INSANE POOLS BY LUCAS LAGOONS
DESIGN + BUILD + MAINTAIN LAW OF THE LAND
SEEDS OF SUCCESS
Why Jeff Cartwright went from law to landscaping
How Encore Azalea grew to a major brand
A small Louisiana town builds a world-class park
From current events to equipment reviews
TRI-C ORP DECKING - SIDING - FENCING
THE DISTRIBUTOR OF SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS FOR EXCLUSIVE OUTDOOR PROJECTS
SIGNATURE DECKING & CLADDING Green Living with Bamboo
W E LCO M E design, build and maintain sectors across the South. Not only do we share similar climates and hardiness zones, but common challenges and aspirations. I think by collaborating, we can better ourselves, our businesses and our entire profession. If one good thing has come out of 2020, it’s that we all realized the importance of the outdoors. More people turned to gardening and more families realized the value of outdoor spaces, from their city parks to their own backyards. The jobs we do every day are vital to the wellbeing of so many. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our weekly newsletter and share your ideas and stories with us. We would love to hear from you!
ANGELIQUE AND LAURA
Angelique Robb Managing director firstname.lastname@example.org Laura Lee Editor email@example.com
©Garrie Landry, University of Louisiana
elcome to the inaugural issue of Pro Landscaper USA South! Our parent company has enjoyed a 10-year track record of success in Europe, and we are thrilled to bring the Pro Landscaper brand to 13 states in the Southern US. After growing up in Louisiana and graduating from LSU, I moved to Scotland for 20 years where I founded my own landscape construction business. As a business owner, I relied on Pro Landscaper magazine, The Friday Wrap newsletter and the annual FutureScape event for the latest industry news and inspiring ideas. When I moved back to the States in late 2019, I knew I wanted to bring the magazine’s concept with me. There are many wonderful associations state-wide and around the country that focus on their given trades. But my goal is to unite all the
JUNGLE GARDENS IN AVERY ISLAND, SOUTH LOUISIANA
COVERING: TEXAS, OKLAHOMA, LOUISIANA, ARK ANSAS, MISSISSIPPI, TENNESSEE, ALABAMA, GEORGIA, FLORIDA, NORTH CAROLINA, SOUTH CAROLINA, VIRGINIA AND KENTUCKY
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
INSPIRE 24 28
INFORM 08 10 12 16 17 21
Future Project Moncus Park, Louisiana Law of the Land Cartwright Landscaping, Virginia Mirror Vision Anji Connell
Landscape Architect’s Journal Lori Hawkins, North Carolina
News Our bi-monthly roundup of industry news Agenda The industry’s biggest challenges revealed
Let’s Hear It From Lucas Congdon, Lucas Lagoons 2021 Trends Katie Dubow, Garden Media Group
Company Profile Sabal Landscape Solutions, Florida Winter Wonders Brooke Inzerella, Horticare Landscape
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
Seeds of Success Plant Development Services, Alabama Nursery Focus Plant Delights, North Carolina
J A N UA RY/ F E B R UA RY 2 0 2 1 E D U C AT E 47 51 52 54 56 58 60
Changing the Landscape A culture of diversity Enlightened: Lighting as an Art Form Mark Carlson, Experiential Landscape Lighting Initiative
Designer Drainage Clever solutions Landscaper’s Guide to Social Media Jack Jostes, Ramblin Jackson Innovative Products This year’s must-haves
Zero-Turn Mowers Equipment guide First Downs: Landscaping Success Jeff McManus, Ole Miss
Strong as an Oak John Conroy, Fish Branch Tree Farm Metal Man Randy LeBlanc, Metal Head Little Interviews Questions with individuals who make up our industry
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T E ST I M O N I A LS F I N D O U T W H AT T H E I N D U ST RY T H I N K S O F P R O L A N D S CA P E R . . . “Pro Landscaper’s articles are well-written and get to the heart of the issues facing our industry. I look forward to seeing more.”
FNGL A OUTGOING PRESIDENT, SABAL L ANDSCAPING SOLUTIONS, FL
“I would have to get seven subscriptions to get the same content found in one issue of Pro Landscaper.”
“I thought this publication might be the same as all the other magazines… you know, the ones with limited and recycled information. However, after viewing their current efforts in the UK and South Africa, I found a much higher level of content and experience that is refreshing.”
“The magazine looks top-notch! I look forward to the magazine that you release in the US.”
EXPERIENTIAL LANDSCAPE LIGHTING INITIATIVE (ELLI), CA
FRANK THIBODEAUX BOB’S TREE, L A
“Pro Landscaper is going to make a big impact on the landscape architecture and green industries. It is much needed, and I look forward to seeing you take off.”
“There is really no regional magazine for the Southeastern United States for the commercial horticulture industry at the current time. I think there is a big audience for this, and I hope it can work here.”
L ANDSCAPE ARCHITECT, NC
BRACY’S NURSERY, LSU AGCENTER, L A
CONTACT ProLandscaper USA South 109 S. Lemans St. Lafayette, LA 70503
Managing director Angelique Robb firstname.lastname@example.org (337) 852-6318 Editor Laura Lee email@example.com (850) 266-3996 Printed by LSC Communications www.lsccom.com Published by ©Eljays44 LLC USA
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
DANIEL P. GREENWELL
PIEDMONT TECHNICAL COLLEGE HORTICULTURE PROGRAM DIRECTOR, SC
“The Pro Landscaper team has been instrumental in pulling the industry together since 2011, and focusing the industry’s attention on issues which need to be addressed.” ARALIA GARDEN DESIGN, UK
“Who’s got time to read magazines? Not many of us in the landscaping industry, I bet. That’s why when we do choose to read up on what’s happening in the marketplace, we need it to be concise, useful, clear, interesting, practical and relevant. And that’s what we’ve had from Pro Landscaper and the Eljays44 team since they popped up in our inboxes and mailboxes in 2011. We’re definitely pro-Pro Landscaper.”
PA XMAN L ANDSCAPES, UK
Pro Landscaper is a trademark of Eljays44 Ltd 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)1903 777 570 eljays44.com UK directors Jamie Wilkinson Jamie.firstname.lastname@example.org
ProLandscaper USA South is published six times a year and distributed to 5,000 qualified members of the green industry. Postmaster: Send address changes to 109 S. Lemans St., Lafayette, LA 70503. Pro Landscaper USA South verifies information as much as possible. The views expressed by editorial contributors and the products advertised herein are not necessarily endorsements of the publishers. Reproduction of any part of this magazine is strictly forbidden.
Jim Wilkinson Jim.email@example.com Head of content Nina Mason Designer Kara Thomas Copy editors Sam Seaton Katrina Roy
Cover image ©Lucas Lagoons/Kevin Bowder Photography
I N FO R M
LET’S HEAR IT FROM LUCAS LAGOONS
I N S I D E I N F O R M T H I S M O N T H PAG E 8 R O U N D U P O F I N D U ST RY N E WS , PAG E 1 0 AG E N DA : I N D U ST R Y C H A L L E N G E S , PAG E 1 2 L E T ’ S H E A R I T F R O M : LU C A S C O N G D O N O F LU C A S L AG O O N S , PAG E 1 6 K AT I E D U B O W: T R E N D S I N 2 0 2 1 , PAG E 17 C O M PA N Y P R O F I L E : S A B A L L A N D S C A P E S O LU T I O N S , PAG E 2 1 B R O O K E I N Z E R E L L A : W I N T E R WO N D E R S
GATORS RANKED #1
JOINT INITIATIVE PROVIDES RESOURCES
MC Corporation and the National Association of Landscape Professionals have launched a joint initiative to provide lawn care operators access to a variety of tools and resources. The FMC True Champions program helps small-to-medium-sized lawn care companies ($450k-$850k in annual revenue), transition from working in their business to working on their business. FMC will sponsor a free, one-year NALP membership to companies that meet a
minimum requirement for the promotion. FMC True Champion program members will receive a discount for the following two years of NALP membership to allow LCOs to become fully engaged with the association. Companies enrolled in the program will also receive a complimentary registration to select NALP education events, ensuring they have every opportunity to access networking and education to help them grow professionally. fmctruechampions.com
niversity of Florida tops the list of “13 Best Landscape Design Schools in the World,” according to a November report from the World Scholarship Forum. The University of Florida’s College of Design, Construction and Planning offers a five-year bachelor’s program in landscape architecture. The college is touted for its internship program and its Center for Landscape Conservation Planning. Southern schools from the USA making the list were Virginia Polytechnic Institute (11th) and Texas A&M University (12th). Other top schools from around the world, in order of ranking, include The University of Greenwich (UK), University of New South Wales (Australia), Cornell University, Purdue University, University of California—Berkeley, University of Gloucestershire (UK), Queensland University of Technology (Australia), University of Connecticut, University of Illinois and University of Wisconsin—Madison. worldscholarshipforum.com
CONSUMERS INVEST IN OUTDOOR SPACES
Photographs © Kindred
ccording to Fixr, a leading home improvement website, consumers will continue to invest in outdoor spaces in 2021. In 2020, homeowners indicated the following areas they wished to renovate or build: outdoor kitchens (41%), patios (22%), outdoor living room (14%), decks (14%), porches (8%) and lounges (2%). fixr.com
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
SAVE THE DATE
THE FLORIDA NURSERY, GROWERS AND LANDSCAPE ASSOCIATION (FNGLA)
alt Disney World will host its annual Epcot Flower & Garden Festival March 4-June 1.* Surround yourself with the beautiful sights and sounds of nature as you weave your way through breathtaking flower beds, plots of plant life and wildlife habitats. Don’t miss special exhibits, innovative solutions and
sustainable practices presented by experts and geared for professionals and consumers alike. *Event information was accurate at the time of publication. Please check current event details on our website at south.prolandscaperusa.com disneyworld.disney.go.com
2021 PL ANTS OF THE YE AR ANNOUNCED
he National Garden Bureau has named the 2021 Plants of the Year. The program was developed to help breeders, brokers, seed companies, growers, nurseries and garden centers increase sales by encouraging consumers to discover and embrace five specially selected plant classes. For 2021, they are: • Annual: Year of the Sunflower, a popular flower that just screams summer. • Vegetable/edible: Year of the Garden Bean, a variety of sizes and colors make this a fun and easy crop to grow. • Perennial: Year of the Monarda, a fantastic pollinator plant in many new colors and habits. • Bulb: Year of the Hyacinth, an ongoing favorite because of the heavenly scent and spring colors. • Flowering Shrub: Year of the Hardy Hibiscus, a fast-growing native perennial sure to wow with its tropical look.
The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) is moving its annual event online January 20-22. TPIE will deliver online the TPIE Opening Session with Max Luthy, and the educational sessions which were to take place at the show. TPIE will continue to serve as a conduit between buyers and exhibitors, offering targeted information on plant availability, showcasing exhibitors, plants, products and more. “FNGLA’s volunteer leaders and staff hope you, your families and employees are faring well and you carry within you a resolute determination that we will prevail through this pandemic,” says Martin Hackney, FNGLA president. fngla.org
THE AMERICA GREEN ZONE ALLIANCE The American Green Zone Alliance will launch its online Green Zone Service Pro Certification course in mid January. The course will educate the grounds maintenance industry on how to implement and scale gas alternative technology and operations for a quieter and cleaner future. agza.net
GULF STATES HORTICULTURAL EXPO Each choice is easy to grow, genetically diverse and includes lots of new varieties— all traits that will help consumers and their gardens flourish. To help retailers and educators spread the word and the use of this program, NGB offers free promotional materials including fact sheets, signage and photos. ngb.org
The Gulf States Horticultural Expo, scheduled for Jan. 21-22 in Mobile, has been canceled due to COVID-19. The GSHE Board of Directors will miss visiting with friends and colleagues and asks that professionals mark their calendars for Jan. 20-21, 2022. gshe.org
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST ISSUES FACING THE INDUSTRY IN
F. Todd Lasseigne
FORMER FOUNDER / PRESIDENT OF GRE ATER TEX AS L ANDSCAPES
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BELLINGRATH GARDENS & HOME, ALABAMA
We need to focus on the human-side of the industry. Inclusion has always been an issue, but that gets pushed aside when we’re focusing on our bottom line. If we say that we put people first, and employees are the most important asset, then we need to act like it. We can start by asking the people who are affected how to make real change.
We’ve seen good and bad with the pandemic. Retail, mail order and seed are going well but some in the landscape sector have been hit hard in some sections of the country. With plant production, you’re working with living organisms that must grow. It takes time. You can’t crank them out of a factory. If we see mass layoffs, that would impact housing, which could impact landscaping and allied trades. It’s a hard time to figure things out.
