Hello I’m Craig McManus.
Here is my story.
I’m the Principal Designer and Project & Operations Manager for McPlants, Inc.
For over 30 years of my professional career in the green industry there have been many blessings in helping people create their outdoor living dreams.
My first paying summer job at the age of thirteen introduced me to horticulture. It was in the old Douglas County High School educational greenhouses.
My Dad operated a part time landscape business for a few years to supplement the family budget, so I worked in and around landscaping occasionally over the next 15 years. I never dreamed that I would pursue it professionally.
The entrepreneurial bug bit me after earning a business degree from Auburn University, with special studies in building science in 1978. The garden center business seemed like a good fit, so in 1983, I began working for Pike Nurseries to learn the business and begin my real education in the green industry.
Completing the Georgia Master Gardener program, earning my Georgia Certified Nurseryman credentials #185 (now called Georgia Certified Plant Professional) in 1983, and beginning what has to be well over one thousand hours of continuing education in the profession.
McPlants was born in 1985 as a garden center on Rose Avenue in Douglasville, Georgia on a 3 acre track I developed. Garden centers are romantic places for the customers, but hard work for the owners and staff. It reminds me of the trials in farming. Watching people become excited about their outdoor dreams and helping them succeed made it worth all the hard work.
Along the way I was honored with the first Jake Tinga Young Professional Award given by the Georgia Green Industry Association in 1991. The previous year, 1990, I graduated in the second Leadership Douglas class.
The business model changed for McPlants in 1992. The garden center closed and the focus became landscape design and installation for residential and commercial projects.
Sally Waugh became my business partner and wife all on one beautiful day in October 1993. She handles the office chores for our business. Most importantly, she is the mother of our three children.
I really enjoyed the creativity of hand drawing landscape designs, but I appreciate the speed of creating a design on the computer. It allows you to explore various options quicker. Placing the right plant in the right location is a key to low maintenance design, plant health and year round interest.
Landscape design changed for me one day when I observed the soil I had just shaped with a Bobcat skid loader. The guys had raked out the soil and to me it was as pretty as a well formed vase. The curves were just right and the flow of the land was beautiful. That was the day I realized that my God given artistic talent was being used for more than just sticking plants in the ground. The mediums are the soil, plants, turf, water, rock, concrete pavers, retaining walls, wood, mulch, and lights used to shape the outdoor environment with artistic elements for others to enjoy.
In 1993 the Georgia Green Industry Association along with the University of Georgia created a new certification for landscape professionals. It was an honor to study and earn my Georgia Certified Landscape Professional #6 designation with the first group to certify in the state.
In 1999 I also received a Pesticide Applicators License from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Everybody that sprays pesticides for hire in your landscape is supposed to have this license.
Who would have thought there was a certification for concrete pavers? Not me. In 2006 after intense training I earned the Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute’s (ICPI) designation as a Concrete Paver Installer Certification. In early 2015 I trained and passed the test for Advanced Residential Certification.
We became a trusted Authorized Contractor for Belgard in 2012. Belgard has “earned a reputation for top-notch service and quality products that exceed industry standards.” Huge selections of retaining walls, concrete pavers, outdoor living items like kitchens, fireplaces, fire pits make up their product line.
You will never know it all in this business. There is always something new to learn every day.
2008 was the year to learn more about trees for me. After field training and in class study I earned an International Society of Arboriculture’s (ISA) designation as a ISA Certified Arborist. Tree health is a huge factor in our own health. They are so crucial to our wellbeing. This knowledge has helped in finding a process to renew tree health and vitality.
Through the years I have enjoyed training and speaking to various groups.
Douglasville–Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority, Board of Directors, Past Chairmen of the Board, Water Committee Chairmen, 2003 to 2013
Every day is a new day to conceive, design, and develop a new outdoor living environment for someone else to enjoy. I am blessed.