Moonlight stroll: Tussey Landscaping to host backyard walking tour

Arla Bratton of Hollidaysburg had gone on Tussey Landscaping’s “Moonlight Walk” tour before, just to see what the company was like and what other people were doing with landscaping in their backyards, not really sure she’d commit to a project herself.

“Well, it just kind of grew from there,” she said.

Now she’s hosting a stop on the tour herself, showing off work the Blair County landscaping company has done in both her front and back yards. Bratton has an expanded back porch, a pondless waterfall, a fire pit, extensive outdoor lighting, new stairs and the list just goes on.

“It’s amazing,” Bratton said. “They’re actually artists. They’re landscape artists.”

For the past several years, Tussey Landscaping of Hollidaysburg has sponsored the Outdoor Living Spaces “Moonlight Walk” Tour that gives people an upclose view of work the company has done across the county. Visitors get to go on a self-guided tour of primarily backyards and some front yards in 10 residential and commercial properties that they usually would not have access to, said Steve Martin, the company’s owner. There will also be a chef from Tussey Mountain Mulch preparing food on outdoor pizza ovens.

This year’s tour will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 14. All proceeds will benefit the ARC of Blair County, a nonprofit group that helps mentally challenged people in the county.

“It’s our way of giving back to the community,” Martin said.

One of the special aspects of the tour is that people can see the impact of outdoor lighting, which Tussey Landscaping installs.

The tour intentionally extends into the evening hours to showcase the lighting at most of the tour stops, Martin said.

“Lighting is the gem,” he said. “Something that is wow during the day is that much more at night. It’s a unique opportunity to see things at night.”

Bratton agrees, because she had Tussey Landscaping install lighting around her entire house, both front and back. Workers tore out her sidewalk and installed stone steps up to her front door, placing copper-topped lights next to the steps. Around back, they added onto the existing porch, enclosed a portable pizza oven that she already had, gave her a new patio, created a fire pit and added the pondless waterfall, lighting the entire area.

“It’s just gorgeous,” she said. “It lights up at night.”

Bratton said the waterfall attracts such a large variety of birds that she had to get a book so that she could look up all the different species. She also said the area has attracted her friends, too.

“I tell you, I’ve done nothing but have get-togethers this summer, but I’ve really enjoyed it,” she said.

Bratton said she’s looking forward to hosting people for the upcoming tour. She plans to decorate her pizza oven with vegetables from her garden to give them an idea of how she cooks outside. She has decorated her porch with cozy couches and chairs.

“I’m excited, I can’t wait,” she said.

In another Hollidaysburg neighborhood, Cynthia and Dan Moringiello are enjoying their pondless waterfalls installed by Tussey Landscaping. Cynthia Moringiello said she wanted to recreate an outdoor area reminiscent of the state parks she used to visit with her mother when she was a child.

“It was just a really happy memory for me,” she said, and judging from the deer that now come to visit their waterfall, their outside retreat is a success.

It took workers from Tussey Landscaping about a month to turn the side of the Moringiello Loop area property into a landscaped wonder but it was well worth it, Cynthia Moringiello said. Normally full of words, the end result complete with a new patio, two pergolas and lots of lights left her speechless.

“I couldn’t find the words,” she said. “It’s just beautiful, especially at night.”