Lifelong Sycamore resident Bill Lloyd likes to say he’s beautifying America one home at a time. In fact, it’s the slogan for the landscaping business he started in 1994.
His own home, a former schoolhouse converted into a residence, is a showcase to his talents. The backyard features a spacious patio with a drop-in grill, along with plenty of roses, hydrangea and other plants.
He shares his work with the community, too. He was among several local residents who helped build a memorial and healing garden honoring Timothy Getzelman and Alexis Weber, who were killed in a crash in February 2011. Getzelman was an intern with the Sycamore Fire Department, so the memorial was dedicated last year at Fire Station No. 2, 2100 Frantum Road.
More recently, he donated his labor to build a sidewalk at the restored Sycamore Train Depot, which houses the DeKalb County Community Foundation at 475 DeKalb Ave. in Sycamore.
He spared a few moments to talk with News Editor Jillian Duchnowski in his backyard about why he loves his work.
Duchnowski: How did you get into landscaping?
Lloyd: Fresh out of high school, I was pumping gas and I decided maybe that’s not really going to be a future, you know? Young and dumb. So I decided to go to Kishwaukee College. I always liked plants and stuff. My great-grandfather owned a greenhouse in Naperville. He made some plant clips; I still have the three patents. It’s kind of in the blood, I guess. I went to school there, and a buddy of mine, he worked for a nursery in Elgin. I went there, started working there, learned a lot.
Duchnowski: Is there going to be a next generation for your business?
Lloyd: My son’s helping me right now; he really likes it a lot. He’s a good kid. We started another business now salvaging old barns. He’s really into that. I’ve always been really green, as far as eco-friendly, and I think this is a great way, taking these old barns that are going to get burned down or thrown into a landfill and save everything. Even save the nails.
Duchnowski: All this landscaping here, is this you?
Lloyd: Yep. This is all me, the patio and everything. When we first moved in, there was the smaller scale of what somebody could envision. I always like to go big scale. Go overboard.
Duchnowski: How long did it take you to do all this?
Lloyd: I started when we bought the place 10 years ago, and it’s still not done. I love it. To me, plants and stuff, it’s like furniture. You don’t like it here, just move it over there. I always try to keep up with the new trends.
Duchnowski: If someone is looking to develop a green thumb, do you have some advice for him or her?
Lloyd: I say, don’t be scared of it. A lot of people are afraid to do anything, so they get a small little plant and a small little bed. Don’t be afraid; you’re not going to screw it up. Plant it. Just allow room for growth.