North Coast Journal CALIFORNIA LANDSCAPE CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION
November Dinner Mixer
Tuesday November 16, 2010
Rooster Run Golf Club 6:00 PM
New Members & Students For Existing Members $30 with RSVP ($35 at the door)
Your Dinners are FREE
Come help us welcome all the new members who have joined our chapter in the last year and also meet & encourage students who have chosen some form of landscaping as their field of study. See RSVP flier Inside Holiday Party & Casino NighT
Friday December 3, 2010 Rooster Run Golf Club 6:00 PM Dinner, Gaming, Raffle and LEAF Fundraiser
Coast Chapter Events
November 16th - New Member and Student – Meet and Greet - Rooster Run in Petaluma December 3rd - Holiday Party & Casino Night (LEAF Fundraiser) – Rooster Run CLCA North Coast Chapter
PRESORTED STANDARD MAIL U.S. POSTAGE PAID PERMIT #105 PETALUMA, CA
North Coast Chapter
P.O. Box 1621 Sebastopol, CA 95473
RESPECT THE EARTH…
November 2010 In this Issue PAGE 2 ………….…First Trees for 9/11 Memorial Plaza PAGE 4……………..Russian River Friendly Landscaping – Debra Lane PAGE 6….................5 Benefits of Blogging for Small Business – Carolyn Higgins PAGE 8……………..What’s Up with my Bid? – Susie Dowd Markarian PAGE 11……………Vegetated or Living Walls – The Next Big Thing PAGE 16……………Linda Novy on “Communicating the Message” PAGE 18……………Green Homes PAGE 19…………....Save Money – Save Water This Publication is Printed on Recycled Paper North Coast Chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association
First Trees for 9/11 Memorial Plaza The first 16 swamp white oaks for the 9/11 Memorial Plaza were transported from this plot of land in Millstone Township, N.J. to the 9/11 Memorial Plaza in Manhattan. Photo: Environmental Design
The end of Aug. marked the planting of the first swamp white oaks at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza at the World Trade Center site. The trees came from New York, Pennsylvania and D.C. and have been growing for four years on land leased by Halka Nurseries of Millstone Township, N.J. to Environmental Design of Huston, Texas. Environmental Design has the job of growing, tending to and transporting the trees. Flatbed trucks delivered the first of 437 swamp white oaks planned for the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. The trees will create an urban forest within the cobblestone plaza. Swamp white oaks were selected for their good looks and hardiness. They will grow to a stately 60-80 ft. tall. A full-time arborist will care for the mini urban forest atop the land. The arborist's job is made easier by subterranean irrigation that will water and fertilize the trees. Sensors in the root balls allow remote monitoring of soil moisture and temperature. Integrated in the plaza are two massive square pools, each nearly one-acre in size, placed where the Twin Towers stood. Water will cascade down the sides of the pools. The 9/11 Memorial Foundation says these cascades will be the largest manmade waterfalls in the country. The names of those killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon, and the February 1993 World Trade Center bombing will be will be inscribed on parapets surrounding the pools. Commuter train platforms and a parking garage are being built under the plaza. The memorial design is the creation of architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker
â€œWhere flowers bloom so does hope.â€? - Lady Bird Johnson
Page 3 North Coast Chapter Board Members Chairman of the Board – Past President Brigid Flagerman Bertotti Landscaping (415) 720-0065 email@example.com
Resource Chair Susie Dowd Markarian Susie Dowd Markarian Design (707) 546-6221 firstname.lastname@example.org
President Charlie Thompson Cagwin & Dorward (415) 892-7710 Charlie.Thompson@cagwin.com
CLT State Committee Liaison Dave Iribarne City of Petaluma (707) 778-4591 email@example.com
Secretary Ben Kopshever Sonoma Mountain Landscape (707) 695-2429 firstname.lastname@example.org
Programs Co-Chairs Owen Mitchell Mitchell Landscapes (415) 717-6214 email@example.com
Treasurer Lisa Stratton Cagwin & Dorward (415) 798-1753 firstname.lastname@example.org Web Guru Michael O’Connell O’Connell Landscape (707) 462-9729 email@example.com Associate Member Chair Russ Clarke Park Ave Turf (707) 217-9669 firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership Co-Chairs Kevin Kohl Ewing Irrigation (707) 457-9530 email@example.com Jeff Hausman Gardenworks, Inc. (707) 974-5799 firstname.lastname@example.org Salvador Ledezma Jr. Gardenworks, Inc (707) 974-5800 email@example.com Chapter General Board Members
Tyler Doherty Cal West Rentals (707) 694-9108 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Jones John Deere Landscapes (925) 595-6115 email@example.com
