Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, March 12, 2001

Kevin Ryks opens landscape, irrigation business

By Lynda Jensen

For those in the west Twin Cities area dreaming of green lawns after this overly long winter, Kevin Ryks, of Waverly, may be someone to call for help.

Ryks recently opened a new irrigation and landscaping business in Waverly at 408 Elm Avenue, called Metro West Irrigation & Landscaping.

The business is barely three months old, but Ryks has 150 business accounts already and is plenty busy, he said.

This is thanks to 13 years of experience with his former employer, Midland Nursery, Medina. Seven of those 13 years, Ryks spent as the project manager there.

"I've done this for years," he said. "I know the industry like the back of my hand."

Ryks won the Toro "contractor of the year" award for serving the Twin Cities area in 1996, 1998, and 1999. He's been called one of the best irrigation designers in the state.

Contractors from all over the Twin Cities area compete for this award, Ryks said.

Most of his work is residential, although there is about 20 percent commercial, he said.

He installed the irrigation at Howard Lake Memorial Park.

Residential irrigation can be tricky, he said, since most people don't realize they must take into account any back flow.

For example, if the fire department needed to draw water out of the city water system, this would actually siphon from residential lawns into the city water system, along with any chemicals in it. In an improperly installed system, people may actually drink what was intended for the lawn, he said.

Ryks is a licensed back flow tester, he said.

The biggest project he ever did was irrigation for the new Wayzata High School. It included six soccer and football fields, four baseball fields, and one stadium for the city of Plymouth. For a period of time, it was considered the largest athletic complex in the state.

The smallest job he ever did was to design drip irrigation for 60 hanging baskets at Sidney's restaurant at the Galleria.

Other projects include irrigation for mansions in Minnetonka. In fact, one he remembers employed three full time gardeners, he said.

He likes to use the newest thing in equipment, he said.

Ryks has a natural affinity for doing these kinds of things, since he grew up on a farm and learned how to fix just about everything, he said.

When he turned 18, he went into construction, working for his uncle, Bob Ryks. Many people in the area may know him from this experience, he said.

Ryks is comfortable living in a great home town like Waverly, away from the rat race of the big city, he said.

"You'd never get me to live there," he said.

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