Imagine planning and planting a designer landscape – in one short week – in the middle of February.

That was the challenge facing HALI BECKMAN, LTD., a R.I. licensed landscape architecture firm located in Wickford, R.I. The firm is designing and overseeing the dream landscape for an upcoming episode of ABC TV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” which will feature the Silva family of Warwick. Hali Beckman, principal of the firm, along with her associate landscape architect Kurt Van Dexter, conceived the landscape concepts and design…but that was just the beginning. She also had to coax landscape contractors and vendors out of “winter mode” to make a deserving family’s dream landscape come true. “There I was,” Beckman says, “running all over the state, battling snowstorms, trying to find hedges, tree houses and sod in the middle of a New England winter. Then I had to convince the contractors that a) I wasn’t nuts; and that b) they should join the team.”

And it took quite a team. Mike DaPonte of DaPonte Landscaping Services of Bristol will provide all the landscape construction, masonry services and will coordinate all of the different disciplines with Oldport Homes of Bristol, R.I., the general contractors, and Blount Bennett Architects of East Providence. DaPonte knows that this is around-the-clock work. DaPonte says, “There might be a blizzard or it might be 6 degrees below freezing but I am ready to install this landscape in 12 hours.” David Wallace of Tee and Green Sod of West Kingston will provide sod for an instant new lawn; Mike Ferreira of Aquidneck Landscape of Portsmouth and Joe Ferreira of Sakonnet Design Builders are constructing a new pergola for the back yard; New England Landscape Lighting of East Greenwich and Walpole Woodworkers of Warwick are providing lighting fixtures; and Frank Barbosa of Fence Tech of East Providence is providing a solid wood fence. Matt Foley of Unilock Pavers and Chris Rosa of Alpine Landscape, Malden, MA are supplying the pavers and installing them. Several local companies, Central Nurseries, Van Hof Nursery, Island Garden Shop, Hoogendoorn Nurseries, T.J. Brown Co., Warwick Nursery and Sylvan Nursery, are donating the plants.

“Just as a house is not a home, a ‘home’ doesn’t feel right unless it’s in the right setting,” Beckman says. “I’m so proud of this team for their generosity, their enthusiasm and ‘can-do’ spirit. We all just want to do our best for the Silva family and we have some real surprises in store for them.” DaPonte summed it up by saying, “We are looking to put smiles on all their faces.”

The episode featuring the Silva family of Warwick is scheduled to air at the end of April or the beginning of May on WLNE-TV, Channel 6.
“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” which has won back-to-back Emmy Awards as Best Reality Program (non-competitive), is in its 5th season on ABC. The program is produced by Endemol USA, a division of Endemol Holding. Denise Cramsey is the executive producer and David Goldberg is the president of Endemol USA.