Fourteen years and counting.
Turning our dream into reality.
Fueled by a love of landscaping and equipped with a Ford Focus wagon, Craig Jenkins-Sutton started Topiarius in the spring of 2003, and set about to beautify the Chicagoland area. After two years of successful design and installations on his own, Craig acquired a new truck, and Sara, his wife, joined Topiarius as co-owner. Together they have worked to grow a company that creatively meets the landscape design and installation needs of urban dwellers.
In the spring of 2007, they couldn’t contain themselves any longer. Sara became inspired to bring what we do outside in the garden to the inside, and Topiarius Floral Design was launched. Our desire to continue to meet clients’ needs also precipitated this new direction. With requests for floral arrangements being made, it seemed like a natural progression for our services.
The summer of 2010 brought a new season of change and growth for Topiarius. With the support of our customers, we moved out of our residential office on the north side of the city, and into a new and larger office space and landscape yard on the near west side. Today, we continue to develop new skills and resources to keep pace with an ever-evolving industry. We look forward to providing the best possible service for years to come.
Ready to serve
Meet the staff that make Topiarius a success.
Craig Jenkins-Sutton, President and Co-Owner
In the early days, Craig was Topiarius’ sole employee, managing everything. Today, he is focused on promoting and selling our services, as well as landscape design. Craig’s knowledge of construction and years in the green industry allow him to combine creativity and practicality in his designs. And his proven ability to anticipate and understand the full scope of a project, gives his designs amazing durability.
Sara Jenkins-Sutton, Vice President and Co-Owner
Sara manages all of the business functions for Topiarius, from marketing and promotion to financial management. Since founding the company with Craig, her role has evolved over the years. Sara started out in the field, digging and planting with Craig. She moved on to give leadership to our Fine Gardening Services and Seasonal Color Program. From 2007 to 2012, Sara provided oversight for the Floral Design division.
Amy Beltemacchi, Registered Landscape Architect, LEED AP
As an award winning landscape architect, Amy brings her experience, knowledge, and talent to Topiarius the spring of 2015. After receiving her Masters in Landscape Architecture from University of MI, her craft has been honed by working with the Chicago firm Site Design Group Ltd as a project manager, designer, and the plant material expert. Her design scope ranges from university campus planning, to school yards, to pocket parks, to roof tops & green roofs, and to residential design. Amy loves to engage with clients through clearly presenting her ideas in her presentations to making sure the final outcome is all they expected. When not designing, she’s getting her hands dirty in her Root-Riot Urban Garden Network all the while scoping for reusable materials to manufacture her bags.
Bill Resch, Operations Manager, Carpentry
With over 30 years of experience in construction, ranging from project management to custom millwork, Bill brings a level of professionalism to the Topiarius carpentry department that is unmatched in the landscaping industry. As a respected home improvement expert and the author of 50 Plus One Tips When Remodeling Your Home, Bill has spoken on the topic across the country. His work with the Topiarius design team to produce shop drawings, aid in design, and oversee all project fabrication and installation, ensures our clients receive the highest quality product.
Jim Venetucci, Operations Manager, Landscape Construction
Beginning in April 2010 Jim has been managing all of Topiarius’ construction operations. With his Bachelors of Science in Landscape Horticulture from Southern Illinois University, and as a former a small business owner, Jim understands the full scope of quality service. He and his crews turn paper plans into actual garden and roof top installations. Handling multiple crews on multiple sites, Jim has a hand in everything that is going on from planning schedules, ensuring the correct tools and products are on site, to making sure clients are informed and problems are solved.
Christopher Walsh, Director of Fine Gardening & Seasonal Rotations
Prior to beginning his landscape career, Chris spent his young adulthood running his own gardening company and growing his own vegetable garden in the back yard of his parent’s home. Chris’ professional career began in D.C. after graduating from both the College of William and Mary (BA) and George Washington University (Landscape Design) in 2000. He has always demonstrated his strong passion for helping clients realize the true potential of their landscape project through telling a compelling and creative narrative about their unique garden space.
Brian Hiestand, Operations Manager, Fine Gardening
Brian no longer has to lead a “double life.” Following his education in the business and computer fields at Indiana University and Triton College, Brian has had over 20 years of successful operations management experience with Investor’s Business Daily and CompuSystems. But because Brian has always had an interest in landscaping, he also studied horticulture and landscape at Triton. This foundation allowed him to have a small landscape design and installation business. Joining Topiarius in the spring of 2017, Brian has found a place to merge both of his passions. When he’s not ordering, scheduling, and managing, you will find him coaching, volunteering, tutoring and spending time with his family.
MaryKate Weaver, Landscape Designer
After falling in love with the urban landscapes of Chicago, particularly Lurie Garden, it was an easy decision to move here after graduating from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University with a Masters in Landscape Architecture. Having gained experience with the National Park Service in D.C. and Site Design Group in Chicago, MaryKate continues to develop and explore her conservation-minded and environmental perspective that she cultivated through her B.A. in Environmental Policy & Global Studies from the College of William and Mary. At Topiarius, she is applying her perspective and knowledge to residential landscape architecture designs. Additionally, MaryKate provides significant support to the design team with her technology experience and expertise.
Ashleigh Ewing, Design + Sales Associate, Fine Gardening & Seasonal Rotations
After completing her B. S. of Science in Financial Management from Clemson University, Ashleigh’s interest for the outdoors inspired her to go where the great natural landscape movement began in the 18th century for her M.A. in Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield, UK. Returning to the southeast States, Ashleigh spent several years getting her hands dirty as a Landscape Manager, as well as, designing and selling annual and maintenance services as an Account Manager. Driven by her interest to connect people to their urban environments, she has returned to her Midwest roots to create beautiful and inhabitable outdoor spaces that enhance our client’s interactions with the outside world.