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
Torey Carter-Conneen PRESIDENT OF ASLA, WASHINGTON, D.C. At this very important moment in our country and our world, it is essential that we work together to solve our biggest problems – bridging deep, tribal divisions, creating new opportunities and rebuilding a sense of community at a time of fear and isolation. It is going to take innovative and thoughtful solutions to tightly weave the fabric of our society back together. ASLA is an organization with a rich history and significant role to play leading this work, both in the design world and beyond it.
Shawn Thomas OWNER OF SABAL LANDSCAPES, FLORIDA One hot button in Florida right now is workforce. Our state alone could use about 200,000 more workers in the landscaping industry. Immigration programs, when you use the right channels, are expensive and high schools are cutting vocational programs, so you don’t have a bunch of kids here wanting to go into landscaping either.
OLE MISS, DIRECTOR OF L ANDSCAPE SERVICES, MISSISSIPPI
OPERATIONS/GROUNDS SERVICES DIRECTOR, LSI, TENNESSEE
OWNER, FISH BRANCH TREE FARM, FLORIDA
The workforce. We have to get smarter. How does artificial intelligence play a role in helping us? There are some companies addressing that in mowing but at some point, the labor is going to have to be addressed. I’m probably going to be hiring computer programmers rather than mowers down the road.
Labor is the biggest challenge and most consistent. There is a shortage of skilled labor so our teams are learning to adapt and retain their people while training the next generation of landscapers.
There is no single challenge. Over time the threats change but certainly economic, political and social forces are always factors. Then there are the disconnects between disciplines within the industry. And a basic challenge for many is a labor shortage.
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, BORAL, GEORGIA
DIRECTOR OF TRAILS AND GROUNDS, CRYSTAL BRIDGES, ARK ANSAS
COO LANDPATTERNS, NALP YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YE AR, TEX AS
I hope it’s ‘how to keep up?’ I think COVID-19 has changed the perception of what we think are safe spaces to live and enjoy life. Outdoor activities, outdoor work and living are all on the rise as we clamor to find life experiences in a safe way. I think the landscape industry has a great opportunity to become a bigger than ever part of the American way.
Labor is a commodity that is so valuable, and finding a good workforce is challenging. We aren’t just mowing lawns or trimming trees; our industry is much more than that. We need to train our people to be more specialized, then provide them with a better pay scale, supplementing some of our labor with technology like autonomous mowers.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are transforming their backyards into full outdoor living experiences. Since we expect interest in outdoor living space to continue increasing into 2021 and beyond, we anticipate that the biggest challenge facing the industry will be meeting the intensified level of demand.
C O M I N G U P : W H AT A R E YO U D O I N G TO M A K E YO U R B U S I N E S S O R YO U R P R OJ EC TS M O R E S U STA I N A B L E ? E- M A I L O U R E D I T O R L A U R A L E E AT L A U R A . L E E @ E L J AYS 4 4 .C O M T O B E I N C LU D E D I N O U R N E X T I S S U E
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
Let ’s Hear it From
LUCAS CONGDON LUCAS LAGOONS
AS SEEN ON TV: LUCAS LAGOONS CREATES INCREDIBLE BACKYARD LANDSCAPES AND TOTALLY “INSANE POOLS”
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
f you’ve ever watched Animal Planet’s three seasons of “Insane Pools: Off the Deep End,” you’ve seen the jawdropping creations of Lucas Congdon. His creativity, ingenuity and attention to detail have transformed the pool design industry. His elaborate projects are literally a dream come true for his clients, featuring everything from cascading waterfalls, hidden caves and lush landscaping to state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, stunning outdoor kitchens and thrilling waterslides.
Lucas Lagoons grew from one pool renovation in Florida to a portfolio of 150 properties around the world with 25 people on his crew and $15 m in annual billings. The award-winning designer and reality TV celebrity dishes on how he got into the business, what keeps him motivated, and why landscaping and pool design is a dream job.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity Q: How did you get started in the industry? I grew up in Vermont, and after my parents’ divorce, my mom started a landscaping business to support herself. I was around 12 and just grew up helping mom. I started cutting and crafting stone and we did dry-laid patios and walkways. We did a couple of waterfalls, but it was mostly landscaping and gardening. I went off to Montana State—I was going to do landscape architecture, but school made me quickly realize I was a handson person, so I moved to Florida. I worked for a tree service company for six months, then a landscaper for six months, and knew I had to do my own thing.
I LOVE BUILDING POOLS BECAUSE IT’S SUCH AN INTIMATE THING. PEOPLE GET IN THE POOL, THEY HAVE FUN, THEY’RE TOTALLY IMMERSED IN YOUR CREATION Q: Do you remember your first pool project? I had started my own landscaping business down in Florida and had an opportunity to do a pool remodel. I had the idea to put the natural stone I grew up working with on the pools—all the pools in Florida were all just concrete boring pools. We incorporated the landscaping and the rock work around the pool. The first job came out beautiful.
1 Sarasota custom pool ©Geza Darrah 2 An idyllic, tropical refuge with a calming pool center ©Kevin Bowder Photography 3 Pushing the limits of garden design
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Q: What do you love most about designing pools? I love building pools because it’s such an intimate thing. People get in the pool, they have fun, they’re totally immersed in your creation. That’s what really excites me, thinking about how much people will enjoy it. And I just love water. It’s so calming. It’s kind of like building waterfront property for people. Not everyone can afford to live on the ocean, but we can build that environment in someone’s backyard, and it’s really cool. Q: When you’re doing such innovative projects, how are you able to accurately estimate costs? It’s always an issue. There are always unforeseen issues, no matter how good you get at it. When we travel for jobs, there are more expenses to consider, the housing costs for our crew for example. A new construction project we’re doing right now got delayed by two years. We’d already submitted the contract but now prices have gone up. There
have been times we lost a lot of money on jobs, but I don’t ever cut a corner to make up for it. I always make sure the job is credible.
THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES WE LOST A LOT OF MONEY ON JOBS, BUT I DON’T EVER CUT A CORNER TO MAKE UP FOR IT. I ALWAYS MAKE SURE THE JOB IS CREDIBLE Q: What were some of your biggest obstacles starting out? One of the biggest obstacles in any business is building the awareness and getting out the brand of who you are. And there’s the struggle of finding big, creative, fun projects, and finding people with the budget to do them. I like to challenge myself, and I’m always
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
searching for the bigger and better jobs. The show has really helped with that. Q: How did the show come about? Animal Planet came to me after seeing some of my work on YouTube. I started making YouTube videos about 10 years ago. I was hoping we would one day have a show, but I never in my wildest dreams imagined it would happen. I had actually thought about going to school for film production, so with the show, I’ve been able to combine both my passions. Q: What have been the pros and cons of filming a show? We’ve been really proud of the show. But the hardest part was juggling someone else’s production schedule while still getting our jobs done. My guys aren’t actors, we’re just real people working hard to complete projects for our clients. And, of course, the good part has been the awesome exposure. Even before the show, clients saw my videos online and
they were able to see my work, see who I was, how passionate I am, my attention to detail; so, when I went in to meet with them for the first time, instead of feeling like I was on an interview, they’d give me a hug, and it felt like they knew me forever. They already trusted me. I don’t have to give them the hard sell because they’ve already been sold. I can really just enjoy listening to what they want and be creative.
I WAS HOPING WE WOULD ONE DAY HAVE A SHOW, BUT I NEVER IN MY WILDEST DREAMS IMAGINED IT WOULD HAPPEN Q: What’s been your biggest surprise after filming the show? Well, one of the best parts has been getting drawings of pool designs from kids who’ve
watched and who want to show me their work. I love being able to inspire their creativity and reach a new generation. Q: Do you have any advice for young people considering the business or just starting out? Everyone makes mistakes, especially when you’re doing something you’ve never done before, there’s a learning curve. We’re all human, but as long as you put your clients and your projects first, you’ll come out on top. The work is fun and creative but it’s also really hard. I couldn’t imagine having a job where I had to stare at the clock all day. With this, 12 hours goes by in an instant because we’re so focused and having fun. The time flies. Working with your hands and being out in nature, it’s pretty awesome. www.lucaslagoons.com 4 Green walls in action ©Kevin Bowder Photography 5 Open designs create peaceful sanctuaries
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WHAT WILL BE THE TRENDS IN 2021? GARDEN MEDIA GROUP EXPLORES WHAT CONSUMERS WANT POST-COVID-19
e’re in the middle of ‘A Great Reset.’ I’ve seen a lot of positive responses from businesses during the shutdown, and they have one common thread: ‘Ctrl + Alt + Delete.’ This is the biggest opportunity our industry has to reboot, recharge and rebuild. Improv era The world watched as businesses shifted from in-store to delivery and curbside pickup. To continue to succeed, companies must pivot frequently and efficiently. Customers have been trained, perhaps by fire, to shop differently. They don’t need as many choices, and research shows they want quality over quantity. Promote the health and wellness benefits of being outdoors to your customers and potentially upsell more outdoor space. Don’t keep the status quo by repeating what you’ve been doing. Take a look at your business practices and pivot each season. Backyard aficionado According to a new survey, the industry gained 16 to 24 million new gardeners last spring. However, these new customers won’t stay unless the industry can find a way to entice them. Start by offering to design edible garden spaces. With the surge of at-home cooking and the fear of food scarcity, many Americans are growing their own food for the first time. Show them how to mix edibles in ornamental beds, make them beautiful, unique and maintain them.
According to a recent National Garden Bureau survey, 67% of respondents age 35 and under shared that, while they want green grass, they want a wide variety of other plants in the rest of their yard. Round out hardscaping with native plants and easy-togrow perennials. Create garden rooms for clients to enjoy with their family.
DON’T KEEP THE STATUS QUO BY REPEATING WHAT YOU’VE BEEN DOING. TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR BUSINESS PRACTICES AND PIVOT EACH SEASON.
Design abundance A dynamic shift in the industry will lead to greener societies and a return to nature. Customers want less mulch and more plants. They want gardens that are more than human spaces but ecologically functional spaces. People want hands-on learning for their kids and spaces for themselves to relax; beneficial landscapes that put the ‘fun’ in functional. Turn out the lights Lighting up the sky at night is one of the major causes of insect decline. White light draws insects in all night long, exhausting them, making them easy prey for bats and birds. According to “Nature’s Best Hope.” by Doug Tallamy, turning out the lights is one small step. Install timers, motion sensor lights or LEDs. If we each do our small part, we can enact change. Not only will we restore insect populations, we will create the largest collective conservation effort in our history, and one that can—and must—succeed for our own good.
A B O U T K AT I E D U B O W Help customers reduce stress. According to a recent IKEA study, respondents wished for more greenery in their living spaces even before the pandemic, but now it’s a must-have for mental health. They want a private garden or outdoor space, and the younger the respondent, the more likely they were to depend on spaces beyond their home to fulfill emotional needs.
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
Katie is the president of Garden Media Group, a boutique PR and marketing firm representing the garden, horticulture, outdoor living, and lawn and landscape industries. Now in its 20th edition, the annual Garden Trends Report is one of the most published garden studies in trade and consumer news.
HIGH MAINTENANCE HOW FLORIDA-BASED MAINTENANCE COMPANY SABAL LANDSCAPE SOLUTIONS PUTS ITS CUSTOMERS FIRST
hawn Thomas had been working various landscaping and horticulture jobs in Jacksonville, Florida when he saw a need for better service. “Nobody was taking real care of their clients’ yards. They were just mow, blow and go.” So, after working for other people for six years, he went out on his own. He founded Sabal Landscape Solutions, a detail-oriented maintenance company that puts customers first. “We are more about quality than volume,” he says. “We spend a lot of time at properties. The shortest is two hours, the bigger ones are all day.” Thomas’ attention to detail has won over high-end clients. Most of his properties are along the St. Johns River or the Atlantic Ocean, handled by three-man crews. “We hand-prune everything and understand the proper way to care for plants,” he says.
“Mowing is done with a 21-inch push mower. The big ones tear up the turf, especially around here after a lot of rain. The light footprint is crucial.” “We also do interior pruning,” he explains. “When you just shear the tops over and over again, it looks good from a distance, but if you open it up, it’s not a healthy plant.”
