From Junkyard to Garden Park

From Junkyard to Garden Park



Mr. Silvers was a trash collector who moved discarded treasures to the backyard of his lake home. Even though his backyard was an eyesore, neighbors tell stories of this junkman with a heart of gold, a love for his community and “the nicest man you would ever meet.”

After Mr. Silvers got emphysema, he wasn’t able to landscape using his junkyard discoveries. The next door neighbor sold him a little strip of land to ride his tractor down his steep hill so he could still fly fish.

As he was fly fishing, I am sure he would look up at his backyard and wish he had the strength to create his dreamscape. Mr. Silvers died a few years ago and his relatives cried when they had to sell his beloved lake home rich with memories.

Our friends thought we were crazy when we bought Mr. Silvers’ manufactured home with a cracked foundation, a dirt floor basement, telephone poles failing to solve serious drainage issues and a collection of garbage in the backyard. However, we knew that this lake house would be our dream home.

Through a miraculous chain of events, we met Mario Da Silva when we were obtaining quotes for our concrete paver driveway. Of all the contractors we interviewed for our driveway job, Mario seemed to immediately connect with our lake house and saw it from a landscape artist’s perspective.


We felt there was something special about Mario.

As Mario created our paver driveway on a dirt slope with construction debris, we would have conversations about our backyard. We asked for a design just to have a plan to do in stages over the next few years.

Mario saw beyond our overgrown junkyard to a park setting complete with waterfalls cascading to our lake, koi pond, hand formed boulders, stone walls, flagstone walkways, bridges, and walking paths. His design was so beautiful we couldn’t wait. We started our backyard project immediately.

As Mario shaped his hardscape, he fulfilled Mr. Silvers’ dream by incorporating his junkyard telephone poles, granite rocks, railroad ties and cinder blocks scattered throughout our yard. It was if Mr. Silvers and Mario were working hand in hand.

There are literally thousands of hardscapers to choose from but there was only one choice for our backyard. Others would have thrown away Mr. Silvers’ dream as trash but Mario Da Silva found beauty in the abandoned treasures of a junkman.

Joe and BJ Mattarella
Marietta, Georgia