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Community Outreach, General Information, Service Learning, Student Spotlight

LSU Landscape Architecture Students Create Design for WBRZ’s $20,000 Yard Makeover Contest Winner

06/06/2012 01:55 PM

BATON ROUGE – Shane Mike of Denham Springs was pleased to find out that his backyard was going to receive a $20,000 makeover, courtesy of his winning contest put on by local television station WBRZ.


A trio of fifth-year students in the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture may well have been just as pleased, as they were tasked with designing the new-look yard for Mike and working with local companies to bring their design to life.


Martin Moser, Michael Porter and Kevin Kimball took a blank slate of yellowing lawn with a sliver of concrete patio in the Livingston Trace subdivision and turned it into an oasis of flowerbeds, citrus trees and pond cypresses. They also created three separate spaces in the yard including a new patio, a secluded shady contemplation area and an outdoor café area. The students took on the project as volunteers, not as part of any required school activity.


The project, which combined aesthetics and function, was a great surprise to homeowner Mike, who was working in Alabama for the entire installation and, according to Moser, hadn’t expected quite the transformation his yard underwent.


“The backyard was void of shade, so we put in taller trees as well as fruit trees, which are productive as well as evergreen,” Moser added. “The client entertains a lot and especially appreciated the three separate spaces we created.”


The contest not only enabled the students to manage a substantial extracurricular project, but also gave them the opportunity to make great business contacts along the way. While the students provided yard design, plants for the contest were provided by Louisiana Nursery, installation was provided by Turf-Scape and accessories were provided by Sabine Pools, Spas & Furniture.


Moser said all of the providers were knowledgeable in their fields.


“It was nice to work with people who do good quality work,” he said. “I feel confident we’ll work with them professionally in the coming years.”


To view a clip that aired on WBRZ with before and after photos, visit

LSU Media Relations