Legislative Chair Chris Zaim Akita Landscape (707) 486-2548 firstname.lastname@example.org Education Co-Chairs Luis Lua Cagwin & Dorward (415) 720-6624 Will Jenkel Lampson Tractor (707) 206-2294 email@example.com
Kjell Kallman Grab n’ Grow (707) 333-7694 firstname.lastname@example.org
North Coast CLCA Executive Director Journal Editor
Connie Salinas P.O. Box 1621 Sebastopol, CA 95473 Phone 707-829-5487 Fax 707-829-5487 email@example.com
CLCA 2010 State Officers PRESIDENT William Schnetz, CLP Schnetz Landscape, Inc Phone: (760) 591-3453 firstname.lastname@example.org PRESIDENT-ELECT Robert Wade, CLP,CLIA Wade Landscape Phone: (949) 494-2130 WLI2006@gmail.com EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Sharon McGuire Phone: (800) 448-2522, ext. 13 FAX: (916) 446-7692 email@example.com
Russian River Friendly Landscaping Our North Coast Chapter President, Charlie Thompson, had a chance to interview Debra Lane about the new Russian River-Friendly Landscape Guidelines recently. Debra Lane | Water Conservation Representative •
CharlieThompson: What are the Russian River-Friendly Landscape Guidelines?
Debra Lane: The Russian RiverFriendly Landscape Guidelines is a publication that has just been developed by the Russian River Watershed Association in partnership with StopWaste.Org. I know many folks know about Bay-Friendly Landscaping which was created by StopWaste.Org…well, we took the Bay-Friendly Landscape Guidelines and adopted them for the Russian River Watershed. It incorporates the same Menu of Best Practices which is such a simple and eloquent system of holistic landscaping that includes elements like nurturing the soil, landscaping for less to the landfill and conserving water. We also gathered and included quotes from North Bay landscape industry professionals who are using Russian River-Friendly practices and added some public agency perspective. And of course we included lots of pictures of local Russian River-Friendly landscapes. It really came out great and we are so excited to be introducing our community to the guidelines! • •
CT: Who is the Russian River Watershed Association? DL: The RRWA is an association of nine cities, counties and special districts in the Russian River Watershed. They have come together to create regional programs for clean water, fisheries restoration and watershed enhancement. So it was a natural fit for the home of the Russian River- Friendly Program. The RRWA website, which is also where everyone can find info on the upcoming workshop is www.rrwatershed.org
CT: When is the introductory workshop? DL: Good question! It is on Tuesday, Nov 16th from 7:30-11:30am at the Finley Community Center at 2060 West College Ave in Santa Rosa and it is free.
CT: What will be on the agenda? DL: Cynthia Havstad who is a Program Manager at StopWaste will be giving an introduction to the Guidelines. David Noren who is the Vice-Chair of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board will give a short presentation on their perspective of these guidelines, which should be of keen interest to the landscape community because we are seeing increased regulation of stormwater quality, and landscape management is a critical component of this. There will also be a few presentations from local industry folks who are implementing Russian River-Friendly practices, including Kate Frey, the Director of the Sustainable Landscape Certification Program at Sonoma State and Brock Dolman who is the Director of Occidental Arts and Ecology Center’s Water Institute.
Page 5 •
CT: How do folks sign up for the event? DL: There is a sign-up sheet included in this month’s newsletter which can be filled out and faxed or mailed in, or they can send an email and include all of their contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org .
CT: As a contractor, how could these Guidelines benefit my business? DL: These Guidelines are a great tool for the contractor who is interested in building a business based on using environmentally friendly practices or one who is already on that track. It is packed with educational information that can help the contractor talk with their customers and show them the value of implementing Russian River-Friendly landscape practices. It is also an awesome resource document. There are pages and pages of local resources, library lists, training opportunities, etc. Also, I think these Guidelines help make the connection with all of the developing business opportunities for the contractor. Landscapes are getting increasing scrutiny in terms of resource management and water quality issues. This translates into many new opportunities using not only Russian RiverFriendly maintenance and design practices but also incorporating the ability to design and/or install Graywater systems, rainwater harvesting and effective stormwater design features like bioswales.
