January 2, 2013

Project Bluegrass Oasis: Mink’s Landscaping honored by national magazine

By Magen McCrarey
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Mink’s Landscape Contractors of London has received national recognition from Landscape Contractor Magazine for their “Bluegrass Oasis” project executed this year.  The project was recognized as one of the top 15 landscaping projects of 2012.  

Mink’s backyard pool project landed the No. 13 spot because of their ability to “set out to design a backyard area to meet the needs and desires of an outdoor lifestyle,” according to magazine Editor Bruce Fordyce.  Landscape Contractor ranked the project based upon how many hits the initial article received at over the course of the entire year.  

The project was designed for a family of five in Ashland, Ky.  David Samples of Mink’s believes it received so much recognition this year because of the company’s creativity.  

Samples said it is a common misconception that you have to wait until summer to put in a pool or create an outdoor living space.

A team of 10 from Mink’s started the project in the dead of winter, and the pool was ready to open for the warm weather seasons.

“You don’t have to wait until summer to start these types of projects,” Samples said. “You can do it now.”

The $500,000 project took nine months to complete and began from a blank slate of dirt.  The project features a 5.5 foot deep pool with a 35 foot wide beach entry, and water hydraulics that create a waterfall effect over a stone cave that seats up to 21 people.  In addition, there is a swim up five-stool bar with a granite counter-top and built-in slide.

Mink’s dug out the pool, poured the concrete and laid the stone in a winter that was one of the coldest on record.  In total, 62 tons of concrete were poured, 42 tons of brown flagstone were veneered and nine varieties of trees were planted.

“We were doing a turn and key project. We did all aspects of the project from the masonry to the plumbing and design.  We do it all,” Samples said.

On average, Mink’s completes approximately 15 projects a year, big and small, finding their niche in the landscaping business one project at a time.  Mink’s is just a snapshot of the current landscaping industry, as they’ve moved from a nursery to a contracting business over the last 30 years.

“You don’t compete with Lowe’s and Walmart; you compete around them,” Mike Samples said.

Samples takes great pride in working for the family-owned business because of their reliability, good ethics and on-schedule project completions.

“Our dad worked hard to build our reputation and we work hard to keep it up,” he said.

Arnold Samples took over Mink’s Nursery in 1981. In 1997 the operations were taken over by family members to become Mink’s Landscape Contractors.  

For a look at their nationally recognized project, visit