Javier Lopez, owner of Bece Landscaping, LLC in Kennett Township.

Javier Lopez, owner of Bece Landscaping LLC, will literally move small mountains to convert an outdoor area into a beautiful, functional, and livable space. The part Lopez likes most about his job is seeing a project through, from beginning to end, and then watching his client’s delight in the transformation. The fact that Lopez has remained busy throughout the pandemic and finds most of his clients through word of mouth and personal recommendations says a lot about the quality of his work.

Lopez specializes in hardscaping, and the raw materials of his trade include gravel, stone, wood, and concrete. From retaining walls to paths, steps, patios, outdoor kitchens, water features, gazebos, decks, and driveways, hardscaping establishes the solid structures, or the bones, of a landscape. Lopez and his crew employ many different skills, including masonry and construction, to bring designs from concepts on paper to life. Softscaping, by contrast, involves the horticultural elements of a landscape and is usually done after the hardscaping structures are complete. In many cases, the hardscape serves as a canvas that allows the beauty of plants and other elements of a landscape to shine. In other projects, the beauty of the stonework or other craftsmanship also become key features of the landscape.

Hardscaping involves improving the aesthetic and functionality of an area as well as safety. These two photos show ‘before and after’ views of a project Bece Landscaping undertook to make a crumbling and treacherous set of steps both safe and attractive.

After learning his trade working for another company, Lopez decided three years ago to start his own business. His co-workers had given him the nickname “bece,” and eventually it stuck, so he named his company Bece (pronounced bā-sā) Landscaping. Eager to add professional business skills to his toolkit, Lopez took the Business Planning Course that True Access Capital offered last year in the offices of Historic Kennett Square and Kennettica Radio.

“The course was very informative and taught me a lot about how to run a business properly,” Lopez says. Hardscaping is an art that requires lots of hard work, and Lopez is very conscious of the toll this kind of labor takes. One of his takeaways from the course, he says, was learning how to maintain good staff morale in order to retain staff members who will benefit the business as well. “It starts with making sure you’re paying a fair wage, something that both the employer and employee are comfortable with,” Lopez says. He also schedules employees for eight-hour days instead of ten-hour days and pays them by the day, instead of by the number of hours worked. Other benefits, like holidays off, help to ensure employees have proper rest and time for family and friends and aren’t overworked.

An outdoor fireplace and patio built by Javier Lopez of Bece Landscaping.

Lopez moved to Kennett with his parents 22 years ago. They came a long way—from Moroleón, Guanajuato, in central Mexico—and found a very different way of life here, in addition to a new language. His parents still live in Kennett, as do Lopez, his wife, and three children. “You learn to adapt,” Lopez says of the profound differences in culture he’s experienced. “Kennett has changed, too,” he says. “There are a lot more Hispanics living here now than there were back then.” Because the Latinx population has grown, there’s more support and help, Lopez says, and many more people are also bilingual.

A solid, well-built, and beautiful stone retaining wall and steps make a big difference in this yard where the old wall was collapsing.

Lopez says he has been busier than ever during the pandemic. “I think people who are able to work outside have done well. Maybe because people have been spending more time at home, they’re taking on more projects around their properties.” A large residential project that Bece Landscaping took on last summer was particularly satisfying, Lopez says. He and his crew designed an outdoor kitchen, complete with appliances and over 800 feet of stone wall and seating areas in 2,000 square feet of outdoor space. One customer recently commended Bece Landscaping for their professionalism and punctuality, the quality and value of their work, and their responsiveness.

Hardscaping is hard work, but the right tools and machinery increase Bece Landscaping’s efficiency.

No job is too small for Bece Landscaping, Lopez says. His home-based business is located on Old Kennett Road in Kennett Township, and the best way to contact him to discuss a future project is by calling him at 610-335-5172.

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