CT: How could my customers benefit from these guidelines? DL: A Russian River-Friendly landscape requires less of everything and that’s economically sound. Certainly by reducing inputs like water consumption, the customer is going to save money. But there is also the feel good aspect. It feels good to be able to have a beautiful landscape that is also healthy for our planet.
Steam Weeds Away The Greensteam 5000 machines are patrolling the streets of San Francisco, annihilating unwanted weeds using steam instead of herbicides. The City's Park and Rec Department recently purchased one for every Park Service Area. These high-tech gardening machines are the first of their kind in the United States. Each machine runs on a couple of gallons of water, a 12volt battery, and a small propane tank. The direct application of high-temperature stream ''explodes the cells'' of the offending plant, killing it down to its roots. The machines work well on sidewalk intruders surrounded by concrete. A set of solid wheels allows them to be easily carted around, and a brake prevents downhill runaways.
~ Just as energy is the basis of life itself, and ideas the source of innovation, so is innovation the vital spark of all human change, improvement and progress. ~ Ted Levitt ~ He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator. ~ Francis Bacon
5 Benefits of Blogging for Small Business
by Carolyn Higgins
Did you know that 77% of all adults research online before shopping for a local product or service (according to the Kelsey Group)? Did you know that 36% of US adults think more positively about companies that blog? (According to Universal McCann Wave3 research). So really why does a small business, say the quaint gift shop in Downtown Petaluma or the Landscaper in Cotati really need a blog? Does it really make sense? Well, I’m going to give you 5 good reasons why every small business needs a blog. 1. Blogging helps you get found. The fact is, blogging helps with SEO – that big scary acronym we in marketing and social media like to throw around is simply “Search Engine Optimization”. What does it mean in the real world? It simply means that every time you post fresh content to your website or blog, Google’s site-crawling robots jump up and down like high school cheerleaders hyped up on Red Bull cheering, “New content, New content, Rah Rah Rah.. Let’s Go!” Search Engines love new stuff and their “spiders” will crawl sites with new, quality content more frequently. So the more you post, the more authoritative your site becomes. In the search engine world that means your chances of getting found when people start Googling “unique gifts in Fairfield, CA” or “fence repair in Anytown USA” will be greater. 2. Blogging builds trust. What is marketing? Marketing is getting people who have a need to know, like, trust, and want to buy from you. How are people going to get to know like and trust you if you hang out in your store or office all day and they never get to hear all of your wonderful and creative ideas, experience and expertise? Blogging is such a great way to reach large numbers of people (yes even local people) that you would never be able to reach offline. By writing quality blogs about your industry, your customers, and your business – making it fun and informative (and without selling) your target market is going to start realizing that you know your stuff. They are going to start turning to you as a trusted source and an educator. People like to buy from competent businesses. We as consumers want to trust our fence builder, chiropractor, or marketing coach before we work with them. How can we do that if we don’t know them? Blogging gives us, as small businesses the perfect avenue for showing people that we know our stuff; we are knowledgeable, friendly, consistent, and maybe even kinda fun! 3. Blogging positions you as an expert. In addition to building trust, blogging allows you to show the world how much you know about your business and industry. Blogging is a way to tell masses of people all at once that you understand them; you know how to solve their problem or fulfill their need. By telling stories and sharing facts and tips and advice you are not only telling, but demonstrating that you are an authority in your field. By writing helpful and thoughtful content, you are building trust and qualifying yourself as a go-to resource for information; creating that great top-of-mind awareness we all want when our prospects make the move to buy! 4. Blogging opens a dialogue with/engages your target market- What a better way to get your audience / target market engaged than by writing provocative and thoughtful blogs? You can use your blog to do research even. Ask a question and invite people to comment. Learn about what is missing in your industry or what your readers would like to learn about – and respond to those comments. Voila – you are engaging your audience – you are getting them interested in your subject matter. Even if they don’t post comments, they have clicked on some link somewhere to come to your blog, so you have already engaged them. With an RSS feed on your blog, readers can subscribe, so every time you post something new they automatically get it. This is how you build a following.
