our history

During 1937-38, John M. Harlow, Sr. and his wife Mary Louise traveled throughout the Southwest looking for a winter location to augment the limited growing season for their Duluth, Minnesota, landscape business. Tucson beckoned them and, in the nearly 70 years since, the Harlows and their associates have created one of the Southwest’s most widely-known and respected landscape design and installation companies, along with a one-of-a-kind garden store and nursery.

After starting at 89 E. Alameda, John Sr. purchased a piece of property in 1947 “way out of town” at 5620 E. Pima to which the business moved in 1957, and then acquired the corner lot at Pima and Jefferson (formerly a church) in 1988, establishing the beautiful park-like setting you see today.

5620 E. Pima 1979  view of tower

The Harlow children and their mother Mary Louise all worked in the business at various times. On Sundays for many years, twin brothers (and future Harlow owners) John, Jr. and William C. (Bill) Harlow would ride to Bisbee with John, Sr., to learn the business and help sell bare root roses out of the back of the company’s truck.

Since those humble beginnings, John, Jr. and Bill have risen in their industry to serve as presidents of the Arizona Landscape Contractors Association and the Arizona Nursery Association, respectively.  Both were inducted into their Association’s Halls of Fame, and have individually won many prestigious awards from local, state and national organizations. John C. Harlow, Bill’s son, is the third generation of Harlow Gardens to be involved in the business. Look for more about our other award-winning designers on the Landscaping page.

Over the years, key commercial projects included the Pioneer Hotel, Pueblo Gardens, Tucson Medical Center, University of Arizona, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and our largest project ever – Foothills Mall. We have also designed and installed landscaping at over 2,000 private residences in Tucson and Southern Arizona, and have been recognized with over 75 local, state, and national awards for landscaping excellence. The heart and soul of our business has always been its custom residential work, and in 1982 we decided to focus exclusively on serving this market.

We upgraded and polished our company’s look and logo a few times over the years: we want to stay current and – better yet – fresh for our friends and customers. We recently expanded our “revolutionary” Home Décor, Gift and Garden Store, and were recognized for being one of Tucson’s best places to work. And, our “Garden Wizards” cheerfully and tirelessly provide you with the most extraordinary service, thoughtful and useful answers to your questions, and the best-loved plants in all of Tucson.

Being a Harlow Gardens client means that you are entitled to our utmost care, protection and guidance throughout the entire experience. We are gratified by the honors and recognition we have received, and humbled by the trust given us by you, our friends and clients. We look forward to designing and furnishing an outdoor space you love!