NOBODY WAS TAKING REAL CARE OF THEIR CLIENTS’ YARDS. THEY WERE JUST MOW, BLOW AND GO Sabal Landscape Solutions handles everything on the maintenance side, along with irrigation, drainage and lighting. Because his clients are on the water, Thomas limits
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
the use of herbicides and hand pulls everything he can. Thomas often partners with landscape designers like Sunscapes and Ross Garden Design. “A good maintenance company makes their gardens look better. It’s a great
A GOOD MAINTENANCE COMPANY MAKES THEIR GARDENS LOOK BETTER. IT’S A GREAT PARTNERSHIP. YOU DON’T WANT SOMETHING THAT LOOKS GOOD AT INSTALL BUT IN FIVE YEARS, IT’S TOO MUCH MAINTENANCE, TOO OVERGROWN. partnership. You don’t want something that looks good at install but in five years, it’s too much maintenance, too overgrown.” As far as coastal environments, Thomas says the plant palette is extremely limited. He recommends Indian Hawthorns, pittosporum, native grasses, St. Augustine turf, and—his namesake—sabal palms. Thomas is also the outgoing president of FNGLA (the Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association) which happens to be the largest agricultural association in the United States. “I’ve gotten to travel all over Florida and meet various people in the industry. It’s been really fun but also really meaningful to discuss the issues everyone is facing, from water conservation, fertilizer bans and shortages in the workforce.”
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
Thomas says many in the industry are frustrated because the people who make the laws don’t understand all the issues. “Individual counties have placed bans on fertilizer, but they can’t regulate consumers from going in and buying up bags and bags and then overusing it,” he says. “The people in the industry are being limited, and we’re the ones that know the proper way to use it.”
YOU CAN SAVE A LOT OF WATER WITH THE RIGHT IRRIGATION DESIGN AND THE RIGHT PLANT IN THE RIGHT PLACE Thomas says the state of Florida alone could use about 200,000 more workers in the landscaping industry. “Immigration programs, when you use the right channels, are expensive, and high schools are cutting vocational programs, so you don’t have a bunch of kids here wanting to go into landscaping either.” Thomas also says many people point the finger at landscapers for using too much water when, in fact, many companies are helping conserve it. “You can save a lot of water with the right irrigation design and the right plant in the right place,” Thomas says. “Some of the watering technology the major growers are using is unbelievable.” Thomas advises anyone in the industry to stay informed of the issues. “Call your legislator, talk to your district rep, and go to county commissioner meetings,” he says. “And get involved with an association.”
C O N TA C T Sabal Landscape Solutions 10950 San Jose Blvd. Jacksonville, FL Tel: 904-570-9902
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HORTICARE COMPANIES Horticare provides tailored design solutions for full-service projects with an experienced, licensed and insured staff for turn-key installation and maintenance. Licensed Landscape Architect / Landscape Design & Installation / Pool and Outdoor Living Design and Installation / Irrigation Planning and Installation / Lighting Design & Installation / Drainage / Horticultural Maintenance / Hardscapes & Water Features Call Brooke Inzerella at 337-319-1878 for more information or visit HorticareLandscape.com to view projects.
BROOKE INZERELLA WINTER WONDERS
BROOKE INZERELLA EXPLAINS HOW YOU CAN STOP YOUR BUSINESS FROM GOING DORMANT OVER THE ‘SLOWER’ MONTHS
uring the cold and rainy months ahead, it’s natural to want to slow down a bit, relax and just hibernate a little—especially after the year we’ve just had. But now’s the time to really gear up and get your business prepared and poised for the busy year ahead. With the holiday rush behind us, use this time for planning and organizing for the busy times ahead. Even though these efforts may not be billable to clients, they always save us over the long haul. Here are three things you can do during the ‘usually’ slower months of January and February.
Equipment maintenance and inventory Although we don’t normally get snow or multiple hard freeze days in Louisiana or much of the South, we generally will have our fair share of cold, wet conditions, which is perfect for really thorough equipment maintenance. I have a prepared checklist of routine monthly maintenance for all of our equipment, but this is the time we tackle bigger items that need to be done annually like re-painting trailers, updating logo decals on equipment, cleaning the warehouse, pressure-washing the facility, organizing our digital and paper files and clearing out any clutter. Same goes for checking inventory and
USE THIS TIME FOR PLANNING AND ORGANIZING FOR THE BUSY TIMES AHEAD. EVEN THOUGH THESE EFFORTS MAY NOT BE BILLABLE TO CLIENTS, THEY ALWAYS SAVE US OVER THE LONG HAUL. ensuring our supplies of soil additives, irrigation and lighting equipment, as well as materials such as fertilizers are properly organized and ready for us to hit the ground running in the spring. We also use this time to update and order pool material displays as well as hardscape sample boards. Training and professional development I find this is the best season to spend the time and resources on one- to two-hour training sessions with our team. I will bring in vendors to give mini-presentations on their new products and services. Having seasoned team leaders share best practices with the rest of the group is another valuable use of time. In addition, this is the best time of year to have mini-sessions reviewing your company values and non-negotiables. Be prepared to discuss your goals for the upcoming year with
the entire team. Getting everyone on board and working in the same direction is absolutely critical to your success.
Marketing and strategic planning As the business owner, it’s your responsibility to stay on top of emerging trends and forecasts for the year and beyond. Spend these two months wisely researching important conferences and trade shows that you should attend. Spend one full day developing a plan for marketing your services this year. A written plan with timelines and tactics that you can commit to will help keep you on track once the weather warms and you’re inundated again. This is also a good time for reaching out to important referral sources like contractors, interior designers, real estate agents, etc. Staying top-of-mind with other professionals in a position to refer you to their own clients is key and well worth the effort.
ABOUT BROOKE INZERELLA Brooke Inzerella is a licensed landscape horticulturist and owner of Horticare Landscape Company in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 21
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LAW OF THE LAND CARTWRIGHT LANDSCAPING
I N S I D E I N S P I R E T H I S M O N T H PAG E 24 T H E P EO P L E ’ S PA R K : M O N C U S PA R K , L A FAY E T T E , PAG E 2 8 P O R T FO L I O : L AW O F T H E L A N D, PAG E 3 2 A N J I C O N N E L L : M I R R O R V I S I O N , PAG E 3 4 L A N D S C A P E A R C H I T EC T ’ S J O U R N A L : LO R I H AW K I N S O F H AW K I N S L A N D S C A P E A R C H I T EC T U R E
T H E P EO P L E ’ S PA R K MONCUS PARK, LAFAYETTE IT TOOK MORE THAN A DECADE BUT A LOCAL ACTIVIST FINALLY MANAGED TO SAVE THE PLOT OF LAND WHICH IS NOW KNOWN AS MONCUS PARK
erseverance. That’s what it’s taken to build Moncus Park, a privately funded park in Lafayette, Louisiana which has been 15 years in the making. The park—with massive oak trees, walking trails, and a scenic lake—encompasses 100 acres of green space right in the center of town. It all would have gone to private development had it not been for young activist and urban planner, Elizabeth “EB” Brooks. In 2005, Brooks was studying environmental sustainability at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In exchange for working 10 hours a week at the campus horticulture center, her friend was living in a farmhouse on the university’s old cattle and equestrian farm when she was abruptly told to leave. The property was being sold. They made a pact to save the horse farm, and now 15 years later, their dream has finally come true.
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From facing political hurdles to raising more than $15 million; from an oil industry crash, local recession, a devastating flood, COVID-19 and two hurricanes, Brooks has faced more than her fair share of challenges. But she never lost interest, even after graduating and moving away to work in Houston and then attending graduate school at UT Austin for urban planning and design. “My work to save the horse farm inspired my career,” says Brooks. “I didn’t even know urban planning and design jobs existed before that.” The university finally reached a deal in 2012 with the City of Lafayette, which then turned the land over to the new nonprofit conservancy, Lafayette Central Park. “We knew to transform this property into a world-class central park, we’d have to raise the money ourselves,” recalls Brooks. So, she moved home, first as a board member and eventually as the executive director of Lafayette Central Park.
Creating a master plan “As a planner, community engagement is really important, especially this particular project where so many people were involved in saving the horse farm,” says Brooks. “We knew we needed a design firm who would be inclusive and truly be for the people. The integrity of the process was most important to us.”
WE NEEDED A DESIGN FIRM WHO WOULD BE INCLUSIVE AND TRULY BE FOR THE PEOPLE. THE INTEGRITY OF THE PROCESS WAS MOST IMPORTANT TO US Unlike other firms that submitted almost final designs for the park, Design Workshop’s plan was all about engaging the public in the design process. Design Workshop is an award-winning firm known for its innovative urban projects in cities like Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Vancouver and Green Bay. Chairman and CEO, Kurt Culbertson, happens to be a Louisiana native. “I immediately knew it was the right fit,” says Brooks. “Kurt went to LSU, which has one of the best landscape architecture programs
in the country, and he’s made a point through his illustrious career to hire LSU grads. It was really cool for us to be able to work with essentially locals, through a firm with so many offices around the world.”
CURRENT DESIGN CONCEPT: ‘ACADIANA SWAMP—FEAR & FUN’ Volumetric Plantings
Children can sit in the Alligator’s belly, Made of ‘breathing’ water arches
ing at th
nts se occupa
“HUNGRY ALLIGATOR” Social Area
Concentric waves radiate outward From the nervously rocking boat Which is expressed by geysers
Fluidity Design Consultants Moncus Park 16.09.2020
Social Area Low Plantings
The team held community workshops for nine months, gathering some 7,400 opinions from all sectors of the city for inclusivity and diversity. Design Workshop used state-of-theart technology to gather public opinions and display votes in real-time. The firm also implemented mapping technology with drag-and-drop features for everyone to choose the ideal location of its main attractions. At other meetings, citizens actually glued their favorite features onto construction paper, and Design Workshop scanned them in, using a heat map to show what the majority of people wanted. With the masterplan in hand, Brooks then approached local philanthropists and businesses for the remainder of the funding. Louisiana oilman Jim Moncus donated $7.5 million, which funded the infrastructure, including a bridge onto the property over a large city drainage canal, known in Louisiana as a coulee. With a major flood in 2016, there was more red tape than usual working with FEMA and Lafayette Consolidated Government. (Lafayette gets 62 inches of rain annually; in 2016, 21 inches of rain slammed the city in just one day). The small two-lane bridge over the coulee ended up costing nearly $2 million. 1 2 3 4
Seating facing the open landscape Dwarf agapanthus Lake Reaux rendering Elizabeth ‘EB’ Brooks hosting workshop with kids at MLK Center 5 Rendering of the park’s splash pad, complete with hungry alligator and boat feature
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 25
MONCUS PARK MASTER PLAN
The other major work during the initial construction phase included creating the four-acre lake, the focal point of Moncus Park. While the lake is scenic and serene, it also provides drainage and irrigation as well as
future revenue through fishing pole and kayak rentals. The 150,000 cubic yards of dirt excavated for the lake created two hills that serve as a sound barrier to the adjacent neighborhood. “We worked with engineering partner Mader Engineering, who installed a box at the culvert so in the case of a low-rain event, water can go through the ravine; but if it’s a major gully-washer, almost all the water is diverted into a pipe that fills the pond,” says Brooks. “Not only does it give us a sustainable water source, it allows our pond with all those beautiful wetland gardens to filter the rainwater while buying some time so all that water doesn’t overwhelm the city coulee.”
The Society for Louisiana Irises donated 800 native irises, and Moncus Park will be the location for all hybridized and native Louisiana iris species. The Master Gardeners of the LSU AgCenter Cooperative Extension office also plan to make Moncus Park their headquarters.
NOT ONLY DOES IT GIVE US A SUSTAINABLE WATER SOURCE, IT ALLOWS OUR POND WITH ALL THOSE BEAUTIFUL WETLAND GARDENS TO FILTER THE RAINWATER WHILE BUYING SOME TIME SO ALL THAT WATER DOESN’T OVERWHELM THE CITY COULEE Some 250 native magnolias, oaks and cypress trees have been planted on the property. Other grasses and plants include Celebration bermudagrass, Gulf muhly, Mexican petunia, Dwarf palmetto, Southern shield ferns, bog sage, dwarf agapanthus, and Blue mistflower to name a few. “Overall, we’ve achieved a naturalistic and modern look,” says Brooks.
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Phase 2 Phase 2 of Moncus Park includes building an amphitheater, carousel, Veterans Memorial and botanical gardens. Duplantis Design Group (DDG) will manage all design and engineering during Phase 2, under the leadership of Chad Danos, FASLA, PLA. Highlights include whimsical treehouses designed by Animal Planet’s own “Treehouse Master” Pete Nelson. Nelson visited the property last year to make plans and was especially excited about the notable oaks. Another feature for children includes an interactive Louisiana-themed splash pad designed by Jim Garland, a graduate of UL. His firm Fluidity Design Consultants is responsible for such projects as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
From the beginning, sustainability has been imperative. The team installed solarpowered lights, a rain garden in the parking lot, and water bottle refilling stations. Lake Flato, an architecture firm out of San Antonio, is designing the future farmers pavilion to be off the electrical grid and tout low water usage.
OVERALL, WE’VE ACHIEVED A NATURALISTIC AND MODERN LOOK To compute maintenance costs, down to the number of man hours for each square foot of grass, the team worked with ETM Associates, one of the country’s foremost operations and maintenance planning consultants.
