This article was published in Highlife Magazine: http://highlifemagazine.net/
For Alan Singleton, owner and founder of Watersaver Gardens, gardening is much more than a hobby — it is a business, a passion, and a way of life.
An avid gardener of many years, Alan’s love was born with his four children, and the desire for them to experience the best and freshest produce possible. “I was disappointed with the quality of stuff that you buy,” said Alan. “If you decide today that you want to have a Thai curry, and you go up to Woolworths and buy all the little bits and pieces, it’ll cost you a lot. But when you grow it yourself, you know what’s going into your vegetables and fruit; there’s no poisons and chemicals.”
Even now, with his children grown and scattered around Australia, gardening remains a bond tying the family together. Two of the four children are proud garden cultivators, while Alan is busy constructing a custom garden for a third. It was this reliance on homegrown produce that led Alan to develop Watersaver Gardens. After Toowoomba was struck by drought, Alan stumbled across the wicking system, and discovered the market for simple, easy-to-install gardens. From there, Watersaver Gardens was born. “Having the time to talk to my customers, not being in a rat race, that would be the most satisfying thing about [running the business].”
It is his laid back, friendly demeanour, his passion for the job, and his genuine appreciation for his customers that sets Alan’s business apart, and keeps clients coming back for more. “I’ve been in a lot of businesses, and gardening would have to be the best clients you could ever get. They are cooperative, they are easygoing, and they’ll help you out. I’ve never had a client that I’ve had a problem with.”
Across Australia, from Noosa to Melbourne, from tiny urban balconies to sprawling properties, Alan’s custom built, self-sustaining beds are feeding families nightly. That is why Alan is particularly adamant that Watersaver Gardens are not only an aesthetic, but also a practical investment. “The highlight of the job is probably doing gardens for people so they’re basically self-sufficient,” he says. “When people are getting into it like that, that’s more satisfying to me than just people who want a garden to potter around in.”
And Alan can personally testify to the lifestyle benefits a garden can bring. “Gardening is a good break from what you do for a living. It’s relaxing, satisfying, and it saves money. After founding Watersaver Gardens, my health improved out of sight — my skin, my hair, my nails, everything.”
While Alan’s work consulting and constructing beds has taken him across the country, his home base of Toowoomba will always hold a special place in his heart. It is an environment in which his gardens, and he himself, flourish. “At some times of the year, you can grow just about anything. The place is growing, and a lot of dual income earners are buying houses, and they want gardens. It’s a great place to do business. [I love to] help people garden, and get people interested in gardening. Helping people, that’s all I really want to do.”