Page 7 5. Blogging broadens your audience. How many new prospects do you talk to on a daily basis? Sure, you may belong to some networking groups; you may even do some cold calling. But what if you could get people to like and trust you enough to want to buy from you? That is what blogging does. Again, writing relevant and helpful content will not only attract people that you would never be able to reach with your usual sales and advertising tactics- but it helps them get to know you, like you and trust you. Another benefit is that people share them. Many people will post an interesting, insightful, educational or funny blog to Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn – or in some cases all three, instantly broadening your reach exponentially. Think about how that expands your reach and broadens your audience. And the best part – it’s free!!! Yes, you may need to spend an hour or so writing something a couple of times a week – but how many cold calls would you have to make to reach the same number of people you can reach online with great content (potentially thousands in seconds!) About Author Carolyn Higgins Author Carolyn Higgins is the President and founder of Fortune Marketing Company. Her personal mission is to help small businesses stop wasting money on advertising and promotions that don’t deliver and install marketing systems that bring you more customers and more revenue– consistently. For more information about Fortune Marketing Company visit: http://FortuneMarketingCompany.com or http://FortuneMarketingCompany.com/marketing-blog
Do you want to more tips and ideas for marketing your business? Download our free report: "7 Steps to Marketing Success" http://fortunemarketingcompany.com/free-report/
What’s Up with My Bid ? By Susie Dowd Markarian- Landscape Designer
Ever wonder what happens between the time of your bid submittal presentation, and the final selection decision, by the client? A LOT! If you could be a fly on the wall you may be surprised by what you’d hear. It is NOT always as one would imagine, LOW BID gets the project. In fact in recent presentations I had witnessed, even in this low economy, the lowest price was not the selling factor. I have had the opportunity over the years to witness some interesting dialog during the selection process. I found an interesting thread woven through the fabric on awarding bids, there IS something that separates the winners from the losers. How come (blank company name) did not … do the following ?... Or so and so- did not seem prepared or even interested. PRESENTING PRICING Call ahead to confirm appointment • Present numbers in a ‘Professional ‘manner; use letterhead, add a cover letter describing your company, or a brochure. Include a client list and testimonials. •
Remember, this may be the first time this client has heard of your company, and as the saying goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression; add photos and samples of projects that may be similar to the one you are bidding, illustrating your talents in working with the concepts on past projects.
When you Open the folder and lay out the paperwork, is there a copy for everyone at the table?
Do you present you numbers in a Lump Sum? Or do you break the items out in detail as line items? This is one of those subliminal tactics that I am aware must have some physiological impact on the client. I notice this is the time when smiles and small talk abruptly ends, and the serious business takes hold. THEY ALL SCAN THE PAGES looking FOR THE ‘TOTAL OVERALL COST’… LUMP SUM pricing is a big turnoff. People want to know EXACTLY where their money is going, and how much everything cost. Line item detailing with summary is most welcome by everyone I sit down with. Take time and fill in the blanks with lots of narrative and pricing. There is of course, a much lesser impact if the sub totals are brought off to the side… $ 3,000 for this, $ 14,000 for that… $ 6,500 for that…..and those that’s , better have a quantity next to them. 30 yards of this, 500 lin. Ft of that etc .
Some bidders place their total cost at the top of the first page, right side, then begin to list the break down of those cost, - some show the total at the bottom of the last page, some show their overhead % and percentage of operation cost, while others bury those numbers in the line items. Some bid high and hope to explain those numbers, other only show only ‘valued added’ ( lowest material pricing) just to get in the door. Some think GETTING IN THE DOOR, AND LEAVING WITH A SIGNATURE IS THE GOAL.. others feel honesty and open bookkeeping is a better approach.
These differences are what drive the client crazy. HOW COME, the same number of cu. Yardage of materials can vary from one company to another. How come one guy will use 40 yards while the other only 10? Or How come the pricing on exact cu. Yardage varies so much.
There is NO PAT answer, I tell them….and explain as best I can the differences and what creates those……. And I tell you this:
It is all about relationship! You want and need to have a good on-going relationship with the client from day one, to the final payoff. That is where your next job comes from. The job you are on today! YOUR REPUTATION is all you have at the end of the day! Continued on next Page
PRESENTING ONESELF Have respect for your personal image too. It is better to over dress than under dress. Ask yourself. “ How do I look? Are my clothes clean”? Do I represent my company with the best foot forward? Speaking of foot…offer to take your shoes off, when entering into a residence. Do you seem enthusiastic and eager to talk with the clients, give them eye contact, and get right to the point? Or do you dally, appear nervous or unorganized? • • • • • • • • •
TELL ME, HOW DO YOU SELL YOUR COMPANY? Do you go into a narrative on ROI = Return on Investment? Do you discuss Price vs. Value? Are you strong on the current trends? Sustainability, Water Conservation; organics; other items that could place you above others? Do you offer added services, time-lines, and schedules; Do you offer warrantees and post maintenance? Do you provide a written mission statement? Are you proud of… or come off as arrogant about your talents? Do you name drop? Do you talk too much about yourself, your awards and your reasons why you think you are the best? DO YOU REALLY WANT THIS JOB?
