Team

Owner - Jon Herlong

As owner of Custom Gardens, Jon has enjoyed serving the community’s landscaping needs and enhancing as well as expanding client relationships. He welcomes phone calls and suggestions from clients. Jon has technical grounds maintenance training, numerous Interlocking Concrete Pavers certifications and twelve years of experience working in the field of landscaping. In 2012, he purchased Custom Gardens, retaining the entire existing staff because of their wealth of knowledge and landscaping experience.

Jon is a Hampton Roads resident, along with his wife, Catherine, and their four children. As a U.S. Navy veteran, Jon had two tours of duty in Iraq as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician. He also worked as a Senior EOD Instructor.  E-mail

Member of the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI)

Landscape Designer - Kristi Bruening

Kristi started with Custom Gardens in 2016 as Office Manager. Within 2 years, she transitioned  to General Manager to meet the higher client demand. Her current role includes Landscape Designer. She has a Bachelors’ of Science in Business Management. As a U.S. Navy Veteran, she served as an aircraft mechanic. In her free time, she enjoys bodybuilding, road trips, and traveling.

Project Coordinator - Nick Tafazoli

Nick joined Custom Gardens in 2018. He has a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics from Old Dominion University. He’s a Hampton Roads native and Poquoson High School graduate. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, music, and spending time with his cats.

Maintenance Manager - Aaron W. Sydenstricker

Lifelong resident of Virginia, he started landscaping 10 years ago as a laborer and worked his way up. As time went on, so did his passion and knowledge for the industry. He is currently serving as our Maintenance Manager as well as one of our horticulturists on staff. In his down time, he loves to spend time with friends and beautiful family: his wife and their daughter.

Office Manager - (Zo) Mwazomela Mbewe

Zo joined Custom Gardens May 2020. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Applied Math from Mary Baldwin University and spent a semester studying Civil Engineering at University of Virginia. She manages customer service, billing, & social media. In her free time, she loves coming up with new recipes, photography, and trying do-it-yourself (DIY) projects with her husband.

Office Assistant - Hollan Herlong

Hollan has been working with her father (Jon Herlong) since she was a kid. She works in the office, out in the field, and helps with social media. For fun, she likes reading, hiking, playing with dirt, and learning about new plants.