6 Twin oaks provide some shade and peace 7 Naturalistic promenade plantings up close
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INSPIRE PROJECT D E TA I L S Project value $300k+ (Landscaping design and build, outdoor living, pool, gym & shed, plants, lighting) Build time 2-year multiphase project Size of project 1⁄2 acre
L AW O F
THE LAND CARTWRIGHT LANDSCAPING RICHMOND LAWYER-TURNED-LANDSCAPER JEFFREY CART WRIGHT TRANSFORMS HIS FAMILY’S FOREVER HOME
eff Cartwright has always loved a good project. So, when he saw a 1930s home in a Richmond, Virginia neighborhood that needed a complete overall, he got excited. “The inside needed a total gut job and we basically stripped everything out of the yard,” recalls Jeff. “We wanted to put a fresh stamp on the landscape and create a home to raise our daughter.” Four years earlier, Jeff launched his own company, Cartwright Landscaping, after leaving his job as an attorney. “I grew up landscaping with my dad,” says Jeff. “As kids, we were told to make the yard look nice. We always took great care of our yard. I really took pride in being meticulous and making it look pristine.”
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between the road and the home, they built a cobblestone culvert as well as a cobblestone apron and border. They duplicated the design at the entrance to the garage. Jeff worked with his team of carpenters to design and build two custom sheds—one for gardening and one as a gym that overlooks the new swimming pool. They also built a rough-cut property fence and a covered porch with a sitting area, outdoor fireplace and TV.
While running a landscaping business might seem like a 180-degree turn from practicing law, both require a strong work ethic and attention to detail. “I really wanted our company to be a one-stop shop,” he says. “I spent a lot of time researching the very best people to partner with so when I opened my business, we could hit the ground running.” Nothing seems out of Jeff’s wheelhouse. Cartwright Landscaping handles everything from design to build to maintenance. Irrigation, drainage, grading, lighting, hardscaping, landscaping, tree removal—they do it all. If Jeff or one of his nine employees can’t do it, he calls on one of his partners. The transformation of his own residence is a testament to his company’s talent and breadth of services. Welders and metal fabricators created powder-coated custom gates, arbors and steel screen growers. His team expanded the driveway, using valley black stone. To provide a visual buffer
I SPENT A LOT OF TIME RESEARCHING THE VERY BEST PEOPLE TO PARTNER WITH SO WHEN I OPENED MY BUSINESS, WE COULD HIT THE GROUND RUNNING The team constructed a stone firewood container, fireplace and firepit, using cinderblocks with a falcon mist veneer stone and a large bluestone cap. Around the pool, they used sandblasted and sealed marble to keep the surface from becoming too slippery.
1 A view of the back pool and patio facing the gym; sandblasted and sealed marble decking 2 A custom-built garden shed with blooming hydrangeas 3 Built-in fire container with Falcon Mist veneer and bluestone cap 4 Summer Classic Outdoor Furniture with custom metal screen by Andrew Mazza 5 Restoration Hardware planters and blue select thermal bluestone provide a warm welcome
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 29
WE’VE DOUBLED THE VALUE OF OUR HOME, SO THE INVESTMENT HAS BEEN WELL WORTH IT. WE SEE THIS AS OUR FOREVER HOUSE They installed blue select thermal bluestone on the front patio to add richness to the front entrance of the home. Throughout the design and build process, Jeff considered the right plants that would add texture, beauty and privacy while maintaining a sense of scale. “I hate seeing these huge expensive houses with nice cars, but they’ve put in these tiny little plants and disease-susceptible landscaping,” he says. “It’s really important to achieve a balance. My rule of thumb is to plant about 60% of the way up the window sill, taking into account the plants will grow.” He also created a little side cutting garden, since his wife loves having fresh flowers in the house. “We’ve planted peonies, tulips, freesia, gardenias, dahlias…” says Jeff. And to anchor plantings in the garden, they installed boxwoods.
Other plants around the property include Japanese maples, Shenandoah grass, camellias, holly plants, deodar cedar and cryptomeria, among others. To accentuate all the new improvements, Cartwright Landscaping – which is licensed in lighting – designed and installed uplighting and downlighting systems to illuminate the home and areas around the property. “We’re really happy with how things turned out,” says Jeff. “We’ve doubled the value of our home, so the investment has been well worth it. We see this as our forever house.”
6 Refurbished windmill by DM Welding; blue select thermal bluestone patio 7 Powder-coated custom steel screen growers in the process of being fabricated
PA R T N E R S & S U P P L I E R S Arbogast Tree and Stump arbogasttree.com Colesville Nursery colesvillenursery.com Homescapes LTD homescapesltd.com Glen Allen Nursery glenallennursery.com Grelen Nursery grelennursery.com
A BOU T CA RT W R I G H T L A N DSCA P I N G Cartwright Landscaping is a full-service design, installation and maintenance company in Richmond, VA. Jeff Cartwright is also a Stihl partner for equipment, demos, tutorials and seminars.
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Inaray Design Group inaray.com Miller Irrigation millerirrigation.com Ultimate Pools ultimatepools.com
• EUROPE AN DESIGN DELIVITA IS AN INDEPENDENT, FAMILY-OWNED, AWARD-WINNING BRITISH BRAND. EACH OVEN IS METICULOUSLY HANDCRAFTED AND SHIPPED DIRECTLY FROM THE UK TO NEW YORK FOR US SALES AND DISTRIBUTION.
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• PORTABLE AT JUST 67 POUNDS, THE DELIVITA CAN MOVE TO DIFFERENT LOCATIONS IN YOUR YARD OR PATIO, A FRIEND’S HOUSE, OR EVEN ALONG ON A GLAMPING TRIP. THE DELIVITA CAN BE PLACED ON ANY SURFACE WHILE COOKING—WOOD OR PLASTIC TABLE, CONCRETE OR STONE. •
D E L I V I TA’ S AWA R D -W I N N I N G P I Z Z A OV E N S A R E N OW AVA I L A B L E I N T H E U S
hen American business woman Lisa DeCarlo heard about the British-made DELIVITA woodfired ovens, she knew there would be a big demand in the US. “DELIVITA is unique to what is currently available in our market, and I love how it innately brings family and friends together at a time we need it most,” she says. With the pandemic keeping more and more people at home, American homeowners are investing in outdoor spaces, devoting more time to cooking and
enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle. “The DELIVITA wood-fired oven fits perfectly into the picture of our adjusted American lifestyle. From authentic Italian pizzas to steaks, fish, veggies, and bread, you get to rediscover your favorite foods and flavors the European way,” says DeCarlo. DELIVITA is the brainchild of Joe Formisano. In 2016, he stepped away from the corporate world to follow his true passion for authentic Italian cooking. He wanted to pioneer an outdoor oven that was both true to his heritage and adapted to a trending lifestyle: fast, portable, versatile, stylish and social.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION, PIZZA-MAKING TIPS OR TO PLACE YOUR ORDER, VISIT W W W.DELIVITAUS.COM FOLLOW US @DELIVITAUS Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 45
MIRROR VISION DOUG AITKEN’S MIRRORED MIRAGE HOUSE INSTALLED CALIFORNIA
WOODLAND HOUSE BY ALTUS ARCHITECTURE USA
ANJI CONNELL REFLECTS ON THE BEAUTY OF MIRRORED BUILDINGS AROUND THE GLOBE, AND HOW WE CAN BRING THESE INTO OUR GARDEN DESIGNS
irror cabins are very much in vogue throughout the world – and rightly so. Not only do they blend into their surroundings, becoming invisible in plain sight, but they provide a unique view from inside too. Mirror surfaces also reflect sunlight, preventing structures from heating up. Angled mirrors also help address sun glare problems associated with mirrored facades that are problematic in tropical climates. Inspiration Paddington-based Madeleine Blanchfield Architects’ Kangaroo Valley Outhouse is a stunning example of how we can use mirror in our projects. Nestled amongst verdant vegetation, the mirrored structure disappears during the day, reflecting the lush landscape, minimizing human interference in the natural
landscape. From inside, there is a complete 360-degree view available. Taking the concept a bit further, ÖÖD houses were designed by two brothers who couldn’t find anywhere small yet beautiful to stay on their hiking trips. This experience led them to create ÖÖD as a hotel concept. The prefabricated mirror cube hotel rooms come complete with a bed, kitchen and bathroom. Other ÖÖD mirror cubes can include a reception, spa, restaurant, conference rooms, and gym. ÖÖD houses are installed on foundation poles by the client following drawings provided by ÖÖD. Installation takes one to two days, and each cube comes with a two-year warranty. The cube offers full visibility to the outside without the inside being seen. The mirrored exterior reflects the landscape, making the cabin seem invisible. Similarly, the Mirrorcube in Sweden was designed by Bolle Tham and Martin Videgård and built by a local company. Each cube provides accommodation for two, with MIRROR OUTHOUSE BY MADELEINE BLANCHFIELD ARCHITECTS
MIRROR-BLACK PROTEUS CLADDING AT DALTON CUMBRIAN FACILITY, CUMBRIA, UK WORTHING BEACH HUT BY ECE ARCHITECTURE
HUTONG BUBBLE 218, BEIJING BY MAD
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FOLLY INVISIBLE BARN, BY STUDIO STPMJ
REFLECTIVE BUILDINGS IN MARSEILLE
a double bed, toilet and sitting area. All of these hotel rooms have incinerating toilets and a sustainable Rukkamoinika water system. Spectacularly, these rooms are accessed via swaying suspension bridge.
MIRRORCUBE BY TREEHOTEL
An aluminium frame is built around a tree to form the base of the room of the Mirrorcube, measuring 4 x 4 x 4m. All walls are covered in mirror glass, giving the illusion the room is glass from floor to ceiling. Another exciting detail hidden behind the facade is a balcony that allows you to go outside the box without being seen. In contrast, Invisible Barn is a mirror-clad folly set in a California forest by architecture studio stpmj. Its slender diamond-shaped structure means that from certain angles, it appears to be paper-thin. The doorway and window openings puncture the facade all the way through with no rooms inside. The visual illusion allows the folly to be invisible in nature, reconstructing the landscape of the site and creating a visual trick as the framed openings appear to float in the air. For those looking for something more familiar, American artist Doug Aitken has
erected an installation in the snow-covered Gstaad mountains, styled and shaped like a typical American ranch house. The mirrored exterior reflects and interacts with the mountain landscape over the changing seasons. The interior is also mirrored to create a kaleidoscopic, refracted effect as you enter. Aitken built another similar installation in the Californian desert.
MIRRORED CLADDING IS ONE OF THOSE RARE ARCHITECTURAL MATERIALS THAT DELIVERS MORE THAN EXPECTED Meanwhile, Antonini + Darmon and RMDM have created a pair of large mirrored-steel boxes connected by a glazed bridge to complement and extend an archive facility outside Paris. The extension was wrapped in ribbed panels of reflective stainless steel to reflect the sky and the lush landscaped setting and as a contrast to the aluminium of the existing building. Lastly, a beach hut has been added to Worthing beach on the UK south coast. Its small timber-framed structure has a gabled form that matches the local setting, and it is
clad entirely with mirrors so it disappears into its setting. Instigated by property developer Jane Wood, it highlights playful architecture’s impact on sleepy seaside towns. Specifying mirror materials The type of surface finish and color are equally important when it comes to specifying rainscreen cladding. With its ability to shroud buildings and even make them disappear, mirrored cladding is one of those rare materials that delivers more than expected. When it comes to specifying reflective and mirrored cladding, there are various choices depending on the level of reflectivity required, project design and budget. Stainless steel is a versatile material due to its corrosion resistance properties. Unlike glass, the stainless steel panels can be perforated, rolled, folded or engraved to create a really striking facade.
ABOUT ANJI CONNELL Internationally recognized interior architect and landscape designer, Anji Connell, is a detail-obsessed Inchbald Graduate, and has been collaborating with artisans and craftsmen to create bespoke and unique interiors for a discerning clientele since 1986. Anji is a stylist, feature writer and lover of all things art and design.
ART INSTALLATION BY HARUMI YUKUTAKE
MIRRORCUBE BY TREEHOTEL
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 33
LANDSCAPE A R C H I T EC T ’S JOURNAL
H AW K I N S L A N D S C A P E A R C H I T EC T U R E BEING LAID OFF LED TO LORI HAWKINS SETTING UP HER OWN BUSINESS, AND SHE LEARNED A LOT ALONG THE WAY. HERE, SHE PASSES ON THIS INVALUABLE KNOWLEDGE
34 Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
ven before the pandemic, I faced some challenging circumstances that caused great personal and professional disruption and despair. During the great recession in 2008, I was unexpectedly laid off. I was completely stunned. After the shock wore off, I realized the gravity of the situation—landscape architects and designers were a dime a dozen in the marketplace and unable to find employment.
