Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. We moved to Western Colorado in 1991 where I finished high school at Fruita Monument.
How did you get started in the industry?
My family has been in the block making business since my grandfather started it in Southern California in 1951. When my dad, Mike Johnson, returned from Vietnam, he got involved in the family business and moved us to Colorado. After finishing college and working for about 10 years, I decided it was about time I joined in our family tradition. I used to sweep the floor for a quarter when I was 10, so I guess it has always been in my genes!
How has the industry changed since you got started?
This industry has changed a lot even in the 10 years that I have been here. Small, family-owned operations like ours are constantly being absorbed by larger corporations. Not many people in the block making business have the power to make decisions over “lunch with Dad.” We are able to respond immediately to situations and adjust our inventory and style to fit whatever we think is popular with people right now.
What should consumers look for in a patio or landscape design?
Make sure it is designed as a space that you and your family would enjoy using. Some people may like the looks of a beautiful outdoor kitchen, but they don’t enjoy cooking. A firepit is a great addition to your landscape if it’s something you will use. I believe that your backyard is just an extension of your home and it should fit your personal style for your family.
Is there a particular thing that is really popular right now in landscaping?
Lots of families are really enjoying a fire feature. Firepits and firetables add a terrific element to any yard large or small and can be very affordable. An outdoor living room is what a lot of designers are working on in the mid to larger sized yards. Pavers, a seating wa ll, an outdoor fireplace or BBQ can really make a boring yard into a special space.
What’s the most unusual feature you’ve put in a landscape design?
Just this week we sold a grouping of basalt columns with polished angled tops that we brought in from Washington state for a centerpiece in a back yard. Beautiful!
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Well, I have a husband and three kids so it is full time at work and at home! We love boating at Lake Powell, going to our cabin on the Mesa, traveling ANYWHERE, hosting dinner parties and family gathering and just enjoying our special part of Colorado!
Yes! My parents Mike and Maureen Johnson live here in Grand Junction and I work every day with my dad at the Brickyard. My husband Shawn is a firefighter paramedic with GJFD and we have three kids, Brooklyn (9), Makenna (5) and Cooper (3).
What do you enjoy about living in western Colorado?
Everything! Living here is very fulfilling. If you are bored in western Colorado, then you are not taking advantage of your own backyard. As someone who just had a few years here before I went off to college, it’s nice to have the time now to take advantage of where we live with my family.
What do you see as up-and-coming trends in the building industry?
I want to say that BRICK IS BACK! I have been seeing more and more people choosing brick over stone as their veneer on their new homes and remodels. Brick and stone preferences are cyclical and stone has been the popular choice for quite a few years now. I’m ready for something different. Fortunately, we sell both at the Brickyard!
How are landscape designs different now from 20 years ago.
Again, I think it is a matter of personal preference and availability of usable space. Instead of just a concrete patio and a grass area, people are using different textures and colors to dress up their yard, be it small or large. Stone steps instead of concrete, tumbled pavers for a walkway, different colored gravels. The DIY network has done wonders for creativity in the backyard! You can really create a cool patio with just a couple of hundred square feet.
Looking for help improving your home? Call the HBA of Northwestern Colorado at (970) 245-0253 or visit http://www.hbanwco.com