Written by Emily Warne
For decades, the beaches of LBI served as the backdrop for making lasting vacation memories, with children plunging into Barnegat Bay while adults basked in the sun shoreside. When the lifeguard’s whistle blew, the swim trunks were finished for the day and it was time to head indoors.
Now, that whistle is simply the cue for the children to retreat from the beach and dive into a backyard swimming pool, while the adults pull together dinner in an outdoor kitchen, enjoy cocktails around the poolside bar, or simply relax on the patio.
Kline Brothers Landscaping has been at the forefront of this transition, routinely transforming ordinary backyards into extraordinary outdoor living spaces in the region since 1998. The company’s founders and owners, Jeffrey and Josh Kline, were born and raised on LBI and are keenly aware of the island’s allure, as well as what today’s vacationers are looking for in an ideal beach home backyard.
“Today our customers want outdoor living spaces that are both practical and beautiful,” Josh says. “Although the process for creating a backyard oasis remains the same, the variety of materials and shapes of that space are as unique as the desires of each homeowner and property.”
The key to crafting a magical outdoor living space is to create a solid design on paper before the first scoop of dirt is shoveled, explains Kline. “After meeting with the homeowner and determining the scope and size of the project, our licensed landscape architects carefully craft a design that is intended to balance the wishes of the homeowner and makes it unique to the property, but also ensure that it complies with all township codes.”
As one of the largest “design and build” landscaping companies in the United States according to Lawn and Landscape Magazine, Kline Brothers understands more than anyone that this step is often a dynamic process that can take several revisions, and usually requires a bit of negotiation between the desires of the homeowner and the property’s limitations. One of Kline Brother’s clients, Vincent Briganti, wanted “Central Park in his backyard” at his vacation home in Barnegat, while his children wanted a large swimming pool with a slide and his wife wished for an outdoor kitchen. Due to township code restrictions, Kline Brothers determined that the pool would need to be moved slightly and the outdoor kitchen relocated from where the Brigantis had originally envisioned—but the kids would get their water slide!
This backyard renovation is just one of many that demonstrates how flexibility is required in each project, as is the need to have a deep understanding of the subtle variations within each townships ordinance. Kline Brothers employs a full-time staff member whose responsibility is to monitor the submission of each township’s permit—not an easy task when the company routinely completes projects in close to thirty different municipalities.
With a plan in place and permits approved, Kline Brothers began the process of making Briganti’s dream a reality. A 42’ by 16’ fiberglass pool was installed by the company’s employees themselves, who also handle all other landscaping tasks outside of plumbing and electric work. This bucks the subcontractor trend in the landscaping construction business but provides homeowners with a sense of comfort by removing the need for them to act as a distant general contractor.
Once a pool like Briganti’s is properly installed and the inspections completed, the process of transforming the rest of the backyard begins. Paver patios and walls are installed, then reinforced by concrete and measured with laser transits to ensure proper placement. And at Kline Brothers, these tasks are not left to amateurs, but rather trained foreman who have lifted thousands of bricks throughout the course of their careers—the company estimates that they install nearly a million square feet of brick paver and block a year.
The final stages of implementation are planting, irrigation, and lighting. Trees, shrubs, and flowers are carefully placed to create the perfect backyard garden, including complementary lighting and in some cases, an audio system. Kline Brothers planted over one hundred trees and shrubs on the Briganti property, allowing Vincent to achieve his vision of “Central Park in his backyard.”
“It looks beautiful and I love it,” Briganti says, “except next year we have to get the merry-go-round.”