Four eye-catching properties win 2023 Beautification Awards

By Melissa Martin

It’s hard to drive along Snowville Road on a sunny summer day without taking note of Mary and Paul Maleski’s home.

Two huge pots of bright, bubblegum pink petunias perched atop tall brick pillars at the foot of the couple’s driveway can’t help but catch the attention of passersby. From there, the eye is drawn to the lush, green front yard past a handmade wooden swing hung from a large tree and a white wrought iron bench. Then the spacious brick home comes into view, where the same cheery pink color is repeated numerous times throughout the landscape.

“We’ve had so many people over the years who just stop out in front of the house as they are passing by to tell us how much they appreciate our landscape and how beautiful our yard is,” Paul Maleski said. “That’s a really good feeling, especially when you know all the hard work that goes into maintaining a beautiful yard.”

For the Maleskis, original owners of the home built in 2015, part of that labor of love has always included hauling a large watering cart down the driveway several times a week to water the flowers in urns. Even the longest hose on the market would fall short.

“It’s not always easy, but it’s always been worth it to us,” Mary Maleski said, noting that the couple changes the colors of the landscape with the seasons, with mums and pumpkins in autumn and pines and birch for the holidays. “We take pride in our home and in our yard, and we like it to feel welcoming to everyone who comes over or drives past.”

Mission accomplished, said the Brecksville Beautification Committee which honored the couple and their home at 9005 Snowville Road with one of four 2023 Brecksville Beautification Awards.

Other recipients of the award this year include Karen and Dennis Forchione, 9897 Highland Dr.; Sheryl and Joseph Greve, 9600 Reserve Run; and Jim and Kim Craver, 7601 Parkview Rd.

For 27 years, the Brecksville Beautification Awards have been bestowed by the Beautification Committee to “outstanding properties” that reflect the spirit of Brecksville and pride in the community. Committee members, who scour neighborhoods for candidates, nominate beautifully landscaped homes in the spring. The public is also encouraged to submit nominations of residences, businesses and churches.

“Nominating a property is a great way to say thank you and to let friends and neighbors know their hard work, time and effort are appreciated,” Brecksville Beautification Committee Member Donna Hulett said, noting the committee received 12 nominations from the public this year.

The committee evaluates the appearance of nominated homes, assessing how well the landscaping complements the home’s architecture.

Hulett said it was clear that the owners of the nominated homes “truly love what they do.”

“Each of these properties is so well done this year,” she said. “It never ceases to amaze me how diligent and creative people in this community are.”

At the Craver residence on Parkview Drive, for example, the couple transformed the house inside and out since moving in in 2021. Jim Craver, who recently retired, said the home has become his full-time project.

Not only has the couple breathed fresh air into the once run-down property with the installation of crisp white vertical siding and black trim, they have renovated the front porch and added a new three-car garage in the rear of the property to match the home’s exterior.

The couple also ripped out the former landscaping surrounding the house and installed new beds now filled with colorful annuals and perennials, including yellow coreopsis, pink and purple petunias, well-manicured boxwoods and more. They have added pots featuring everything from cala lilies to tomatoes on the front porch, giving the farmhouse even more charm.

Hulett said the renovations have transformed the property.

“There’s virtually nothing that has gone untouched,” she said. “They have done such a beautiful job in preserving the home’s original character but giving it a modern look. Nothing they did was over the top, but everything they’ve done has given the property so much character. It truly is spectacular.”

Equally pleasing to the eye is the Highland Drive home of the Forchiones and its colorful landscape, which is a showstopper from the street.

“This home just embodies the definition of simple elegance,’’ Hulett said. “It has a nice quiet feel, but you can tell right away that it takes a lot of work to maintain the landscape and that the residents who live there consider it a priority.”

Hulett said the home has been nominated for the award several times, pointing to its breathtaking border of impatiens that are full and lush throughout summer. The bed transforms in spring to include a massive spread of colorful tulips.

“Then there is the impeccably kept lawn and the large flower pots on the front steps to the home, which are absolutely gorgeous,” Hulett said, adding that the Forchiones change the porch pots for fall and the holidays to provide additional charm.

The Forchiones, who built the home in 1988, said they designed the landscaping when they moved in but continue to change the flowers and other garden features to freshen up the look.

“People drive by and comment all the time about how much they love our landscaping, and it makes us feel good,” Karen Forchione said. “We’ve even had people come up to us in restaurants telling us how they admire our property, and that makes it worth it – to know that it’s making someone else’s day brighter.”

Though it’s difficult to see the Greves’ Reserve Run property from the street, the second guests pull into the driveway they are in for some authentic eye candy. Everything from fountains and sculptures, some of which were gifts from Joseph Greve’s father, Paul, are hidden around every corner, making the greenery and flowers truly pop.

“Sheryl Greve nominated her husband for this award because he’s truly created what can only be described as a park-like setting in his back yard; and he’s done it all by himself over the years,” Hulett said.

While Sheryl crafts the flower pots scattered throughout the yard, it’s Joseph who has kept busy maintaining and adding to the yard ever since the couple moved in 23 years ago. By far, he said, hostas of all colors and sizes have become his favorite plant.

“Hostas are a hard plant to come by, especially in Brecksville, where they are a favorite meal for the deer,” Hulett said. “But Joe has managed to not only develop quite an extensive collection, he’s managed to keep them because he’s so diligent about spraying them every time it rains.”

Joe’s favorite hosta is a new variety named Paul’s Glory, which he said he planted in remembrance of his father, who inspired his passion for gardening.

“I bought two for myself and one for each of my five siblings,” he said. “It’s now front and center in the front yard.”

Other features throughout the well-shaded yard include ferns, brick patios and seating areas, large hydrangeas, colorful perennials, stone pathways, a rustic moss-covered bench and more.

“Each of these homes is just so unique this year,” Hulett said. “They may be all different ages, but they each are all truly spectacular in their own way.”

All four Beautification Award winners received signage identifying the residence as a 2023 Beautification Award winning home. The homeowners are expected to receive a green, granite plaque from the city when they are recognized as part of the Aug. 15 Brecksville City Council meeting. ∞

Mary Maleski, pictured with her husband, Paul, said pink is always incorporated in her home’s summer landscape because it is her favorite color. Photos by M. Martin.

The Maleski’s say the pink petunias included in the landscape of their Snowville Road home have always been a showstopper with passersby who frequently stop and compliment their yard.

Jim and Kim Craver have completely renovated both their Parkview Road house and yard over the past two years.

Karen and Dennis Forchione use landscapers to craft both the
pots and landscape in front of their Highland Drive home.

Fountains and statuary, including this frog holding a wine glass, compliment Joseph and Sheryl Greve’s River Run backyard, which the couple uses frequently to entertain.

The Greves’ wooded front yard features a fountain, colorful
perennials and several large and small hostas in various shades
of green.

On our cover (Photo): Brecksville resident Sheryl Greve nominated her husband, Joseph Greve, for the 2023 Brecksville Beautification Award. While Sheryl said Joseph has always been meticulous about their yard, she says he’s “upped his game” since retiring this past year. Photo by M. Martin.