2010 - Volume #34, Issue #2, Page #06[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
How To Set Up Your Own Corn Maze
"Many of my customers are people who want to do most of the work themselves," says Don Watts, a graphic arts designer and owner of Newtown Graphics based in Warrington, Penn.
For an average price of $1,200 to $1,500 on a 5 to 8 acre maze, he creates the design, cuts it with a zero-turn mower when the corn is a couple feet tall and gives the customer a full-color flyer to make copies for distribution.
"I keep it inexpensive," Watts says. "I do the minimal amount of work that customers want. They maintain the maze."
The first maze Watts created was for his brother in 1989. After that other farmers asked him to design mazes for them, and his business grew. For an extra fee to cover travel expenses, his service area covers everything from Michigan to Georgia, over to the East Coast and up to Maine.
The work starts with the design. Watts finds out what the customer wants and what will work on the site. He tweaks the design until the customer is satisfied, then sets up the GPS coordinates. When the corn is tall enough, he travels to the site and cuts the design.
Watts recommends that customers call him before they plant so they know the best way to set up the field.
"We encourage customers to plant in a crisscross pattern," Watts says. "It makes the corn stronger to hold up in a strong wind." It also prevents people from straying off the path and walking between corn rows.
The graphic designer also spends a lot of time helping customers know what will work.
"Some designs are too intricate," he explains. "Cutting a maze is like drawing with a 5-ft. wide crayon on a large piece of paper."
Still, he has created impressive detail in some of his mazes, such as a Chinese dragon he designed last year. He's also created symmetrical English hedgerow patterns for customers and a variety of rural themes - tractors, animals, foods, and more.
Besides corn, Watts works with other crops, such as permanent grass mazes. He's also putting together games and puzzles to add to the maze experience.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Newtown Graphics, 505 Starflower Street, Warrington, Penn. 18976 (ph 215 918-2996; www.newtowngraphics.com).
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