Here are a few unfortunate circumstances that I have seen ruin a good company’s reputation. Proactive Approach vs. Bad Manners 1. Trash talking about your competitor or the designer, architect. Only makes you look bad. Do you gossip the latest dirt you’re heard about the other company? Refrain! 2. Are you sending a message through your behavior? Lackadaisical about being there in the first place, ho-hum about the type of project this is or do not look interested in working on the project at all. Appear distracted, looking at your blackberry or texting while in front of the client? Do you argue or raise your voice? 3. Negative attitudes ruin everything. Statements like “ I would do this differently; second guessing the clients desires or the concepts presented or telling them they are making a mistake if they do (blank) does not warrant their trust. Comments like “ we ALWAYS do it this way”, in a tone of voice that is derogatory or arrogant does not help you win them over either LEAVE AN ARROGRANT OR NEGATIVE ATTIUDE AT THE DOOR… use an upbeat tone with a proactive approach describing how your company will work closely to problem solve concepts or work out the field conditions can showcase your willingness to work in a collaborative environment. Shooting Yourself in the Foot (Mouth) 4. I once witnessed a bidder discussing within reach of the corporate board they were soon to be presenting in front of, very negative comments about the process, the project and how they were a shoe-in for the job. .How they were going to cut corners etc. NOT KNOWING who those people were walking in front of them down the hallway! Not only did they not get the job, they shot themselves in the foot before the numbers were even presented… plus they were also 4 X higher then the other two companies bidding. And they lost the contract on other projects with this corporation. Positive Approach 5. Have you tried mentioning that the project is exactly what you are looking for and really are enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with them? 6. Show your passion and eagerness to give the best. FOLLOWING UP? While awaiting the results do you check in with the client to see if they have any questions or items that require clarification?
Vegetated or Living Walls: The Next Big Thing? The vegetated or living wall of Patrick Blanc at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris comprises 15,000 plants and 150 different species. His method is based on “hydroponics,” the use of water and dissolved minerals. There is no soil. Sunlight and photosynthesis do nature’s work.
Vegetated or living walls and vertical gardens are beginning to get traction in the U.S., thanks mostly to the intriguing vegetated walls of Patrick Blanc that have been popping up around Europe since the 1990s (more on that shortly). A fair number of websites are now devoted to vegetated walls, including a few companies selling vegetated retaining walls. There are blogs devoted to vegetated walls, including one on the website of the L.A. Times that questioned their viability and utility in the Los Angeles urban environment. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/home_blog/2010/08/vertical-gardens-skeptic.html LASN sought the advise of a landscape architect that has studied vegetated walls: April Philips, ASLA, Bay Friendly QP, the principal of April Philips Design Works, Inc. of San Rafael, Calif. She writes a blog for the ASLA Sustainable Design & Development Professional Practice Network (PPN) http://sustainableppn.asla.org/2010/05/24/living-walls-confidential/. “Living walls are igniting the imagination of designers everywhere,” she writes on her blog. “And what is not to like, for as encapsulated visions of nature with their seemingly perfect beauty contained on a wall or screen, they tend to idealize nature in the urban realm?” First, it’s important to define terms, as the term “living walls” is being used “without a shared understanding” of what that means and how they perform, she says. “Living walls” does not mean traditional green facades on stonewall, or solid surfaces with growing vines. Nor does it refer to the new semitransparent frames for vines as “curtains,” such as GreenScreen (metal grids) and Jakob (steel cables). Defining Terms Nigel Dunnett and Noel Kingsbury in Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls define living walls as plants rooted in a growing medium on the outward face of the wall rather than behind the wall facade. “Hydroponics,” vegetated mats and living fences all qualify as living walls. Hydroponics was pioneered by Patrick Blanc, a French researcher, designer and tropical botanist. His system grows the plants without soil, using a balance of water and nutrients. In lieu of soil is a wool felt-like blanket for roots to take hold, a waterproof backing (PVC sheet) and drip irrigation to keep the felt wet. There is normally a pump to recirculate water collected at the base of the wall. If the plant selection is appropriate for the climate, maintenance is minimal, just annual clipping and removal of dead foliage. Continued on next page
