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New Member Profile Acuna Landscaping, Inc

Acuna Landscaping, Inc.

375 Hawthorne Lane Des Plaines, IL 60016 (847) 759-0011 rrracunanf@comcast.net

by Meta Levin

In 1986, at 18-years-old, Roberto Acuna entered the green industry, going to work for Asahi, a landscape contractor who specialized in designing and installing Japanese gardens. Five years later, the owner decided to return to Japan and asked Acuna if he wanted to take over the company.

He did. Sort of. Unsure if he knew enough to do the design work, in 1992, Acuna took over just the maintenance portion, changing the company name to Acuna Landscaping, Inc. “I learned the basics from him,” says Acuna. “He took me under his wing.”

Acuna learned some design fundamentals, as well as the names of plants and under what conditions they grow best. “I wanted to be an engineer or an architect,” he says. “I always was looking at books and I learned that way.”

For the first few years after taking over the business, Acuna maintained existing Japanese gardens, but there are not so many left now. Still, he has clients who are related to those original customers, many of whom have moved away from the Japanese style.

The time Acuna spent working for Asahi gave Acuna more than just landscape lessons. “We would celebrate Japanese festivals at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Japanese garden,” he says. “My children would participate in the celebrations.”

Acuna’s oldest son, Rafael, now serves as his foreman, one of four employees. He oversees all the maintenance. “He is my right-hand man,” says Acuna, who focuses on the landscape and hardscape design/build.

“This is a family business,” says Acuna. “We are honest people and really care about our customers and their safety.” He works to ensure that everything is done right, even if it takes a little longer.

He is proud of the fact that they often go the extra mile for their customers. Recently, his son was working at a client’s home when the homeowner backed out of the driveway and drove away. Acuna’s son then saw a lug nut from a car wheel lying on the driveway. He called his father, who called the customer. The man checked his own wheels, but found nothing amiss. He did, however, ask that Rafael check his wife’s car. He did and found that a wheel was loose and there was one lug nut missing.

“We concentrate on landscaping, but we pay attention to things when we are there,” says Acuna. “We help as much as we can.”

Acuna joined ILCA at the behest of one of his suppliers, who had been suggesting he join for several years. Acuna became even more interested when the supplier suggested that he might be interested in the education sessions at iLandscape. “I wanted my son to learn,” he says.

Both Acuna and his son learned a lot during iLandscape.

In addition to his son, Acuna also has two daughters. One, Azalea, is a social worker, and the other, Aide, is a first-grade teacher. His wife, Rocio, works hard and helps with the business.

In whatever free time he has, Acuna plays basketball, often in his driveway. More than that, he loves motorcycles and owns a Harley Davidson. Weekends, he and his wife often jump on the motorcycle and go for a ride. They are planning a longer trip toward the end of the season.

Acuna Landscaping’s customers appreciate their work. “Thank you for transforming our backyard into the perfect place to spend time as a family,” one wrote in a note accompanying his payment. “Your vision, skill and professionalism are amazing.”

That kind of reaction is what keeps Roberto and his team going.