Chris Chapman: Cultivating a Livelihood
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
ORINDA — Chris Chapman spent much of his childhood working outdoors, and even though he didn’t realize it at the time, he was cultivating a future livelihood all the while. “When I was growing up, my dad used to send me off to different places to work during the summers,” he remembers. “I spent one summer putting up hay and chasing cows in Montana, another working with a big game outfitter in Colorado, and yet another working agriculture in California. During college, I got involved in landscaping and ended up starting my own business. After 10 years, I was looking for a career upgrade, so I got certified as an arborist and have specialized in tree service ever since.”
Today, as owner of Horticultural Services, LTD, Chris says his favorite part of his job is seeing the long-term effects of his work. “I like seeing the gradual changes that take place on the properties we work on. It’s very rewarding to service a distressed tree and then come back a couple of years later to see it healthy and flourishing.”
Originally from Southern California, Chris now resides in Concord with his wife, Gael, and their two children, Jack and Marilyn. When asked what he appreciates most about living and working in the Bay Area, Chris cites the ideal outdoor working conditions. “With the great weather we have, the Bay Area is the best place in the country to do this kind of work…probably one of the best places on the planet, for that matter.”
Outside of work, Chris furthers his outdoor enjoyment with hobbies like gardening and cultivating bonsai trees. He also enjoys hunting, fishing, reading about military history and keeping up with his two older children: Jessica, who lives in San Diego, and Trevor, who is currently attending college.
In regard to his professional career, Chris espouses the importance of honesty. “If I look at a job and it’s apparent that it doesn’t require my level of expertise, I’ll let the client know and refer them elsewhere,” he explains. “I’ll tell them, ‘I can do this for you, but so could a gardener, and you’d get a better price.’ I just prefer to be honest rather than stick my hands in people’s pockets or try to sell them services they don’t need.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Chris says he would get to work on expanding his home garden. “The space is kind of limited where we live, so we’re mainly growing things in containers. If I had some more room, I’d triple the square footage of my garden and get ready for the coming season.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: A dog person.
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Rocco’s Ristorante Pizzeria in Walnut Creek.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Read a book.
Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: Besides the Bible, one of my favorites is “Guadalcanal: Starvation Island” by Eric Hammel. It’s a military history book about the United States’ first offensive in the Pacific during World War II. It’s an absolutely fascinating account.
Q: How do you like your eggs?