ELK GROVE (CBS13) – Owners of a private oasis tucked away in Elk Grove are getting ready for a busy summer. That’s because they’ll be hosting a whole lot of parties in their own backyard.

Thirty-six years ago, Vicki and Rich Walker would have never imagined their three-acre home would be transformed into sprawling Wisteria Gardens.

“All of this has grown. I can’t even believe it,” said Rich Walker.

“They say, ‘I’ve driven by here a hundred times and I am just shocked that this is back here,’” said Vicki.

It’s now a backdrop for one of the most special days in a couple’s life.

“When you see a bride and groom coming holding hands going on the tour, that’s what I love,” said Vicki.

The Walkers are in their second full wedding season.

“My husband had project after project after project,” said Vicki.

Their first business, Villa Iron, took a hit during tough economic times.

“I had men that I had to let go that I had with me for 30 years,” said Rich. “They were like family.”

From 17 employees down to four, and that’s when the Walkers decided to open their home as a wedding venue.

“With the economy the way it is, people don’t spend the money on hand-forged goods,” said Rich.

But the grounds here sell themselves. Rich would come home after a long day and spend hours working with no idea of what the future would bring.

“If I was stressed or whatever, I would pick a project in one area,” said Rich. “I never had a major plan. It just developed from there and I never stopped.”

And they’re not stopping now.

“I love to see the weddings and young people. They’re so nice,” said Rich.

“If I can help them on that special day it’s all worth it,” said Vicki. “It’s all worth it.”

They say the past couple of years have been more successful than they expected, and they hope to see many more couples tie the knot.

“So far so good, and we hope to have it even better,” said Rich.

The Walkers Villa Iron Works is still in business. Many of the company’s pieces are display at Wisteria Gardens.


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