “We lost a major part of our business, [but] we’re making it work,” she says. “Todd’s done a great job of stepping into my husband’s shoes.”

Though juggling her music, the business and family hasn’t been easy without her husband, Giejda feels that it was their work and dedication when they began in 1992 that has allowed the business to stay successful: “We were super dedicated and did everything the right way, and now it kind of runs itself. We’ve got great employees, great help and great labor.”

And Mark’s legacy is what keeps them moving forward. “It was [he] that started the company and it was his vision that kept it going, and my employees and I now intend to carry it on.”

Angie Mellor is a freelance writer and editor in La Crosse, Wisconsin.