City of Glencoe recognizes homeowners with award

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Photo: Robert and Kala Carlson pose beside their newly installed Glencoe Beautification Award flag outside of their home on Tonya Drive. Photo by Kaitlin Hoskins/The Messenger.

By Kaitlin Hoskins, News Editor

The Glencoe Beautification Board recently awarded homeowners the 2023 Beautification Award for their home on Tonya Drive.

Robert and Kala Carlson have been cultivating the perfect home and garden for 17 years.

“It is a labor of love,” Kala said.

The hard yard work is not a chore the Carlsons do begrudgedly. In fact, the couple has formed a bond over the labor.

“We both enjoy it,” Robert said. “That is a plus. We get to spend time together doing this.”

Robert and Kala, who have four children and five grandchildren together, spend several hours a week working in their backyard, but they spend even more hours every week enjoying the fruits of their labor.

“I come out on the back porch for my morning Bible study,” Kala said. “It is the perfect place for reading and relaxing.”

“It is quiet,” Robert added. “We have great neighbors.”

Robert likes spending his time on the back patio, where a large cypress table he built resides.

“There is always a nice breeze out here,” he said. “We didn’t plan for that. There always seems to be a breeze to help keep you cool.”

The cypress table was a stroke of genius, according to Kala. The table legs were found at an antique store and brought back to their Glencoe home. Robert added the cypress wood table top and the finishing touches.

Now, the Carlsons eat outside whenever they can.

The back patio is attached to the couple’s pool house, which has homed family members and friends in need, as well as Robert’s home office during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With my job, I can work from home if I need to,” Robert said. “When COVID started, I turned the pool house into my office.”

Robert is a structural engineer and Kala is a retired elementary school teacher from the Attalla City Schools system.

The couple has become a DIY dream team thanks to their unrelenting work on their yard and home.

“We did it all,” Robert said. “If you can do it yourself, you save money.”

“We did the landscaping and the sodding of the yard,” Kala said.

Kala’s green thumb started when she was younger.

“My grandmother lived in the country,” she said. “She was known for her snowball bushes. She would always cut off pieces of it and root them in water and give them to people. She taught me so much. It really is where I got my love of plants and dirt.”

“She really does love dirt. She just likes to get in the dirt. She has a knack for it,” Robert said.

Kala is working to become a master gardener.

She attributes a lot of her perennial flowers to her aunt Gloria Toney.

They had to replant a lot of flowers after the harsh cold snap earlier this year.

“We easily lost 15 plants, maybe more,” Kala said.

The only plant missing from Kala’s collection is a snowball bush.

“I want one. My grandmother had one and I want one. That would just be so special,” she said.

The plants are not the only thing the Carlsons care for at their Glencoe home. The couple has two dogs, Cooper and Daisy, and one cat named Midnight.

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