Challenges Not all vegetated walls are easy to grow or maintain. Ms. Philips notes a recent failure for an interior moss wall at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. They could not get the right mix of light and water nutrients, and so the moss wall was nixed before the museum opened. These walls, she says, are more water and resources dependent, use more energy and are more costly than other living wall types. Another challenge for living walls are vegetation mats, a system used on green roofs that consists of drought-resistant sedums. Walls do not receive direct rainfall or direct sunlight and have to deal with direct wind. “Add a thin layer of soil substrate and the additional shade effect on the lower portions of the wall and you have a less friendly plant environment than a roof top,” Ms. Philips explains. She warns that vertical sedum walls may look lush, but their long-term success is not guaranteed. She notes a succulent wall at Flora Grubb Nursery, which has inspired a thousand imitations in the past couple years, now looks tired and not so photogenic. The reason is the succulents move and “grow leggy” as they mature. Many of the succulents have moved from their initial planting spots and left vacant areas of substrate. She believes additional drip irrigation and pinning of the mats to hold soil and plants to the supporting structure may help prolong the life of matting systems. Some vegetation structures (Tourensol SiteWorks and Green Living Technologies) angle the support structures for the vegetation to get more sunlight and rain capture. “Some of the companies with the modular systems allow designers, ecologists and landscape architects the ability to collaborate on the plant pallette to be used and some do not, keeping to more commercially viable alternatives to limit their liability exposure. In general, more collaboration will allow for greater biodiversity and habitat to be developed in these systems,” she adds. The Focus Ms. Philips told LASN her focus now is on trying to look at the pros and cons of various systems before recommending them to clients. “I have had mixed results already due to the lack of information or understanding on the complexity of what these type of systems require for design/install/upkeep and want to be able to adapt my thinking/lessons learned for my future projects on the boards.” April Philips is currently doing a few vertical garden tests at her studio, as she receives modules from vendors. One installation is an edible garden at a middle school that uses “Woolly Pockets.” Woolly Pockets are hanging containers from recycled plastic bottles to hold soil, compost and plants. The pockets will be hung onto a Woolly Pocket wall next to the kitchen as an edible vertical garden or living wall. April awaits the day when the kids will say, “Let’s eat the wall!”
Our Own Bertotti Landscaping has Grown & Installed Three Living Walls and is Currently Growing a Fourth Tony & Kim Bertotti from Bertotti Landscaping and Buckeye Nursery in Petaluma have been using a Fyto Wall product to construct and grow living walls for residences in northern and southern California over the last year or so.
Notes From Our Webmaster: Michael O’Connell – O’Connell Landscape
Are incentives the best way to motivate employees? by Michael O'Connell During these challenging economic times, many companies’ revenues are down, and as a result salaries have been cut. A potential solution may be more incentive based bonuses to motivate employees or augment base salaries. The question is, are bonuses the best way to motivate employees? Bonuses have their place, but may not always be the right fit for a particular situation. The counterintuitive nature of incentives has been revealed in the study of Behavioral Economics. That is, people don’t always follow predictable rational economic models, but rather physiological, social, and behavioral influences have significant effects on our behavior. Two great books for exploring more in the field are Sway, by Ori and Ram Brafman, and Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely. These books provide amusing and enlightening examples of these principals. The problem with bonuses can be dependant on whether the elements involved are based on social or market norms. Do your employees relate the aspect of work being bonused with their duty and sense of responsibility on the job, or do they think of it more in terms of their compensation? The answer will likely determine whether the bonus will be effective. Will your employees work improve if you dangle more cash for performance? Perhaps, but be careful. A good example from Sway describes experiments that were done based on incentives and the effect of social and market norms. People from a Swiss town were told about government plans to place a nuclear waste depository nearby. Two scenarios were explored. In the first, townspeople were polled on whether they would support the waste dump. Results showed an approximately even 50/50 split. A second group of townspeople were then asked if they would support they dump if they were compensated yearly a few thousand dollars. A traditional economic model would predict that support would increase with compensation. But, surprisingly, it did not. Support fell to 25% for the dump and 75% against. In the first scenario the townspeople saw acceptance of the dump as doing their duty for the county. Clearly this was a case of a social norm. (Article describing the Swiss Study) When implementing a new bonus program, some polling of employees and experimentation may be needed to find the right blend of incentives. Could an employee of the month certificate improve performance as much as a $250 bonus? Maybe. Don’t assume that employees will follow a traditional economic model.
