Gardens and getaways

You’ve probably heard of house tours to preview houses for sale, so how about an outdoor landscaping tour that shows what’s new in waterfalls and other outdoor options and also helps a good cause?

That’s what Tussey Landscaping of Hollidaysburg offers in its “Outdoor Living Spaces Tour” scheduled for June 21. The tour of 10 homes in Blair County starts at 10 a.m. and runs through 8 p.m., with two sites open until 10 p.m. Evening hours showcase how the landscaping company uses lighting to add extra emphasis to the ponds, waterfalls and other features it installs for its clients, said company owner Steve Martin.

“Lighting brings a whole new life to outdoor living spaces,” Martin said.

Martin’s own home is included on the tour, as it has been in the past, but this year people will see something special, he said. For years, Martin said, he’s promised his wife a garden similar to the one described in the children’s book, “The Secret Garden,” by Frances Hodgson Burnett and this year, she’s getting her wish, he said.

The garden will have trees and vines, giving it a rustic look, Martin said. He has promised his wife it will be finished by the time of the tour, he said.

“She’s been waiting for it for a number of years,” Martin said.

All of the proceeds for the tour benefit The Arc of Blair County, which helps local mentally challenged adults and children with a variety of educational, advocacy and other support programs.

For 18 years, Tussey Landscaping has been helping people plan how to improve their outdoor spaces, according to the company’s website. Sometimes it’s out of necessity, such as when customers are having drainage problems, Martin said. Tussey Landscaping can assist them in resolving the problem in an aesthetically pleasing way, he said.

“Sometimes you can turn lemons into lemonade, fix a problem while at the same time make it look nice,” he said.

Then there are the clients who just want to spruce up their outdoor space, and add beauty to their outdoor areas.

That’s the case with Dan Spinazzola of Altoona, who added two ponds and a waterfall to his yard starting four years ago. He said he’s very pleased with the work that Tussey Landscaping did for him.

“We just wanted our own little getaway, sort of an oasis for ourselves,” said Spinazzola, whose house is included on the tour.

He said the ponds, which he stocked with fish, are very peaceful, as is the waterfall. He enjoys listening to the sound of the water cascading over the rocks. He characterized the work that Tussey Landscaping did for him as “very professional, very good.”

“There’s probably nobody better in my estimation,” he said.

The same is true for another couple who also agreed to have their house on the tour, Joyce and Faber Weakland of Duncansville, who decided they wanted to add a waterfall to their yard. They also had some landscaping work done, such as the installation of paver stones and the planting of flowers, Joyce said.

They’re also very pleased with the results, she said.

“We wanted to try something different,” she said.