“It just grounds me to the Earth,” explains Dan Lael of Lael’s Landscape and Stone Supply, as he talks about stone. “My personal passion is dry stone walling.”

Dry stone walls are simply made up of stacked stones, no mortar is used. Dan has been creating these dry walls for about 15 years. “I’ve stacked stone from here to Ireland,” he says with a smile. Dan traveled to Ireland to attend the Feile na gCloch, or Festival of Stone. “One of the islands has 1,000 miles of stone walls on this one-and-a-half-mile island. There was a tower and buildings that were built in the fifth century that are still standing,” Dan reports.

Lael's Landscape and Stone Supply
Lael’s Landscape and Stone Supply can help you connect to the earth in fun and creative ways. Photo credit: Nancy Keaton.

Dan has participated in a local festival also dedicated to the stone crafts, StoneFest, held annually in Issaquah. “There are masons, dry stone installers, and sculptors all attending,” Dan explains. “Those craftsmen used to all work together so it brings everyone together again.”

So now he gets the chance to share his love of stone with his customers. Six years ago, Dan was running his landscaping business when an opportunity came up to purchase the business on Reynolds Road from the Morris brothers. “I had planned to run both businesses at first, but that didn’t work well. So I focused on the retail yard.” The retail yard consists of landscape supplies such as beauty bark soil, dirt, gravel and grain rock, decorative rock and flagstone. He also carries feed and farm supplies such as sawdust, dry shavings and barnyard bark. “We deliver it all!” adds Dan.

He further explains, “The property has been the site of a landscape business for 25 years and many people just don’t realize it. It’s also a little confusing that so many people know my dad’s business, Lael’s Moon Garden in Rochester. I learned a lot about landscape and plants from him, but we are a separate business.”

Lael's dog food
Dog food has become a big seller for the company. Photo credit: Nancy Keaton.

The property has been added to since Dan bought it. They’ve added a warehouse for the dog food, and a very large structure to house kiln-dried shavings. “It’s bone dry year-round now,” says Dan. “It’s the only one like it in town.”

In addition to that piece of property, Lael’s has five acres a few blocks away. That is where they have their soil operation. “We used to buy ready-to-sell dirt, but now we screen our own,” explains Dan. “It’s a complete operation all by itself.”

Lael’s also has a satellite yard in Rochester on the corner of Sargent Road and 196th Street, open Fridays and Saturdays.

Besides landscaping products, another very successful aspect of Lael’s is their dog food. One brand that is particularly popular for them is Black Gold. It started when a customer came in looking for it. “She said she usually bought it in Longview and that if we started carrying it, she would buy from us,” explains Dan. So they began stocking it and found out that people are very loyal to the brand. Then about a year later, the Seattle distributor decided to sell his truck and route, so Lael’s took it over and started distribution. Not to long after, the Longview distributor decided to get out of the business as well and Lael’s took over their line, which covered the whole rest of Washington and into Oregon. They sell to Red Apple stores, Thriftway, IGA, The Farm Store, and many kennels.

“Black Gold has a high digestibility rating,” says Dan. “It’s so clean you could eat it. It wouldn’t taste good,” he laughs, “but you could eat it.”

Kiln storage
The new structure can keep shavings dry year-round. “It’s the only one like it in town,” says Dan. Photo credit: Nancy Keaton.

They now get 40 pallets of dog food a month. “We sell it all over Washington and Oregon. Besides being a great business line, it helps me keep people employed year-round,” says Dan. “It reduces turnover and training costs, and makes things run more smoothly. A bonus for customers is that long-time employees get to know them better and know what they want.” Lael’s is able to keep five people employed during the winter months.

Staff increases to 8 to 10 people in spring and summer, when the most popular items are garden soils, barks, and dirt for landscapes. And of course, Lael’s carries many kinds of stone, pavers, rock, bricks, patio stone, and boulders to name a few. Dan’s love of stone can be seen around the property. You’ll find several examples of ways to use stone around your home set up around the lot, including a walkway with various pavers and bricks to show you what each looks like in that setting.

Lael's Landscape and Stone Supply
Dan Lael shows the different material that can be used for a walkway. Photo credit: Nancy Keaton.

Lael’s is happy to help customers decide on their landscaping needs and what works best for where they live. “For instance, Rochester and Toledo have very different dirt and what they require,” he explains. “We have to make sure we’re communicating well with the customer and what they want. Bring us your Pinterest pictures and we can help you figure it all out.”

Lael’s Landscape and Stone Supply
1301 W. Reynolds
Centralia WA
Or follow Lael’s on Facebook.


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