November 29, 2023
Life is better outside

Life is better outside


Scott Wentworth, owner and president of Wentworth Landscapes, starts every new project by asking “why?” And the answer is usually “Life is better outside!” Wentworth says his team is driven to craft green spaces that set the scene for people to build memories, celebrate milestones and reconnect with the great outdoors.

Wentworth Landscapes has won numerous awards for their service and quality constructions, including Employer of Choice, and the coveted Dunington-Grubb and Don Salivan Awards through Landscape Ontario’s Awards of Excellence program. With offices in Picton and Kingston, Ont., Wentworth employs a full time staff of 60 people, which expands to about 100 people during the peak season. With landscape architects, designers and craftspeople on the roster, they provide a full range of services, including landscape design, build, maintenance, and swimming pool installation, as well as building construction and renovation.

In all these endeavours, Wentworth aims to beckon clients and communities back outside with purposeful and welcoming spaces, while fostering this sense of deeper purpose in the craftspeople who create them. Wentworth recently joined the Landscape Ontario podcast to talk about building a great company culture and how landscapers can make a meaningful difference to the health and happiness of others.

Wentworth Landscapes has a reputation for having an amazing company culture. How do you infuse your mission and values into everything your team does?

We have a very comprehensive onboarding process of going through the company and introducing people. I think the real secret sauce is our team start-up meeting. That's getting all 100 people in the same room at the same time. We also do this throughout the year with celebration events to mark the goals we've achieved over the course of the year. And then our wrap-up meeting in December; it’s a bit of a show-and-tell meeting where we have slideshows of projects in process and people can say, “yes, that's what we were working on,” because very few of us get to see all of the projects.

So then new members of our company get to see the company in its entirety. Part of the process, as well, is that we really work together on establishing our goals, and what are the actions that are going to achieve those goals. Then we track them to be able to see our progress.

You helped found the nonprofit organization Come Alive Outside in 2015. What prompted this initiative and what do you hope to accomplish?

We were working alongside Jim Paluch and Bob Coulter from JP Horizons, landscape consultants who work throughout North America. Jim had come to me with this idea of the landscape profession having a stewardship position in being able to get kids, families and communities back outside, engaging with nature and living healthier lifestyles, and that becoming part of the mandate of this profession.

The point that struck home for me was a report from the New England Journal of Medicine that reported [that] because of the health issues related to the sedentary lifestyles of this next generation coming up, it's expected their lifespans may be shortened by as much as five years. And thinking on that in [terms of] what can we do as a company, as members of our team, as members of our community and this profession. What can we do to reconnect people with nature, even if it's nature in their own backyards, if it's getting active outside, if it's learning with their hands in the soil, growing something they can eat?

These are all some of the original principles of Come Alive Outside. So we've expanded [on] that rationale as part of our mission statement within our company. We view what we do, especially on a residential scale, as not just building a deck, as not just laying sod or planting trees. What we're doing is creating outdoor living areas for our clients, areas for their kids to explore the garden, see pollinators and butterflies in action, as it were, and get first-hand knowledge of that.

The other piece of this, when we consider climate change, [is that] this current generation of children and students has a greater academic knowledge of the environment and climate change issues than any generation before them.

It must be very exciting and inspiring to be a green steward, helping people reconnect with nature and find their way to green spaces.

It absolutely is. And I think coming to work in the same profession after 42 years, there are still things like this that are tremendously energizing. And I really, really hope that everybody has the time in this very busy year and profession to lift their heads up and see these opportunities where we can be making significant contributions with our teams to our communities in these ways.

That looks different for every company in every region, every town, village and city. But they’re there. We just need to grab a hold of them. And I think it's a great point for being excited and energized by what we do.

You've been a member of Landscape Ontario for a long time. How do you see the LO community being able to support that mission?

I think it's trying to create a little bit of space around us to be able to look for where those opportunities are. It's easier in some ways being in a small town, in a small community, to have these opportunities, to have the relationships, to know where to go. But I'm convinced they are everywhere. We just need that to lift our heads up and see where they are.

This is a very, very generous and giving profession. Landscape Ontario members give their time, give their wallets, give their interest. And I think having a focus on and a confidence in having these conversations and how meaningful these things can be to our communities is the message that I would like to further along: be confident in knowing that we do amazing things.

And I think it puts us in a position to be leaders going forward in looking at issues such as reconciliation, the environment and climate change, and energizing the generation to come with something that's very meaningful to devote their lives toward.


This interview was adapted from an episode of the Landscape Ontario podcast, published Sept. 19, 2023. To listen to the podcast, visit, or search for it on your favourite podcast app.