Wade Nomura is the president of Nomura/Yamasaki Landscapes, Inc., based in Goleta, California. Nomura’s father and grandfather were both gardeners and their influence along with his uncle, who was a Master Gardener of Japanese landscapes, gave him a desire to follow this calling.
Nomura grew up working for his father’s landscape business in Santa Barbara. He attended Cal Poly San Lois Obispo and majored in ornamental horticulture. Nomura partnered with John Yamasaki over 20 years ago. The company combines the landscape design theories of Japan with the uniqueness of Santa Barbara.
“Landscapes should be personal and part of your living space, and easy to maintain,” Nomura says.
What is your proudest moment in business?
My proudest moment was when my signature Japanese landscape was selected and featured on an Architectural Tour. That project took two years to complete and had the challenge of poor soil and drainage that I was able to overcome with custom-designed infrastructures and landscape features such as a dry collection pond.
What is your biggest business challenge today?
My biggest challenge is in selecting the jobs I want to take on. Fortunately for us, there is a demand for our services, but unfortunately, we cannot take all of them on and do justice to our clients and customers.
What motivates you on Monday mornings?
I am fortunate to have selected a profession that I really love doing. Landscaping, including maintenance, is an art, and my business partner John Yamasaki and I have established a good business delivering this service. I look forward every week to creating designs for clients that are specific to their needs and desires. Every design is unique and a form of art and I love the challenge of bringing to life each new design.
What business worry keeps you up most at night?
Actually, the one thing that I worry most about is being efficient with our project planning and making sure we address any shortcomings before they occur. I also spend a lot of time evaluating our projects and often make improvements to the projects while in the construction phase and occasionally afterward to make sure we furnish the best project we can to our customers.
Who is your business mentor?
My late father, grandfather and uncle mentored me in this profession. While most of my designs are not Japanese gardens, the elements they taught me are still the foundation for every garden design I do. This includes the disciplines of the art and the desire to be as close to perfect as possible in our services.
What is your favorite business book?
Not to brag, but I have recently released my own book “Creating Destiny” which covers the humanitarian work I do as well as my life story. In addition to my landscaping business and family influence, there are a few projects where I have applied landscaping skills to help others. This includes work at Camp Keep, which is an environmental facility for students and the Tomol interpretative playground, based on a Chumash theme in Carpinteria.
With my water knowledge garnered through years of irrigation work, I have applied it to deliver water projects in other regions less fortunate than us. I have worked on water and sanitation projects in nearly twenty countries and am currently on the steering committee to bring water to the whole country of Haiti. I hope others in landscaping would consider using their skills to do humanitarian projects as well. There are more details on these projects and others in my book.
What does it mean to you to be a landscape professional?
Being a landscape professional allows me to give my clients a better quality of life, as the gardens provide them with relaxation and immense enjoyment. When a client tells me they never dreamt their garden could be like we delivered, it is very rewarding.
What does it mean to you to be an NALP member?
As with many organizations, there are local, regional and national organizations with the national level having the ability to make or lobby for benefits that affect the local organizations and members. As a mayor sometimes working at the national level, I can see how a national group can influence outcomes and protect our profession from negative decision-making by local governments.
In five years, where do you see your business going?
In five years, I see my business following environmental changes with priorities based on protecting our environment and enhancing our open spaces; both residential and commercial. This will include reducing our carbon footprint and leading technology changes.
In five years, where will you be as a business owner?
As a business owner, I see myself being even more active in my community while continuing to produce award-winning landscapes. I plan on being a mentor for others starting out in any business and continue to represent our industry with ethics and integrity as part of mentoring and setting an example.
This article was published in the May/June issue of the magazine. To read more stories from The Landscape Professional magazine, click here to subscribe to the digital edition.