That day marked a new beginning and eventually the start of my own company. In hindsight, that layoff was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Eleven years later, I can say with confidence that the skills I learned then assisted me to grow a thriving and successful business today. Here are 10 tips I hope will help you: Identify goals Goal setting provides clarity and focus, measures progress and tracks accomplishments. I knew I loved design and wanted to stay in the industry, but I also wanted change. So, I formulated a game plan.
GOAL SETTING PROVIDES CLARITY AND FOCUS, MEASURES PROGRESS AND TRACKS ACCOMPLISHMENTS Leverage your strengths Ask yourself: What am I good at and how can I use this now? I discovered I was good at networking and marketing, and needed those skills more than ever. I signed up for a local leads group and began researching how to market online. Take a risk I had always wanted to have my own design firm where I could call the shots and be fully creative and financially independent. The big risk I took was forgoing a reliable paycheck versus generating income on my own. I looked at my options and set a schedule for when I had to start making money. Gain a competitive edge Commit to an atmosphere of continual learning—online, through manufacturers or trade associations. I realized I had to reinvent myself and remain current, so I decided to invest in technology. When I was in college, PCs did not even exist! But, after seven months of work, I learned how to use VIP 3D by Structure Studios, which my clients love.
Get out of your comfort zone Difficult times spurred me to try new and different avenues. I forced myself to do something I loathe—public speaking. But it met several of my business goals and allowed me to market myself and my brand. Now I try a public speaking engagement several times a year, and it gets easier every time. Network Network, and when you’re tired, network some more. This is what allowed me to find additional staff and contractors as well as business partners. Join a leads or professional service group or a charitable organization. You’ll not only help your business but your community. Focus on customer service Retain and grow your client base. Happy clients will refer you to other potential clients. Create a culture that encourages repeat business. Offer a gift for referrals or as a ‘thank you’ at the end of a project. Customer loyalty can give you a continuous stream of leads. Change up your marketing When I first started, I distributed fliers in every mailbox in my target neighborhoods. I got zero leads. Now I use a variety of online marketing tools to create brand recognition and garner new clients. I showcase my work on HOUZZ and Instagram, @3Dlandscapearchitect, and participate on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Access resources Take an inventory of resources currently available to you to tackle ongoing
challenges. Need help brainstorming? A local entrepreneurial nonprofit may be available to assist with a business plan. Are you running a business and home schooling your children? (I will say a prayer for you!) See if a family member can help or form a childcare co-op with like-minded friends.
THE SKILLS YOU LEARN NOW WILL NOT ONLY MAKE YOU STRONGER, BUT YOUR BUSINESS READY FOR FUTURE SUCCESS Self care I put this last on the list because I always seem to do this last, and often within minutes of a complete meltdown. In these stressful times, taking care of yourself is more important than ever. Take a walk, call a friend, meet a family member for lunch—whatever it takes to get refreshed and ready for the next hard day. As they say, “this too shall pass;” and eventually any challenge you’re facing will too. The skills you learn now will not only make you stronger, but your business ready for future success.
A B O U T L O R I H AW K I N S Lori Hawkins RLA, ASLA, is the principal and owner of Hawkins Landscape Architecture in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 35
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38 Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
n the small town of Loxley, Alabama, Plant Development Services, Inc. is doing big things. The company has 80 patents in its name, including plants in the Encore Azalea and the Southern Living Plant Collection brands, to name a few. Plant Development Services is the sister company of Flowerwood Nursery, one of the countryâ€™s largest wholesale plant nurseries. Flowerwood got its roots in the 1930s in the backyard of Harry H. Smith. Now run by his grandson Greg Smith, the company has grown to 600 employees with multiple locations in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
TODAY, MORE THAN 2.6 MILLION ENCORE AZALEAS ARE SOLD EACH YEAR, WITH A TOTAL OF 31 VARIETIES CREATED BY LEE AND PLANT DEVELOPMENT SERVICES NOW SOLD AROUND THE COUNTRY
THE ENCORE AZALEA Always stellar growers and distributors, Flowerwood got into the plant development business about 25 years ago when the company was introduced to breeder Buddy Lee and his revolutionary Encore Azalea. Lee had always loved experimenting with plants; as a child he collected seedlings he found on his family’s farm in Louisiana. After years cultivating and hybridizing azaleas, he went to Flowerwood with a genetically unique azalea that could bloom in spring, summer and fall. He knew he had a superior product, but he wanted to see if his Encore Azalea could be produced for mass market. Flowerwood seemed like the perfect choice: it was located in “The Azalea City” of Mobile and grew more azaleas than anyone in the country. “I’m so grateful Greg Smith took a gamble on me and the Encore Azalea,” says Lee. “Back then, nurseries didn’t want to take a plant that might not sell, and growers didn’t want to use up their resources on something unknown that may not be profitable. It wasn’t always an easy road, but Greg really stuck with it.” Through helping Lee trial, patent and market the Encore Azalea, Smith saw an opportunity. His company
could support breeders like Lee while solving problems for the horticulture and landscaping industry. So, in 1996, he created Plant Development Services. He recruited Lee to serve as the company’s director of plant innovations, while Lee continued to work as a nurse back home in Louisiana and at his own nursery, Transcend, located in Tangipahoa Parish. “We were developing new plants before new plants were a thing in fashion,” Lee recalls. “I worked as an RN to pay the bills, but plants have always been my full-time passion.” Their ingenuity and perseverance paid off. Today, more than 2.6 million Encore Azaleas are sold each year, with a total of 31 varieties created by Lee and Plant Development Services now sold around the country.
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 39
THE SOUTHERN LIVING PLANT COLLECTION
In the early 2000s, Southern Living magazine saw the success of the Encore Azalea and went to Plant Development Services to create their own line of plants. “Southern Living is on every coffee table in the South—they are the go-to for everything from lifestyle and food to gardening,” says Kip McConnell, director of Plant Development Services. “But they had a problem: They would write about a new plant, but then their customer wouldn’t be able to find it. They wanted to close that gap by having their own new and interesting plants readily available.” Plant Development Services launched the Southern Living Plant Collection in 2008. Today, more than 200 varieties in the collection are sold in 4,500 retail locations, with some 60 nurseries licensed to grow the plants. The Jubilation Gardenia blooms longer and doesn’t grow larger than about four feet. Their Purple Pixie Loropetalum drapes perfectly over containers and stays purple and compact all year. Their bestselling Sunshine Ligustrum is known for its brilliant yellow foliage, and since the plants don’t reseed, they aren’t invasive.
SOUTHERN LIVING PLANT COLLECTION, PINK BLUSH NANDINA
FINDING THE NEXT PLANT Today, Plant Development Services works with breeders from as far away as Japan, South Africa and Australia. “To develop a new plant, we look at a big set of criteria,” says McConnell. “We look at how easy it is to propagate and grow, to how it’s going to perform and generate a profit. We look at what makes it unique, what problem it solves, and what it will replace. We trial it in different locations and work with various universities. We want everyone involved to be successful.”
Plant Development Services serves as a one-stop shop for breeders, assisting with plant trials to handling the intellectual property, graphic design, marketing and product placement. Once the plant gets to market, the breeders are paid a royalty. For Lee, that’s been a life-changer. He’s finally been able to focus on plants full-time. “I’ve always loved plant breeding, and I love to encourage others,” says Lee. “It’s so exciting to work with new plants. Seedlings are like children—each is unique. If you watch them closely, you can see all the variables taking place.”
40 Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
Majesty Starburst ®
New for 2021 Get ready for two traﬃc-stopping introductions from Encore Azalea! Sun-loving, compact growers, hardy to USDA 6A, these profuse rebloomers check all the boxes. Our talented team of growers are building numbers now for a spring 2021 release; make sure you are the ﬁrst in your area to oﬀer these soon-to-be bestsellers. Visit EncoreAzalea.com to be added to our landscape pro directory
Autumn Starburst™, Rhododendron ‘Robleze’ PPAF Autumn Majesty®, Rhododendron ‘Roblezd’ PPAF
N U R S E RY
FO C U S PLANT DELIGHTS NURSERY
AGAVE OVATIFOLIA ‘FROSTY BLUE’
42 Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
PLANT DELIGHTS NURSERY IS THE GO-TO SOURCE FOR NATIVE, RARE AND UNIQUE PERENNIALS
t any given time, Plant Delights is growing and trialing some 30,000 plants and selling more than 1,500 varieties on its website, ready to ship around the world. It’s not the selection, though, that sets Plant Delights apart, but its leader, Tony Avent. Tony Avent is passionate about plants. The businessman, horticulturist and international plant explorer has been featured on HGTV, The Martha Stewart Show, in Southern Living, The New York Times and as a columnist for various publications around North Carolina. Over his career, he’s earned numerous awards including Distinguished Alumni from NC State’s Department of Horticultural Science. While at NC State, Avent studied under J.C. Raulston, who became his mentor. The two remained close as Raulston ran the university’s arboretum, and Avent worked as landscape director across the street at the NC State Fairgrounds. In 1988, Avent founded Plant Delights Nursery. “I came to the nursery from a maintenance background,” says Avent. “When you have to take care of 350 acres, you learn to be very efficient. If you don’t choose the right plant for the right place, it becomes a maintenance nightmare.” Avent says for this reason he provides his customers with the most accurate plant descriptions and sizes. His online plant catalog is extensive, complete with photos and detailed
THE NURSERY ALSO SERVES AS A BOTANIC GARDEN
information. Customers can shop by season, color, genus, plant hardiness zones and more. “If you just measure from the container with no idea what the finished size is going to be, it can just kill the homeowner because they can’t maintain it,” he says. “It amazes me that when a plant is too large, people will get those hedge cutters out every week for the rest of their lives rather than pick up a shovel once to move it.” Avent says a frustration among the industry is consumers who have an unrealistic idea of plants. “Consumers want plants that look good 12 months out of the year, and that’s an insane requirement,” he says. “They want these perfect Stepford gardens. But plants are dynamic; they change all the time and bloom at different times of the year. Everything looking the same is boring.”
Botanical gardens: A living showroom Avent recommends that landscapers and homeowners visit botanical gardens to see how various plants grow and interact with each other. He actually started his own 28-acre botanical garden adjacent to his nursery to help his customers make better buying decisions. He opens Juniper Level Botanic Gardens several times throughout the year for his customers to walk through and see the many possibilities of plants in a real-life setting. “Our showcase in February is my favorite,” says Avent. “In the winter without all the clutter, you can see the structure of the garden, the texture and the form. It’s the perfect time for landscapers to plan.” Avent says another benefit of botanical gardens is for consumers and landscapers to see just how healthy plants can be when cared for correctly. He warns of two common mistakes that should be avoided: trimming back plants too much and using fertilizers with toxic chemicals. “For the past 34 years at Plant Delights, we’ve done everything organically and without chemical fertilizers,” he says. “If you eat nothing but Snickers bars, you’ll be big but unhealthy. It’s the same thing when you crank plants full of MiracleGro. It’s not good for them.” Avent warns that ammonium phosphate and other chemicals in fertilizers and herbicides are killing microbes that are critical to the soil. “There are 200 billion living beings in every teaspoon of soil—that’s a massive country,” he says. “99% of bacteria and fungi are good and beneficial.”
TRILLIUM OOSTINGII IN FLOWER
WHEN YOU HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF 350 ACRES, YOU LEARN TO BE VERY EFFICIENT. IF YOU DON’T CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLANT FOR THE RIGHT PLACE, IT BECOMES A MAINTENANCE NIGHTMARE.
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 43
Living legacy As for his future plans, Avent would like for Juniper Level Botanic Garden to one day be part of the university’s arboretum, now the J.C. Raulston Arboretum, named for his late mentor. In February, Avent announced he will donate his gardens, land and nursery – valued
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CONSUMERS WANT PLANTS THAT LOOK GOOD 12 MONTHS OUT OF THE YEAR, AND THAT’S AN INSANE REQUIREMENT at $7.5 m — to NC State. The university has established an endowment fund to operate the gardens. They are currently soliciting donations toward their needed goal of $17 m. Combined, these two institutions will have one of the largest and most impressive collections in the world of plant genetics, and NC State can continue Avent’s ex-situ plant conservation, study, education, breeding, propagation, and plant distribution. Even after Avent retires, his work will continue to grow and flourish as he leaves behind a living legacy.
