While some 18-year-olds across Loveland are still pondering what to do for the summer, an 18-year-old entrepreneur who recently graduated from Loveland High School has found a passion for creating outdoor landscapes for homeowners to explore relax and enjoy.
Sam Huhta is the owner of NOCO Landscape, a landscaping company that works in the Loveland, Fort Collins and Greeley area to provide “optimum service so you can get your landscaping the way you want it – no hassle,” according to the company website.
While he found joy in offering landscaping work at a young age, in recent years he has worked to build his business to provide landscaping work throughout northern Colorado.
He said he’s grown his business to eight employees plus himself and is making about $50,000 a month, which he didn’t expect after starting it after retiring from a fast-food job.
“I had no intention of promoting or hiring anyone,” he said.
Huhta said that while he graduated from Loveland High this spring, he also spent two years attending classes at Front Range Community College. He said that by the time he enters his freshman year at the University of Wyoming in the fall, he will be a freshman technically but have junior credits.
He said that while he’s not exactly sure where his company will go from here, he’s put a lot of time into the local landscaping group he founded.
How did you get interested in landscaping in the first place?
Like every other kid in the neighborhood, I started out mowing lawns with my good friend Jude. When we began creating a client list, there was an obvious need for gardening among Loveland residents. Within the first five months we began signing deals with real estate agents to prepare homes for market entry. As gardening evolved into landscape design, I knew my passion was creating outdoor spaces that were tailored to the client’s needs.
What made you decide to start your own gardening business?
I am very fortunate to have discovered my passion for entrepreneurship at a very young age. Between the ages of 11 and 13 I sourced and branded a range of bike grips. If you’re a longtime resident, you might have seen them at local bike shops. From then on I tried everything from e-commerce to 3D printed products. I finally found a job that I really enjoy.
What is the most difficult process for you when a client asks you for landscaping?
The majority of our jobs are design-build jobs in new construction. Contracts like this can be challenging in many ways, but especially in the transition between design and construction. Submitting measurements and making sure the crew knows exactly what to do was a big part of the initial growing pains. I am very fortunate to have a phenomenal team including our project manager Connor Patrick who was a huge part of overcoming this challenge.
Why do you like creating landscape pieces?
From design to construction, each job typically takes three months to complete. Emerging on a field of earth and working with the client to create an outdoor space from rendering to reality is truly a feeling you can’t explain. A mixture of excitement, pride and sheer joy accompanies the completion of each and every assignment I am fortunate enough to be entrusted with.
What are your tips for Loveland residents who want to have the best garden this summer?
be unique! Don’t do what everyone else is doing, use your garden as an expression of yourself. With the right design, imbued with personality, you can create more than just a patch of lawn. You can create a place where you enjoy spending time.
Time in the area: 18 years.
Title at NOCO Landscape: Owner.