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What scrap metal? Hyrum man transforms trash into yard art business

September 15th, 2009 Posted in Business

By Heidi Hansen

HYRUM — For many, old aluminum wheels are considered trash, but for one Hyrum resident, they were the start of a new home business and creative art form.

“It started as an accident. I was throwing away some aluminum wheels and a neighbor said ‘hey, don’t throw those away, they can be yard art,’” Dallas Nielsen, owner of Mountain Yard Art LLC said Monday. “So I welded up a funny looking flower and stuck it in her yard while she was out of town.”

Five years later, Nielsen’s yard is full of original welded yard art decorations and what he calls a “rainy-day business” has earned a name for itself. With little advertising, most customers learn of the business through word of mouth, Nielsen said.

“I enjoy seeing the finishing product and somebody liking my finished product,” Nielsen said about what he likes about owning his own business.

The majority of customers are located in Hyrum and the surrounding area, but he has customers come from Idaho sometimes and his family has sold pieces in Iowa for him, Nielsen said. J & J Nursery in Layton, Utah has ordered a shipment from Nielsen and will be selling Mountain Yard Art to the Davis County area starting in March.

One of his more popular sellers, he calls a “double-spinner,” this is a giant welded flower with two pieces that will spin in opposite directions when it’s windy. He said he also sells a lot of smaller flowers and designs because their quicker to make and more affordable.

A more unique product from Mountain Yard Art is the solar light flowers, in tulip and iris design, that Nielsen rents for weddings. He said he got the idea after buying some solar lights from Wal-Mart and decided to put them inside his welded flowers. Nielsen said his family has used them to illuminate a walk-way at weddings.

Nielsen, who is a full-time machinist by trade and also runs his own part-time landscaping business, Mountain Yard Systems, said he grew up around Hyrum, took welding classes in high school and has enjoyed welding and building ever since.

“I grew up on a dairy farm between Hyrum and Paradise. I hated the cows, but loved the farm work. I guess I’ve fallen into a way to let others pay for my tractor now,” said Nielsen about his career path as machinist, landscaper and artist/welder.

Nielsen said he has considered going full time with Mountain Yard Art forever and says that the company would be able to if he wanted it to and advertised more. However, he said he is afraid that if he gets too busy with it he won’t like it anymore and he wouldn’t be able to train someone to help him.

Mountain Yard Art products run anywhere from $20 to $170 depending on the size of the piece. Nielsen said each one can take three to five hours to make and he usually will make seven or eight pieces at a time.

Nielsen said most of pieces used to be made from scrap metal he found in bone yards, but with increased orders, he said he has begun buying supplies from Ipaco Inc., a steel supplier in west Logan.

His love for welding is evident as one walks around his home. Aside from the yard art pieces on display, a third of his garage is occupied with welding equipment he has tinkered with to make more efficient and his side-yard displays a large enclosed ATV trailer he built himself years ago and a see-saw with wheels he made for his grandchildren.

Nielsen said his welding abilities have also been useful for his landscaping business, where he repairs much of his own equipment.

Nielsen said that because of his businesses, people are often looking for him in Hyrum, so in order to take a break, sometimes he has to get out of town for a few days.

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  1. 2 Responses to “What scrap metal? Hyrum man transforms trash into yard art business”

  2. By Nubie Welder on Oct 7, 2009

    hi… thanks for reference article about welding, your wrote better on your article. keep posting.

  3. By Stephen Clark on Nov 22, 2009

    That’s awesome that you’re able to find a way to reuse the scrap metal and provide financing for your tractor. I’m sure you’ll find with time a way to repurpose those tractor parts too.

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