C O N TA C T Plant Delights Nursery, Raleigh, NC Tel: 919-772-4794 email@example.com
Photographs ©Tony Avent
A rare and unusual plant collection Avent is also an expert when it comes to rare and unusual plants. He’s studied plants around the country and has traveled to far corners of the world on plant hunting expeditions. He has visited places like China, Taiwan, Korea, Mexico, Argentina, Slovenia, Bosnia, Crete and South Africa, bringing back different species to his living laboratory. “We have so many undiscovered plants right in our own backyard,” says Avent. “I know someone who found a brand-new species of Trillium across from a McDonald’s on 1-20 in South Carolina. It’s unreal how much is still undocumented.” Avent says you can’t preserve rare and endangered plants in place—you have to propagate and share them. And growing them in his garden and selling them online is just one way to do that. “Imagine what it would be like if consumers started looking at their home garden as a conservation habitat,” he says. “It would really change what we grow.”
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CHANGING THE L ANDSCAPE THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT HAS FORCED US TO TAKE A HARD AND HONEST LOOK AT OUR COMMUNITIES, OUR INDUSTRY AND OURSELVES
ccording to Glenn Smith of the black landscape architect’s network, BlackLAN, the black population in landscape architecture in the US remains less than one percent. In the UK, the numbers are similarly staggering; the Landscape Institute, which encompasses a wide sector of landscape professionals, published a report in 2018 revealing 95% of its members were white. Lack of diversity and inclusion means lack of perspective. Differences in culture, race and background lead to a wider range of creative ideas and innovative solutions as well as more equity in our neighborhoods and communities. BlackLAN is born In 1974, Glenn Smith became the first African American graduate of Mississippi State’s landscape architect program. In 1997, he became a Loeb fellow at Harvard University’s School of Design—the first black landscape architect to earn the honor. While he has excelled academically and professionally, he recalls how he felt as a young student—the feeling of standing out and needing to prove
his skills and worth. He couldn’t help but wonder how his black peers were doing in the industry. So, in 2012, he started BlackLAN, an online network for black landscape architects. “I really just wanted to know where everyone was and get them engaged,” he says.
THE BLACK POPULATION IN LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE IN THE US REMAINS LESS THAN ONE PERCENT In 2020, after a generous donation, Glenn decided to make his informal group an official nonprofit. Six weeks later, George Floyd was killed. “Everything happened so fast,” says Glenn. “We were suddenly in the position to issue a statement.” Their statement stood against the unjust killings and called for the need of more black
design professionals working in public and community realms to be stewards of equity and equality. “ASLA quickly picked it up as well as the media, and the events catapulted us to more visibility,” says Glenn. Designing better communities One of the members in Glenn’s network, Simone Heath, has seen firsthand the discrepancies in good design in her hometown of Atlanta. “With the quarantine, we all saw the importance of outdoor spaces more than ever,” says Simone. “But driving around the city of Atlanta, the differences are so apparent. There aren’t sidewalks in the black neighborhoods. You don’t see the same kind of amenities. They were developed differently. Landscaping is the last thing on anyone’s mind in a black neighborhood where you don’t have trashcans or sidewalks or even curb cuts for a wheelchair. Some of the bus stops are literally a sign on a four-way street.” Through her work at Atlanta City Studio, Simone is working to bring good design to these neighborhoods.
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 47
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT WE WORK TOGETHER TO SOLVE OUR BIGGEST PROBLEMS – BRIDGING DEEP, TRIBAL DIVISIONS, CREATING NEW OPPORTUNITIES AND REBUILDING A SENSE OF COMMUNITY AT A TIME OF FEAR AND ISOLATION “Atlanta City Studio sets up a storefront in different areas of the city, educating and empowering the public to get involved in the design process,” explains Simone.
Atlanta City Studio’s goals are to collaborate with other designers as well as citizens to increase access to parks, provide better pedestrian experiences and bike paths, and create safer outdoor areas. Once a project is complete, they move on to another neighborhood. In Cascade Heights in southwest Atlanta, Atlanta City Studio designed and built a covered bus stop with a place for people to sit down and place their groceries or belongings while they wait. In the historic English Avenue neighborhood, they helped convert a hollowed-out church damaged by fire into an innovative green space for community gatherings. Throughout the city, they’ve partnered with the Department of Transportation and Department Public Works to make sidewalks ADA compliant, design crosswalks and install trashcans and lighting.
“The best part is that the communities where we’ve been have felt so empowered,” she says. “They were completely part of the process. And as a bonus, more people of color are learning what landscape architecture is all about and the problems it can solve.”
SIMONE HEATH, THIRD FROM RIGHT, WITH HER TEAM
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A new generation Glenn, too, wants to raise awareness of the industry to young people. A main priority of BlackLAN under its new 501c3 status is to recruit black students to the field of landscape architecture by offering scholarships. Neither Glenn nor Simone even knew about landscape architecture as a field until they discovered it by accident. When Simone was at the University of Kentucky in the early 2000s—30 years after Glenn graduated from Mississippi State—she, too, was her program’s only African American student. “It’s a little uncomfortable to walk into a room and be the only female or the only black person,” says Simone. “If I walked in late to class, everyone noticed.”
While Simone was working three jobs to pay for college, she noticed her white peers were scoring internships at engineering and construction firms where they had family connections. “Opportunities just didn’t present themselves to me,” she says. “But I continued working hard and learning as much as I could.” Gaining momentum Organizations like BlackLAN, ASLA, the NALP, Landscape Institute and others are making inclusivity and diversity a priority, issuing statements and forming subcommittees to spark change. “At this very important moment in our country and our world, it is essential that we work together to solve our biggest problems– bridging deep, tribal divisions, creating new opportunities and rebuilding a sense of community at a time of fear and isolation,” says Torey Carter-Conneen, ALSA’s new CEO. “It is going to take innovative and thoughtful solutions to tightly weave the fabric of our society back together. ASLA is an organization
WHETHER IT’S LIGHTING, DRAINAGE, OUTDOOR SPACES OR SIDEWALKS, EVERYONE DESERVES ACCESS TO THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF GOOD DESIGN
with a rich history and significant role to play leading this work, both in the design world and beyond it. I’m honored, humbled and incredibly excited to help the society and the landscape architecture profession forge a new path forward to effectively address the growing challenges of the climate crisis, the urgent need for racial and social justice, and the stark realities and disruption of social norms caused by a global pandemic.” Now, more than ever, landscape professionals have the power to make a tangible difference in neighborhoods and communities. Good landscaping, strong urban planning and solid design contribute to a better quality of life. “I feel so fortunate to be in this role,” says Simone. “We’re not only creating more functional spaces and better access for its citizens–we’re creating equity.” “Good design is for everyone,” she continues. “Whether it’s lighting, drainage, outdoor spaces or sidewalks, everyone deserves access to the basic principles of good design.”
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 49
A PROUD MEMBER OF GLOBAL MEDIA FAMILY ELJAYS44
ELJAYS44 IS A TRUSTED MEDIA BUSINESS, KNOWN FOR ITS LANDSCAPINGFOCUSED MAGAZINES, EVENTS, AWARDS AND RESEARCH PROJECTS. IT WAS ESTABLISHED IN 2011 AND IS VERY PROUD OF ITS BRANDS, WHICH IT IS COMMITTED TO CONTINUALLY ADDING TO AND IMPROVING WHILE BUILDING ON THE EXCELLENT INDUSTRY RELATIONSHIPS THAT IT TREASURES.
LIGHTHOUSE OUTDOOR LIGHTING
E N LI G H T ENE D
MARK CARLSON EXPLAINS WHY WE NEED TO ELEVATE LANDSCAPE LIGHTING TO AN ART FORM
have claimed for quite some time that landscape lighting design is an art form. While outsiders may consider it a common trade, landscaping lighting is an untapped discipline â€” it requires an understanding of the principles of composition as well as human psychology. Our work begins with the creative process of applying light and shadow within landscapes and natural environments. We want to encourage a positive feeling or experience to the end user; but before we can
A subjective design means that the effect and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder. However, this is a very loose and ineffective means to judge what we provide to customers. Any lighting can be considered good, even if itâ€™s poor. An objective measure allows one to apply concepts, standards or practices that are accepted by experienced professionals.
THE LANDSCAPE LIGHTING PROFESSION CAN UTILIZE COMPOSITION AS UNDERSTOOD BY THE ART WORLD AS A MEASURE TO OBJECTIVELY STUDY A LIGHTING DESIGN
emphasis, pattern and rhythm, unity and movement. Every landscape lighting design can apply these basic rules and determine whether a design might be considered good MARK CARLSON or not good. Not only would this practice set a higher level of expectation, but it would allow the lighting industry to have a means to accurately judge works. This would be a huge benefit for awards contests and peer recognition. No longer would the profession be judged in bias by opinion over an understood and measured set of principles. If we continue to raise the standard, our work will only get better. Not only will our clients notice the difference, our entire industry will.
accomplish that, we need a defining measure for what is considered good or bad. Much of our trade is left to define their own measures, and we must change this if we are to advance. So how do we raise the bar? I believe there are three ways. First, we must take the subjective nature of this art form and make it more objective. Second, we need to understand the principles of composition. And lastly, we can implement those principles to ensure a consistent measure of good lighting design.
A BOU T M A R K CA R LSO N
NIGHT LIGHT LANDSCAPE ILLUMINATION
The landscape lighting profession can utilize composition as understood by the art world as a measure to objectively study a lighting design. The six principles of composition include balance, contrast,
Mark Carlson is the founder of the Experiential Landscape Lighting Initiative (ELLI), an educational resource dedicated to the landscape lighting profession. He has 22 years of experience as a landscape lighting designer. Carlton is currently performing studies on the psychology of light and nature to provide therapeutic relief in human health. He is also the owner of Avalon Lighting Design.
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 51
L AT E ST P R O D U C TS
DESIGNER DRAINAGE MAKE FUNCTIONALITY BEAUTIFUL WITH THESE INNOVATIVE DESIGNER DRAINAGE PRODUCTS
IRON AGE Iron Age Designsâ€™ grates are made in the USA from recycled cast iron, bronze or aluminum with baked-on-oil or powder coat finish options available. Grates are ADA compliant, with maximum openings of one-half inch. Grates are available in a wide variety of sizes, many designed to fit industry-standard drain bodies and channels. Shown is the Minnione, 26x36â€? in cast iron with a baked-on oil finish. www.ironagegrates.com
ACO BRICKSLOT ACO Brickslot is a discreet and decorative drainage solution to be used with brick or stone pavers that blends in with paving joints. Brickslot is an aesthetically focused solution in walkways, around water fountains, or even as a barrier with natural terrain. Stainless steel Brickslot is offered where increased aesthetics are desired. Brickslot comes with removable access covers that allow easy maintenance and cleaning to avoid any backup or unnecessary mess, keeping the walkways safe and clear while keeping the landscape design intact. When installed properly, the system is barely visible to the untrained eye. www.acodrain.us
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WUNDERCOVERS Hide utility trenches, man hole covers, tree grates, drains and more with WunderCovers, a family-owned company founded in 2008. Decorative storm drain covers blend seamlessly into streetscapes, combining safety, beauty and function. Choose from hundreds of sizes and styles to match your job. Materials are made of galvanized and stainless steel with high-quality infill trays. WunderCover products are H20 traffic-rated and made in the USA. High-profile landscape architect projects include the new Hudson Yards in NYC. www.wundercovers.com
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TRENCH DRAIN SYSTEMS Trench Drain Systems has been a one-stop shop for decorative trench drain kits for more than 16 years. In 2019, TDS introduced its MAX Mini bronze and aluminum grating systems that are used in pool and patio applications. 2020 brought two new exclusive grate patterns for Mini Channel, the Tardis and Pedreda. TDS is also the first manufacturer to offer metal grating options for Slim Channel. They are one of the original distributors of Iron Age ornamental grating. Grating is specifically designed to fit the drain channels of ULMA, NDS, Zurn, ABT and others. www.trenchdrain.com
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Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 53
A L A N D S CA P E R ’ S GU I D E TO
SOCIAL MEDIA JACK JOSTES EXPLAINS HOW ONE TEXAS NURSERY AND LANDSCAPING COMPANY STAYS CONNECTED WITH ITS CUSTOMERS
hen COVID-19 broke out and related government shutdowns started, Casey Hendrix, owner of Tex-Scapes Nursery and Landscape in Ennis, Texas, knew he needed to find a new way to keep in touch with his growing client base.
SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEOS CAN HAVE A LEVERAGED IMPACT ON EXISTING RELATIONSHIPS IN ADDITION TO GENERATING NEW CUSTOMERS He wanted to let his customers know that they’d still be offering the same products and services, even if that looked a little differently. So, with a simple tripod and microphone, Hendrix began using his smartphone to produce social media videos. He was
surprised to learn just how much traction it gained and how much leverage it granted him as a business owner.
