Jason Core, owner of Scapes
Jason Core, founder and owner of the local landscape company, Scapes Environmental Design, grew up in Kingwood, the son of geologist Gene and Loretta Core. He’s come a way since his conservative childhood, and is now pierced and tattooed with his own original artwork. He prides himself on being creative and attended the Art Institute of Houston for a year to study landscape design and plant identification.
“Sparky Nolan [President of the Kingwood Chamber of Commerce] once told me I am an ‘earth artist.' I love that. When I go to a house to talk about landscaping, I really treat it like it’s my own. When I meet a new client, I treat them like we will be friends forever, and a lot of times we are,” said Core.
Core has an interesting and diverse past. He played football at KHS, graduating in 1991, then attended Stephen F. Austin State University for a year before starting his first landscaping company. A few years later, he decided to leave landscaping behind and join the Marines. After basic training at Camp Pendleton, he traveled with the Marines, completing two tours in Iraq as an Ammunitions Technician attached to an Explosive Ordnance Disposal group.
He left the Marines as a sergeant after four years, to return home to run the family farm in Oberlin in southern Louisiana. His grandparents originally owned the farm, but passed away while Core was in the military. The family farm included almost 200 head of cattle and 600 acres of rice and soybeans. Core said farming was challenging, physically and financially and that, after a few years, he realized it would be very difficult to be financially successful as a farmer. So, he sold the farm equipment and moved back to Houston. He found work in sales with Commercial Landscape Systems and then later worked with Moss Landscaping.
In 2001, Core decided to leave Moss and open Scapes Environmental Design, providing landscape architecture and design, consulting as well as routine lawn maintenance services. Core said 80 percent of Scapes' revenue comes from landscaping work.
“We have 250-300 clients who we mow grass for every week. That’s everything from estate homes to grandma’s garden, but the majority of our revenue comes from landscaping. Of our clients, 60 percent are residential and 40 percent are commercial,” said Core. The company currently has 15 employees. “We have regular employees and insurance. Last year we paid $144,000 in payroll taxes. We don’t ever use day laborers,” said Core.
Not content to sit back and rest, after getting Scapes up and running, a few years ago Core spent a semester studying at the Dallas Theological Seminary. Core said at the time, he was heavily involved with Second Baptist church, teaching bible study classes, volunteering at Star of Hope and participating in mission trips to El Salvador. Core said he was motivated to attend the seminary because he loves to preach and share the Bible. However, he found his fellow classmates to be quite advanced in theology and it was difficult to keep up with coursework and running Scapes at the same time. He continues to volunteer at Star of Hope and has also instituted a program at Scapes called “one for one for one” where, “we take one crew, one day a month, and take care of the yard of one person, for free. It might be a retired school teacher, or someone who I’ve heard about or read about; we are always looking for ways to help someone out,” said Core.
In his spare time in the past, Core has also spent time as a group fitness teacher, teaching spinning class at area gyms, including Lifetime Fitness and Gold’s Gym. Core also has four children, ages 6 to 17, who attend Kingwood schools.
Scapes Environmental Design is located at 24656 Penny Lane in Porter and can be reached at 281-354-7127. More information is available at gotscapes.com.