MORE from Linda Novy - Linda J. Novy & Associates At the September meeting, the topic was branding and marketing our companies. We also touched upon the public’s perception of the landscape industry. Do they see our industry as: • Forward thinking? •
Informed and innovative?
Demonstrating sustainable landscape practices on all our jobs and operations?
Communicating our Message. We all know that each landscape under our stewardship is part of a watershed. Each site deserves thoughtful consideration of how we approach the design, installation, and maintenance. While not every client may accept all our suggestions, we nonetheless need to offer sustainable recommendations that fit within the various categories of our contracts: water management, vegetation management, arborist care, integrated pest management and, I propose, soil management, carbon sequestration and resource recycling and recapture. When we begin communicating our operating principles at the inception of each project, we begin the ecological conversation with our clients and raise the eco-literacy of our community. Environmental Leadership. Two recent articles are worth reading: the California Native Grasslands Association Fall 2010 issue about The Marin Carbon Project: Theory in Practice, and The Economist, September 25-October 1, 2010 issue, featuring The world’s lungs: Forests, and how to save them. These articles point to the carbon sequestration services provided by grasslands, soil and forests. They also point to other ecological services and how they can be enhanced. How can the landscape industry incorporate this important information into our service portfolio and rebrand the beneficial landscape service we provide? This is the important work facing us all. Informed and Engaged. The benchmark Updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Legislation AB 1881 has been translated to every water agency in California. As urban landscape managers, we need to keep our clients informed about new legislation and how it affects their property. For example, on a recent project I neglected to address the local MMWD Ordinance 414 requirements for a plan review. Charlene Burgi, Water Conservation Specialist Supervisor at MMWD, kindly explained the requirements. This experience signaled a need to learn more about the state and local legislation listed below: • SBx7-7, Governor’s 20% by 2020 (20% reduction of urban water use by 2020.) • AB 1881 Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (New landscape ordinance that each region can match or exceed.)
• • • •
AB 1061 Low-Water-Use Plants (Legal support for low-water-use plants.) AB 1793 Artificial Turf (Legal support for artificial turf.) AB 1834 Rainwater (Authorizes support and guidelines for rainwater harvesting.) SB 518 Building Standards, Graywater (This bill paves the way for gray water to be included California Building Standard Codes effective January 1, 2011.)
• Storm Water Permits (Low-impact development techniques such as bio-swales, rain gardens, permeable hardscape…)
Thanks to Charlene for her help with this extensive and welcome list. She also just organized a MMWD workshop in late October. In closing, I am excited about working together as an industry to raise the ecological stewardship “bar.” In so doing, we also change the nature of maintaining our sites. We move from high input/output, task-oriented maintenance work, to being true land managers, guiding and stewarding carbon sequestering, sustainable and beneficial landscapes.
Having been in this business for more than 30 years, I’m more excited about our future than ever! Linda may be contacted at (415) 457-5268.
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Green Homes Landscapers working in the new-homes residential market take note. In its latest report on homebuying trends, Harris Interactive completed a study of American attitudes toward home size preferences. The study found that Americans are veering away from the larger homes placed in close proximity, to smaller homes with larger yards. Harris Interactive is a New York based research firm with annual revenue of $168.4 million from continuing operations, and 800 full time employees.
Only 9 percent of the study’s respondents said their ideal home size is more than 3,200 square feet– the same number who said they’d like their home to be between 800 and 1,400 square feet. Fifty-five percent of Americans would prefer a home between 1,401 and 2,600 square feet. Diane Cheatham, owner of Urban Edge Developers in Dallas, said the average size of home they’re building is 2,200 square feet. She said the trend is toward building green homes instead of big homes. Right now, they’re building a 1,200-square-foot uber-green home for a couple that’s downsizing from 3,000-square feet, Cheatham explained. Landscapers need to learn more about sustainable landscaping to thrive in this new environment. Homebuilders are heeding the call: In a survey of builders last year, nine out of 10 said they planned to build smaller or lower-priced homes. Even in Texas, the land of go big or go home, they’re downsizing.