Do real customers come from social media? When I asked if it were “real” clients commenting and engaging with his social media, Hendrix confidently replied that indeed it was. He was surprised to see that his social media following was in fact his real clients, mostly using their smartphones to stay connected. Social media’s surprising benefits As many business owners have experienced with growth, it can be difficult to make as much personal contact with individual customers as it was in the beginning, but social media videos can have a leveraged impact on existing relationships in addition to generating new customers. Many times, when Hendrix was out in the nursery or overwhelmed with sales and wasn’t able to interact with a client face-to-face, the client took comfort knowing they could connect with him through the Facebook page.
posted videos of walk-throughs of their current inventory. Customers will see a one-gallon pink bougainvillea, four flats of the red pentas or whatever else is available. Hendrix also wants to reassure his customers that they can purchase either over the phone, curbside parking lot pickup or get a delivery.
A B O U T JAC K J O ST ES What kind of posts do customers want to see? As far as content, Hendrix says his customers love photos. He’s had success posting seasonal information about what looks good now, what his clients need to plant, and what’s going on with their lawn. To showcase what’s in stock to customers who haven’t been in the shop, they’ve
54 Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021
Jack Jostes is the CEO of digital marketing agency Ramblin Jackson. Jostes is author of the Amazon bestselling book, “Get FOUND Online: The Local Business Owner’s Guide To Digital Marketing,” and host of the YouTube show and podcast, “The Landscaper’s Guide to Modern Sales & Marketing.”
DELIVITA PIZZA OVENS
HIDEAWAY SCREENS Featured on HGTV’s “Backyard Builds & Bargain Mansions,” Hideaway’s screen system provides an artistic touch where privacy is required. Designs include Branch, River Rock and more. The product is made from 100% powdercoated aluminium, making the screens durable and rust-proof. Use code PROLANDSCAPER10 for 10% off all orders. www.hideawayscreen.com
DeliVita is an authentic wood-fired oven inspired by Italy, hand-crafted in England, and now available in the US. The clay interior walls and stone cooking floor yield restaurant-quality results. Weighing in at only 67 pounds, it’s as portable to take on camping trips or move around the yard as it is beautifully designed and easy to use, reaching cooking temperatures in just 20-25 minutes. www.delivitaus.com
I N N OVAT I V E P R O D U C TS THESE INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET ARE SURE TO MAKE YOUR PROJECT STAND OUT
KINDRED’S FIRE BOWLS BORAL announced its line of Kindred Outdoor Living products last year. Made from strong, glass-fiber reinforced concrete, each bowl is handsanded through a four-step finishing process. Each fire bowl contains an innovative brass burner system that uses half the fuel of conventional fire rings with higher flames and a brighter appearance. www.mykindredliving.com
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DAUER SILHOUETTE LIGHTING Dauer has been providing artistic and durable lighting for 20 years. One of its best-kept secrets is the Silhouette Collection, made just outside the company’s facility in Nashville. Various designs include geometric shapes, florals, sailboats, sunny-moon, and even customizable designs with a company logo. 6x6x42. www.dauermanufacturing.com
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50.0% by weight Ascophyllum Nodosum Kelp (Microbe Food) Purpose: May increase microbe food. Information regarding the contents and levels of metals in this product is available on the internet at http://aapfco.org/metals.html
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Pro Directions for Use
Do not apply to foliage if temperatures are above 80° F or below 40 ° F. Avoid direct contact with flower blooms to prevent staining. SHAKE WELL! The mixed product should be agitated prior to and during application. Healthy Trees: Apply at a rate of 1/2 oz. per caliper inch of the diameter at shoulder height. Dilute with water at a rate of 6 oz. per gal. Spray the trunk of the tree up to a height of 6 ft. or to the first fork. Apply two times per year in the spring and fall. Sick or Diseased Trees: Apply at a rate of 1 oz. per caliper inch of diameter at shoulder height. Dilute at a rate of 6 oz. per gal. of water. Spray the trunk of the tree up to the height of 6 ft. or to the first fork. Apply every 30 days as needed. Derived from: Urea, Ammonium Nitrate, Sulfate of Potash, Ferrous Sulfate, Fruit Trees: Apply at 1/2 oz. per caliper inch of the diameter at shoulder height before fruit sets. Dilute Ascophyllum Nodosum at 6 oz. per gal. of water. Spray trunk to a height of 6 ft. or to the first fork. No application after fruit sets. *2% urea nitrogen stabilized with N-(n-butyl) Plants and Ornamentals: Apply at a rate of 6 oz. per 1,000 sq. ft. of bedding material. Dilute at a rate thiophosphoric triamide of 6 oz. per gal. of water; apply as a mist to foliage or as a soil drench at the base of the plant. CON ALSO CONTAINS NON-PLANT FOOD Palms: Apply at a rate of 1 oz. per caliper inch of diameter at shoulder height. Dilute at a rate of 6 oz. INGREDIENT(S): 8.0% Humic Acids (Derived from Leonardite) per gal. of water. Apply as a soil drench at the base of the palm. Potted Plants and Vegetables: Dilute at 1 oz. per gal. of water and apply weekly as a light soaking 2.0% Kelp (Microbe food) to the base of the plant. Purpose Statement: May increase micronutrient uptake. Store in a cool dry place away from sunlight. Product will store for 2 yrs. in normal warehouse conditions.
Total Nitrogen (N)....................4.0% 3.3% Urea Nitrogen* 0.35% Ammoniacal Nitrogen 0.35% Nitrate Nitrogen Soluble Potash (K2O).................2.0% Sulfur (S)....................................1.0% Iron (Fe)......................................1.5%
May increase microbe food.
Compatibility: These concentrated materials are compatible with most fertilizers and chemicals but should not be mixed directly with other chemicals. Conduct a jar test as needed to ensure compatibility before tank mixing. Mix in spray tanks with water and proper agitation. Apply in accordance with best management practices (BMP’s) established by your Cooperative Extension Service. Observe any State or Local fertilizer application regulations. Do not apply near water, storm drains, or drainage ditches. Do not apply if heavy rain is expected. Apply this product only to your lawn/garden, and sweep any product that lands on the driveway, drivewa sidewalk, or street back onto your lawn/garden. Caution: This product contains the secondary micronutrient iron. Iron may stain concrete, wood and other pervious and impervious surfaces. Apply only to turf, plants, and soil. If plants are flowering, apply to base of the plant to avoid staining of blooms. Keep out of reach of children. If product comes in contact Fertility Forward® with skin or eyes flush with water immediately. SDS & Labels: Manufactured and Guaranteed by Greene County Fertilizer Company, Inc. ▪ P.O. BOX 1346, Greensboro, GA 30642 ▪ 1-855-606-3378 ▪ GreeneCountyFert.com ▪ F2735 Information regarding the contents and levels of metals in this product is available on the internet at http://aapfco.org/metals.html
1.0 gal = 9.6 lbs at 68° F
1.0 gal = 9.7 lbs at 68° F
net volume 2.5 gal (9.5 l)
net volume 5 gal (18.9 l)
□ net volume 275 gal (1041.0 l) page 1 of 2 | See Back Label
□ net volume 275 gal (1041.0 l)
CONDITIONS OF SALE Seller warrants that this product consists of the ingredients specified and is reasonably fit for the purpose stated on this label when used in accordance with directions under normal conditions of use. No one, other than the officer or Seller, is authorized to make any warranty, guarantee, or directions concerning this product. Because the time, place, rate of application and other conditions of use are beyond Seller’s control Seller’s liability from handling, storage and use of this product is limited to replacement of product or refund of purchase price. Buyer assumes all responsibility for safety and use not in accordance with label instructions.The product names are registered trademarks of Greene County Fertilizer Company, Compan Inc.
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Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 57
EQ U I P M E N T
ZERO-TURN MOWERS FIND OUT WHY THESE ZERO-TURN MOWERS ARE GAME-CHANGERS IN THE MARKET
The John Deere Z955R ZTrak™ Zero-Turn Mower is equipped with a proven electronic fuel injection (EFI) engine, and is designed to increase fuel efficiency and productivity during long days of work. The Z955R, with a 60-inch side-discharge deck is powered by a 29-HP EFI engine, delivering class-leading performance and efficiency. With this model, John Deere is providing landscape professionals with an EFI engine at a higher horsepower, increasing fuel efficiency and power in varied mowing conditions. Other features on the Z955R model include two seat choices with the comfort-boosting ComfortGlide™ suspension. www.johndeere.com
Hustler Turf Equipment’s FasTrak commercial zero-turn mower offers unbeatable power and performance. With three choices of deck size, this mower makes quick work of expansive areas. The recently upgraded FasTrak is equipped with 23” BigBite tires and Kawasaki FT Commercial V-twin Engines, giving it the strength to take on any job. Kohler EFI engines are also available. The heavyduty FasTrak commercial mower is now engineered with HydroGear ZT 3200 transmissions across all model options. Hustler Turf also offers an exclusive four-year, 750-hour warranty on the FasTrak. www.hustlerturf.com
For 2021, Exmark has updated its largest, most powerful Lazer Z model: the 96” Lazer Z Diesel. A new engine shroud reduces operating temperature with a larger air intake screen. The increased surface area of the new screen allows the fan to draw cleaner, cooler intake air across the radiator. The location of the screen has also been revised to significantly reduce blockage from clippings and debris. Features include a 96” UltraCut Flex Wing rear-discharge cutting deck that enables one operator to cut up to 10 acres per hour. The increased productivity can replace up to three 72” zero-turn mowers. The machine includes RED Technology-equipped Yanmar liquid-cooled diesel engines that deliver increased fuel efficiency with reduced service-related downtime. Lazer Z Diesel models are also available with a choice of 60” or 72” UltraCut cutting decks, inside or rear-discharge configurations. www.exmark.com
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O N E F I R ST D OW N AT A T I M E
JEFF MCMANUS SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT TO CELEBRATE THE LITTLE WINS TO REACH BIG GOALS
he Hail Mary is football’s equivalent of a million to one odds, the over the top, back of the endzone strike to win the game as time expires. While those single, spectacular plays create highlight reels, they don’t keep coaches employed or ensure players strive for excellence every day. The best coaches know the game is won with first downs—steady, rumbling drives of short, hard runs of three yards, clearing room over the top of the defense for the deeper touchdown throws. In my role, I’ve noticed that consistently achieving little victories is the foundation of excellence. Since I began 20 years ago, I’ve seen our workplace culture help transform Ole Miss into a campus that wows those who visit. The work our landscapers do complements the work of many departments to create a welcoming
environment with beautiful buildings and landscaping. It’s a total team effort built on a dedication to small details to build the big picture. My new book, titled “Growing Weeders into Leaders,” covers the fundamentals of leadership and how we’ve built a winning landscaping team. Among the lessons are defining your wins as an organization and capturing the low-hanging fruit that ultimately builds the team morale crucial for reaching greatness.
I’VE NOTICED THAT CONSISTENTLY ACHIEVING LITTLE VICTORIES IS THE FOUNDATION OF EXCELLENCE Little wins are identified easily. They’re the dead weeds that don’t come back, expertly edged patches of grass or popping azaleas. They’re the emails from administration, a prospective student’s parents, or campus visitors who see the good work our people do. Little victories come from a continued focus on what needs to be done. Doing things the right way, being diligent in making sure your team is engaged, valued, and happy in their work, is what leads to the big wins. If employees feel their investment of time and energy matter, the culture of leadership begins to grow. Individual employees with initiative and pride in their work will push your organization to new
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heights. Take Denise Hill, a hardworking, front-line staff member. One day, I noticed she was expertly operating a weed whacker. She paused to let me walk by, smiled, nodded, then went back to work. With very little formal training, she energized those around her with her enthusiasm. I then placed employees under her supervision. She built collaboration and called her work crew ‘Delta Force’ because her team would do things no other team wanted to do. Denise is now our superintendent of Landscape Services. With a relentless focus on little wins each day by leaders like her, our team has parlayed their work into major successes. Ole Miss Landscape Services has become an elite unit of professionals who strive for excellence. Their end result is little wins, first downs, that add up to major accomplishments. Thanks to leaders like Denise, our 1,500-acre campus is consistently recognized as “the most beautiful campus in America” by the Princeton Review and the Professional Grounds Management Society in Newsweek. As you identify little victories for your organization, keep this quote from author Richelle E. Goodrich in mind: “Small steps may appear unimpressive, but don’t be deceived. They are the means by which perspectives are subtly altered, mountains are gradually scaled, and lives are drastically changed.”
ABOUT JEFF MCMANUS Jeff McManus is director of Ole Miss Landscape Services, a keynote speaker, webinar leader and author of the book “Growing Weeders into Leaders.” To get your free copy of “21 Ways to be an Inspiring Leader,” visit Jeff’s website.
