July-August 2016 | GRAND ESCAPE

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RIGHT AT HOME

GRAND ESCAPE

What started as a friendly referral evolved into the largest residential design/build project in LandEscapes history, through the vision of its owner, Mark Frostrom

Written By: Robbie Tarpley Raffish | Photographer: GRANT L. GURSKY

Entrepreneurship is in Mark Frostrom’s blood. A Pocomoke native, his grandfather was a farmer and his dad a well-known automobile dealer. But Mark is the creative type, an artist really, and, as is so often the case with such types, Mark was not a big fan of school. 

“The only subject I really excelled at was art,” he recalled, “and I loved being outdoors.” Nonetheless, Mark made it through college, casting about for a while afterward, thinking of ways to combine his two passions. 

“I had zero interest in wearing a tie every day. I just could not see myself in the car business,” he said. 

He took a job with a Mennonite homebuilder, which taught him craftsmanship. From there it was a quick leap to the landscaping aspect of the business.

Nearly two decades later, LandEscapes is one of the most well-established businesses of its kind yet one of the Shore’s best-kept secrets. Built on word-of-mouth, LandEscapes is known for creating incredible, sustainable designs with wood, sand and stone, along with a great deal of “blown” concrete work. His clients were delighted to be sure, yet Mark always felt capable of going further. 

“I wanted to go vertical with concrete — to craft it as art. I knew we could get into crazy creative stuff if we could go deeper into spraying techniques,” Mark said.

An introduction to master concrete craftsman Nathan Giffin of Vertical Artisans, LLC, opened the door. Mark trained for two weeks under Giffin’s tutelage, experimenting with rolling, stamping, staining and finishing concrete until it was transformed into trees, arches, flowers, bark and even animals. 

He deployed the knowledge in spades last summer, when LandEscapes embarked on the largest residential project it had ever done. 

It all started with a referral from Gateway Builders, which was developing a house for Dave and Deb Tomb of Corbin Hall in Horntown, Va. Having relocated from New Jersey, the Tombs wanted a pool with a firepit and a tiki-type hut for grilling. They got much, much more.

“It was all there in [Mark’s] head,” said Dave. “We came over every day. We were mesmerized by Mark’s team’s work.”

The Tombs knew they wanted “Margaritaville” to be visible on the bar sign. The bar tops would have ‘It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere’ routed in. From there, the LandEscapes crew took off with the tropical theme.  

Entry to the area is under concrete “stone” arches and the faux tree posts and bar-table stands are carved concrete. Mark insisted on a concrete “stone” waterfall over the Trilogy Pool (for which LandEscapes is a dealer) complete with a “fallen” concrete tree, to infuse the yard with added ambiance. 

The project will endure due to the design, but even more important, as Frostrom explained to the Tombs: “No one will ever have a yard like this one.” 


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