By Alicia Dziak

It’s May, and with the weather finally warming up, it’s time to start thinking about that outdoor space. If it’s a one-of-a-kind backyard you’re after, Springville’s A Growing Business, Inc. (AGB) is just the place to start.

“We specialize in unique residential plantings and outdoor living areas, including natural and block retaining walls, water gardens and patios,” said owner Claire Brown, a Certified Nursery and Landscaping professional who started the business in 1995.

Claire hails from northern California, where her creativity and interest in design led her to a career as a set designer, traveling the country to work on movie sets such as “Field of Dreams,” “Bugsy” and “Forrest Gump.” It was on the set of “Forrest Gump” in Beaufort, S.C., that she met her husband, Dave.

Dave Brown, a welder who grew up in Brant, happened to be laid off from work and his brother, who also worked on movies, asked him to assist with welding that needed to be done on the “Forrest Gump” set.

Claire and Dave continued their long distance relationship after the movie wrapped, with Claire moving back to California and Dave returning to Western New York. Claire explained that while working on the set of “Bugsy,” which was filmed in the middle of the California desert, she was amazed at how a landscaping crew came in and transformed the set. Her growing interest in plants and being outdoors led her to go back to school for horticulture.

Claire then moved to Western New York, she and Dave were married, and the two have lived in Springville ever since. Claire decided to start AGB because she worked as the gardener at a local country club and found that club members were always asking her to work for them after hours.

Dave, who was still welding at the time, would often join her in the evenings and soon AGB became a joint effort between the two of them.

AGB specializes in natural hardscapes that combine the talents of both Claire and Dave. “I learned a lot on movies about what works with your eye. It’s like art,” Claire said of her designing role in the company.

Dave brings his love of building things and knowledge of welding. “I’ve spent all my life in the woods and everything I do has that feel to it,” he said of the numerous custom pieces he constructs for customers that complement the landscaping design. Dave’s unique pieces include trellises, swings, bird baths and really anything the customer can dream up.

Dave’s love of creating ironwork art also inspired him to start his own business, Black Feather Iron. “I create functional art, whether it’s railings or wine racks,” Dave said of his craft.

“At AGB, we connect people with the natural landscape and all of its elements, plants, soil, water, stone,” said Claire. “During the design process, we take into account how people live, work and relax. We work with the homeowner to creatively and responsibly meet the needs of each as an individual. We take time to listen and understand their ideas and concerns, applying professional skills to develop a plan, and implementing that plan with expertise.”

For more info, visit their Facebook pages (A Growing Business Landscaping and Black Feather Iron) or call (716) 592-1491.