Like so many individuals who faced difficult financial times during the economic downturn of 2009, Greenworks Lawn and Leaf owner Drew Hojnacki was having trouble finding a job. Prior to the Recession, Hojnacki had a career as an irrigation specialist for several golf courses throughout Colorado. When he was offered a “dream” sales position at John Deere, it was hard to turn down. However, as he launched a career in sales, the Great Recession began in earnest, and Hojnacki lost his job with the company.

As Hojnacki searched for work, a large snow storm hit the Denver region. Hojnacki drove to houses with some of the largest driveways he could find and went door-to-door with nothing but a shovel in hand. Afterwards, he asked people if they wanted him to shovel their driveways in the future, and slowly but surely, Hojnacki built a network of clients. When winter turned to spring, he offered to help his clients with lawn care and maintenance.

It has been nearly ten years since that first snow storm, and Hojnacki has expanded well beyond snow removal to create his own sustainable landscape maintenance company, Greenworks Lawn and Leaf. Achieving sustainability in the landscaping field is more of a guiding philosophy than a set practice. Hojnacki explained that if you are willing to put in the extra effort, there are sustainable and environmentally friendly ways to achieve high quality land maintenance.

“It’s about caring for the land for future use,” Hojnacki said. “There are ways to get the product that you want without having to go through all the easy steps of just using the harshest chemicals that you can find.”

Pesticides can be extremely effective in eliminating pests that might otherwise plague a lawn or garden. Yet, eliminating pests with these chemicals comes at a price to the environment and human and animal health. Some of the more effective pesticides have longer half-lives, or the amount of time it takes for the environment to reduce the chemical’s presence to 50% of its original presence. Pesticides with longer half-lives are more likely to persist in the environment after repeated uses, as well as the danger of contaminating nearby surface water, plants and animals. Of the few chemicals that Greenworks uses, each is water-based and has a much shorter half-life than the harsher, more inexpensive pesticides and herbicides.

Sustainability within the purview of landscaping isn’t just about using friendlier chemicals, it is also about, “doing all the cultural activities such as aerating, fertilizing, raking up the leaves at the proper time and proper watering so you’re not wasting anything,” says Hojnacki. Ultimately, Greenworks strives to work with nature, instead of trying to battle it. “Because you’ll lose that battle every time.”

Drew Hojnacki with his family. Hojnacki opened Greenworks Lawn and Leaf in 2010 following the Great Recession. Today, the company services only commercial sites, including many of ULC's properties!
Drew Hojnacki with his family. Hojnacki opened Greenworks Lawn and Leaf in 2010 following the Great Recession. Today, the company services only commercial sites, including many of ULC's properties!

Since launching Greenworks in 2010, Hojnacki employs a staff of three (himself included), to service lawns in the spring, summer and fall months. In the winter, Greenworks balloons up to about eight people to assist with snow removal.

Greenworks maintains and cares for more than one dozen Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) properties throughout the year. ULC’s Senior Property Manager Rebecca Landau has used Greenworks’ services since joining ULC in 2014. Landau spoke highly of Drew and his Greenworks team due to their level of professionalism and ability to get the job done.

“Greenworks was caring for the ground’s maintenance for several of our buildings when I came to work at Urban Land Conservancy,” said Landau. “Over the years, I have given nearly all of our properties to Drew Hojnacki, because I trust him, he is responsive, and he always goes the extra mile for us. I love the fact that this is a locally owned business, and that the money that we pay for his contracts directly supports Drew, his family and those on his team.”

ULC is proud to work with a company with a sustainable mindset, whose sole concern is not to instantly maximize profits at the expense of the environment. Hojnacki and his team take environmental stewardship seriously, and ULC is thrilled to support this local Denver business!

Roots Elementary at Holly Square, one of the many ULC properties serviced by Greenworks Lawn and Leaf.
Roots Elementary at Holly Square, one of the many ULC properties serviced by Greenworks Lawn and Leaf.