Now that the rainy season is upon us, the North Coast Journal will feature a new and innovative look at umbrellas throughout the next few issues called……
Umbrella of the month The LightDrops Rain-Powered Electric Umbrella The LightDrops umbrella does precisely what it's name implies-- it turns drops of rain into light. How, you ask? LightDrops employs a conductive membrane called PDVF that converts the kinetic energy of the falling water into electricity in trace amounts. Conceptually, this electricity will be enough to power LEDs within the inside of this umbrella's canopy. So while you're walking through the rain, you're generating renewable energy that yields a stunning, stylish appearance.
Save Water + Save Money, of Course The new study by the Water Research Foundation found few customers were aware of conservation rebate programs, yet their desire for such programs was high. This provides an opportunity for landscape contractors and utilities to promote cost-effective measures that are under utilized, such as repairing irrigation, adjusting plantings, fix leaking plumbing and appliances and replacing water fixtures. The new study released by the found the top reason consumers conserve water is to save money. Researchers surveyed 6,000 residential customers, interviewed water agencies, analyzed billing, and reviewed utility literature to measure the effectiveness of conservation communications campaigns in changing customer behavior. The report Water Conservation: Customer Behavior and Effective Communication (project/order #4012) released this month also found that many customers feel they are already conserving as much water as they can.
Key findings include: The top reasons customers conserve are to save money, followed closely by the idea that it's the right thing to do, and then by concern about water availability. Many customers believed they are already doing all they can to conserve water. Only 9 percent of customers participate in utility rebate programs, but 60 percent said they would participate if they knew about them. Customers say they prefer getting information from bill inserts and television ads. Customers found water supply managers are the most credible source of information about water conservation. Customers distrusted elected officials, the media and retail outlet sales associates.
''These findings will help utilities promote their conservation programs and encourage more people to participate in water conservation,'' said Robert C. Renner, executive director of the Water Research Foundation. ''Because many customers feel they are doing all they can with water conservation, it is important for utilities to clearly communicate an end goal, like reducing water use by 10 percent so that their customers feel like they are doing their part to achieve that goal,'' said Renner.
CLT Training 2010 - Many thanks to many people As always there are so many people to thank for making the CLT Training sessions a success again this year!!! First off, many thanks to Jason North for spearheading the endeavor!!!! Also a big thank you to the following people for helping coordinate and oversee the various classes; Luis Lua, Lisa Stratton, Will Jenkel, Bill Goode and Henry Buder. Of course we are always eternally grateful to Tony & Kim Bertotti for the use of their land for the trainings. Then there were the vendors and landscape companies that helped out by donating either materials, food or their time. The list as follows:
VENDORS Wyatt Irrigation—Phil Wyatt Wheeler Zamaroni-- Scott Akinson Sonomarin Landscape Materials-- Bill Bertalucci Toro Irrigation—Chuck Ludlow Hunter Irrigation—Chris McNairy Pavestone Pavers/ Tejas Nuno de Simas Horizon Irrigation Cal West Rentals—Tyler Doherty Lampson Tractor—Will Jenkel CONTRACTORS Cagwin and Dorward Frank and Grossman Gardeners Guild Inc. Gardenworks Heritage Landscapes Henry Buder Landscape Restoration Bertotti Landscape
Reminder From STATE CLCA – Just want to remind chapter members to send in their dues renewal for the year 2011 if they haven't already done so. Maria Abero – State Headquarters
Letter to The Editor from Kevin Kohl of Ewing Irrigation regarding the article on page 19 of the October issue of this publication. Thanks for the clarification Kevin! “I only have one concern, pertaining to the "Banned Pesticide used in Marin" article. Ronstar is NOT banned for use in Marin County. It is however banned for use on any County of Marin Job, in other words, a job you bid on for the County. You can still use it on commercial sites, golf courses, or any other application stated on the label. It is not labeled for home use. The article in the Marin IJ sparked a lot of concern from contractors who use product, so I called the Marin County Department of AG to verify. I just don't want people to be confused about this, because you can still buy it and use it in the county, just not for the County.”
LANDSCAPES UNLIMITED NURSERY 4330 Bodega Avenue, Petaluma, CA 94952 Phone: (707) 778-0136 Fax: (707) 778-0633
Great One Liners
Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience. I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his bus. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. Children: You spend the first 2 years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next 16 years telling them to sit down and shut-up. The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of payments. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire? Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish? Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night. I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian. The shinbone is a device for finding furniture in a dark room. A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don't need it. Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet? The sole purpose of a child's middle name, is so he can tell when he's really in trouble. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy. Never hit a man with glasses. Hit him with a baseball bat. With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.