Ian digs deeper

17 01 2008

Ian has a new business called TipTop Gardens. He offers a professional patio and driveway cleaning service to domestic or commercial customers, using a purpose built rotary surface cleaner which restores your paving back to it’s original condition. Commercial contracts can be undertaken at weekends to minimise disruption. Check out these before and after photos of his work.

Just look at this filthy monobloc drive (I won’t say whose it is)…

And just look at it after we let Ian loose on it ….

Here is Marge’s slab patio – before TipTop …

… and after Ian works his magic …

Ian can install easy mowing edging blocks, which create a centrepiece or give a great finish to your lawn. Set just below the surface of your lawn, these mean the mower can safely be pushed over them, separating the lawn from borders and just think … no more edging.

Check out Ian’s handiwork in his own garden. He wanted to create a focal point and make a cobbled corner as people keep walking over the edge of his lawn. He has done a number of these for other people and they have lasted years with no problems. He says it’s also great because he never has to trim the edges of the lawn again, he just runs the lawn mower over the bricks and it keeps the lawnmower from damaging the bedding plants too. He grew all his plants in a greenhouse, apart from the centre plant which he moved from another part of the garden.

I got ahold of Ian and, being nosey as ever, I asked him about himself and his new gardening business (aka Scottish Ground Force).

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am 42 years old I have been severely deaf since I was 4 years old through measles but lost more of my hearing through bad ear infections 10 years ago. I’m now profoundly deaf and waiting for a cochlear implant, which should happen before the summer. I have been happily married for 20 years, I have a 16 year old son, live in a very small village on the outskirts of Edinburgh. If I was to describe myself, well cheeky springs to mind and most would agree, but they would also say it’s in good fun, I love making people laugh and laughing along with others.

What is your current occupation?

A landscape gardener would be my first choice but I also work as a part time courier for the local council to fill in the hours until my business takes off (I finish this on the 25th of January), but I’m also a qualified forester (11 years) and a Class 1 HGV driver (9 years).

What inspires you?

I don’t know if it’s a deafness thing but it’s mostly visual things that inspire me – flowers, animals etc. I love both with a passion. Sitting on top of a Munro on a clear day looking as far as the eye can see takes some beating for inspiration.

Apart from running the business, what do you do?

I love hill walking, there’s no better way of clearing your mind. I also cook as I find it’s a very good way to unwind. Photography – I never leave home without a camera. I also play golf and badminton when I can.

Describe your ideal day

It would be getting up, having a cooked breakfast outdoors in a sunny climate, snorkelling along a rocky coast, working off breakfast, a hike up a mountain, back home to get cleaned up, then trail some local shops before going out for dinner with my family. Bliss.

Any plans for expansion?

It might be my downfall but I have no plans to expand now or later, I will never say never though. I wanted to work for myself doing something I am passionate about, but I’d be happy just making a living for the two of us. I find it’s a more personal service which I fear would be lost in a bigger company, although it would save clients on cups of coffee in the long run.

Which season inspires you the most and why?

Definitely winter. I love walking in the snow with my wife and dog, breathing in the crisp fresh air, with everything looking so new and I know that in the near future spring will burst to life and bring with it a whole new year in the garden.

Where would you most like to go on holiday?

Some wouldn’t see it as a holiday but I do, and it remains an ambition I hope to achieve, to hike up and see the Inca village, Machu Picchu in Peru.

What are your aspirations, hopes and dreams in 2008?

My business to thrive, my son to be accepted into university, and everyone (hippyish I know) to be healthy after a few close family deaths last year.

What do you love about the online deaf community?

Lots of things, if I was to pick one it would be the social aspect of it, but the great advice, humour, and problem sharing/solving, for me it was a huge help in realising thousands of others were feeling and suffering the same way I was, and a big help for me in getting through it all. I have made many deaf friends through the years and was lucky enough to meet some of them including yourself last year when I was down in London.

What projects are you currently working on?

Mostly work projects at this moment in time, gearing up for leaving my part time work and concentrating on the landscape business.

What’s been the hardest thing about setting up your own business?

Not surprisingly, communication! Although I ask customers to use email for contact, a lot of them still insist on calling. I can’t use a telephone so at the moment my wife takes the calls until I set up a phone for my nephew who works part time for me.

If you had your time over again, would you change anything?

Yes. I would make sure Mr Blair senior had put on a johnny, joking aside there are some things I’d like to change but nothing major, all in all I’m happy with my lot.

Do you have any tips for other deaf people who want to be self employed?

I don’t feel very qualified to advise anyone on working for themselves other than to choose something they love doing and never just to make a quick buck, you’d then be swimming against the current until you drown.

If you want your garden done or patio cleaned (and you do, you do!) you can email Ian at tiptopgardens at btinternet.com or call 07944 831 882 after 5.30PM. Obviously, email is preferred! OAP discounts and quotes are obtainable.

* Commercial and domestic maintenance contracts
* Patio and driveway restoration
* Fencing
* Hedge trimming
* Weed control
* Fence and shed spraying
* Turfing
* Garden clearances / tidyups
* Tree work, pruning and removal
* Paths and patios



2 responses

17 01 2008

I love Ian’s garden–absolutely beautiful!

18 01 2008

Thanks deafmom, I fear it won’t be as nice this season, but all my customers will be, just have to wiat see how much time I have on my hands

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