P EO P L E
STRONG AS AN OAK FISH BRANCH TREE FARM
I N S I D E P E O P L E T H I S M O N T H PAG E 6 2 ST R O N G A S A N OA K : F I S H B R A N C H T R E E FA R M , PAG E 6 4 M E TA L M A N : R A N DY L E B L A N C , PAG E 6 6 L I T T L E I N T E R V I E WS
ohn Conroy has been in this business for a very long time, and has seen that education is critical in taking the industry to a higher level. This conviction is a function of the teacher within. Prior to entering the green industry, he received a master’s degree in education and taught eighth graders for three years. Formal education and the desire to be an agent of change aside, a career indoors was not meant to be.
ST R O N G AS A N OA K TREE FARMER JOHN CONROY BRINGS KNOWLEDGE, PASSION AND EXCELLENCE TO THE INDUSTRY
Before starting Fish Branch Tree Farm, Inc. with his wife Linda, Conroy owned two garden centers with landscaping, sod and irrigation divisions as well as a John Deere dealership. “After 14 years of dealing with the public, I decided that those of you who have the strength and patience for that sort of thing deserve any and all rewards derived, and my blessings,” jests Conroy. The Conroys founded their tree farm in 1988 on a property in Southwest Florida that has been in his family since the 1800s. “We started with a modest 25 acres and expanded to today’s 325 acres whenever we had the resources to do so,” says Conroy. Currently, Fish Branch’s team of highly trained professionals grows a wide range of palms and trees for commercial, government and high-end residential clients throughout the Southeast and overseas. Over the years, Conroy says he’s witnessed many changes in Florida’s green industry. “Back in the dark ages of the 1970s, if you bought a large field-grown live oak that lived,
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it was a win,” he recalls. “Now, thanks to Florida’s Grades and Standards and a higher level of professionalism among growers, expectations are far greater.”
WE STARTED WITH A MODEST 25 ACRES AND EXPANDED TO TODAY’S 325 ACRES WHENEVER WE HAD THE RESOURCES TO DO SO Conroy says there are many reasons for this, one being the essential cohesive work of associations. Fish Branch Tree Farm, Inc. belongs to Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA), the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association (ALNLA), the Gulf States Horticulture Expo (GSHE), and the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association (TNLA), among others.
“Workshops, seminars, trade shows and other educational venues—especially those which bring together professionals across disciplines within the green industry— are essential for personal, company and collective growth of the industry,” he says. “All have been vital in networking as well as sharing and gaining knowledge.” For Conroy, it’s not just talk—he walks the walk. He has served on numerous statewide committees, including FDOT, FNGLA, Trees on the Go and others. He has also served as chairman of Florida’s Grades and Standards for Palms for the past eight years. According to Conroy, the adoption and implementation of grades and standards in Florida have favorably impacted the quality of plant material in general. “The use of criteria which define standards for health and other desired characteristics also facilitates communication between players. For any of us who desire predicable outcomes, this is a good thing,” he says.
THE TREE FARM FROM ABOVE
OUR MISSION HERE IS TO SHARE THE INFORMATION, INSIGHTS AND PERSPECTIVES OFFERED BY THE MANY INDUSTRY LEADERS WHICH I’VE ENJOYED THE IMMENSE PLEASURE OF BEFRIENDING DURING MY TENURE IN THE GREEN INDUSTRY
Conroy has presented to many professional organizations on a variety of topics and actively works with landscapers, arborists, landscape architects, maintenance and landscape contractors, legal experts, writers, professors and researchers for the betterment of the industry. In 2019, Conroy received FNGLA’s Educator of the Year for his efforts. While great strides have been made, Conroy says more work needs to be done to continue to elevate the industry. “In my career, I have seen—in some cases been a party to—many improper practices and transgressions against trees,” he recalls. “But the more we learn and the more we share, the better we’ll be. Two axioms apply: A rising tide lifts all boats and half of knowledge is knowing where to find it. Ergo, our mission here is to share the information, insights and perspectives offered by the many industry leaders which I’ve enjoyed the immense pleasure of befriending during my tenure in the green industry.” www.fishbranchtreefarm.com
BACKDROP OF THE SUNSHINE SKYWAY BRIDGE OVER TAMPA BAY
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 63
CUSTOM METAL PARTS
M E TA L M A N RANDY LEBLANC IS RENOWNED FOR HIS INTRICATE AND EXTENSIVE METAL WORKS
INTERIOR STAIR RAILING
ORNATE DESIGN WORK
etal fabricator and artist Randy LeBlanc has always loved creating, ever since he was a child playing with blocks and Lego. Then in college, at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, one class really lit a fire under him. “It was an intro course in design on hands-on steel, but I fell in love with it,” recalls LeBlanc. “The first time I got to bend a piece of metal, I felt empowered to move something so strong, to get to create beauty as well as function.” Then one month after getting his degree in sculpture, LeBlanc opened Metal Head, Inc., a design and fabrication shop. In the last 20 years, he’s completed thousands of art-quality pieces, from ornamental fences and garden gates to outdoor furniture and intricately designed staircase railings. If it can be done to metal, LeBlanc can do it: forge, cut, shape, manipulate, bend, fasten, weld, patina and install. LeBlanc has worked with a variety of metals, including brass, steel, copper, stainless steel, iron and aluminum. Lately, he’s been using a lot of aluminum for outdoor projects because of its resemblance to wood.
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“It’s light but durable and doesn’t warp or crack,” says LeBlanc. “It can really handle the South’s heat and rain.” LeBlanc creates his own designs, replicates historic pieces and works alongside clients to bring their own ideas to fruition.
EVEN WITH MODERN TECHNOLOGY, AT THE END OF THE DAY, FIRE IS FIRE AND HEAT AND PRESSURE ARE STILL DOING THE WORK “Anyone can order something pretty from a catalog,” says LeBlanc. “For outdoor spaces, I like to work alongside the landscaper, to know the different textures and patterns, colors and hardscape surfaces, and then create truly a custom piece designed for a client’s specific space.” Some of his work may take a day, while other projects take years. One of his largest projects, and biggest challenges, was a curved double-staircase railing for a home
in Lafayette, Louisiana. He created it in nine pieces, and each weighed around 200 pounds. Construction on the new home was delayed, so his finished work sat inside his 5,000-square-foot shop for months before it could be installed. Living in Louisiana among Spanish and French ironwork is an inspiration for himself as well as his clients, says LeBlanc. “I had to replicate an old Louis XV style, hand-forged iron work for a client once,” says LeBlanc. “I do have lasers and AutoCAD, but I also have a 200-year-old anvil. Fire is fire, and heat and pressure still do the work.” LeBlanc works mostly alone, but he credits his wife with keeping him organized. “Monique
BESPOKE GATE DESIGN
I LIKE TO WORK ALONGSIDE THE LANDSCAPER, TO KNOW THE DIFFERENT TEXTURES AND PATTERNS, COLORS AND HARDSCAPE SURFACES, AND THEN CREATE TRULY A CUSTOM PIECE DESIGNED FOR A CLIENT’S SPECIFIC SPACE
is the unsung hero behind the scenes— without her, I’d be that erratic artist with a ball of receipts in my cupholder,” he laughs. The LeBlancs’ daughters, who are in middle school and high school, are both creative as well—sewing, knitting and painting. “It’s such a joy to see their artistic talent and watch them figure out their own style and technique,” says LeBlanc. Undoubtedly inspired by his daughters, LeBlanc keeps stretching himself to learn new techniques and work with more materials. “I’ve really gotten out of my comfort zone in the past few years, but that’s the only way to grow.” www.metalheadinc.com
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T H E L I T T L E I N T E RV I E W
PEOPLE PRO LANDSCAPER ASKS QUICK-FIRE QUESTIONS TO GAIN A SMALL INSIGHT INTO THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE UP OUR INDUSTRY. TO TAKE PART, EMAIL LAURA.LEE@ELJAYS44.COM
J A M I E PAT E
SARAH DELCAMBRE, PLA
VP of Atlanta Operations, Jerry Pate Company
Landscape architect/operations manager, Design Workshop, Houston
What inspired you to get into the industry? I grew up around golf with my dad and family. I was always intrigued with golf course architecture, agronomy and turf maintenance. While attending golf tournaments as a child with my family, I’d be more interested in talking to the maintenance crew and course superintendent than watching the tournament.
What inspired you to get into the industry? I was looking for a creative and artful career that I knew could positively impact the environment and the way people function in it every day.
What’s the best part of your job? Working with a great team across the entire organization on a daily basis, as well as an awesome group of diverse customers from municipalities, universities, sports organizations, independent dealers and golf courses.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? Overseeing construction is often seen as a “man’s world.” Disrupting that perception has been challenging. It’s taken time, confidence-building and a handful of good contractors.
Why should people go into the business? People should do what they love and not be focused on what is going to make them the most money. With many people being focused on undergrad and graduate degrees after high school these days, there is a significant need and importance for trade and vocational jobs. The industry plays an important role in the lives of people all over the world.
What’s the one thing that would make the industry better? An accurate understanding of what landscape architecture is and what it could be.
What’s your happy place? Anywhere with my wife and our two kids—whether that’s on the boat, up in the mountains or being down in my basement recording studio; playing the guitar, keyboards and drums is very therapeutic for me.
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What’s the best part of your job? Seeing communities enjoy the work I have spent months, sometimes years designing and building.
What’s your favorite spot at home? My kitchen and dining room. It’s very open. I love cooking and entertaining. What has the quarantine taught you? Technology is not all that it’s hyped up to be. We, as a creative profession, are far more dependent on social and collaborative interaction. What’s the best bouquet for cheering up a friend? Sunflowers.
ALLEN OWINGS Professor Emeritus of Horticulture, LSU AgCenter, Senior horticulturist at Bracy’s Nursery, Horticulturist at Clegg’s Nursery What inspired you to get into the industry? My love of agriculture dates back to my youth gardening with my dad, grandfathers and uncles. My dad was an agronomist and university educator. I found the horticulture side of agriculture instead of the agronomy side of agriculture. Neutral or colorful? Neutral, but I love purple and gold. What would you blow your money on? Fund scholarship endowments at LSU and Mississippi State University. What are you currently working on? We are working on a native dogwood study in cooperation with the University of Tennessee because of extensive loss of these native plants. We do try to work on a lot of plant trials on site. We also grow some of the LSU Ag SuperPlants, and other Southern states special plantings as well, and keep up with their university cooperatives. Who do you admire most in the industry? The nursery growers and horticulture leaders from the 1970s and 1980s that grew the nursery, landscape and garden center industries. What’s your ideal Saturday? At the garden center, playing golf, enjoying football, dining with friends.
C L AY B A K K E R
R A M O N M U R R AY, P L A
Director of Trails and Grounds, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Landscape architect and principal, Murray Design Group, Florida
What’s the key to great design? Perfecting the basic principles of design and layout. And then having the courage and belief in yourself to break rules when the right opportunity presents itself.
What inspired you to get into the industry? I grew up in Brevard County near the space center in a strong school system. I was able to study topics like engineering and how gravity affects plant growth, and my mentor told me to look at landscape architecture as a career. That was really the first I’d heard of the field, and later in college, I realized it was a way to combine design and engineering with the outdoors.
What’s the best part of your job? People! I love my daily interactions with both our staff and our guests who come from all over the country and the world. Who do you admire? Piet Oudolf. He’s a Dutch garden designer who has done some amazing landscapes around the world. He is truly an artist and uses plants and terrain as his paints and molding clay. Lurie Garden in Chicago is one of the great works. What would make the industry better? Consistent industry professionalism. It’s been a problem forever in our business, and I really don’t know how to overcome it. I do dream someday that customers will respect the level of training and experience to do our work and will be compelled to spend the money it takes to do good work the first time. What advice do you have for those starting out? Pay attention to the best versions of our industry who are around you and make note of the differences from the run-of-the-mill type. When you travel, never stop looking and evaluating the best work and breaking down how it may have been achieved.
What is the best part of your job? At the end of the day, it’s seeing the client happy and seeing people enjoying the space that we designed. What are you most proud of? As a business owner, I’m proud that we’ve been able to survive 9/11, 2008 and the pandemic. As a former teacher, I’m proudest when a former student tells me that I helped make a difference. And as a designer, I’m proud of the work we’ve done to transform the community of Eustis—we’ve built 10 parks in 10 years. How do you give back? We’ve been fortunate to have done a lot of pro-bono work. We’ve designed about 20 landscapes for the homes of first-time buyers as well as wounded veterans. What is your happy place? I’ve been playing tennis since I was 10. My happy place is when I’m on the court and not thinking about anything else but the game.
Pro Landscaper USA South January/February 2021 67
We have 325 acres of specimen palms (particularly Phoenix Sylvestris), as well as other cold hardy palms, flowering trees and shade trees. Our meticulous cultural practices allow us to provide quality trees from the Southeastern United States to the Caribbean Islands. Our staff includes educators who speak around the state about current issues and topics in our industry. Our awards include FNGLA’s “Grower of the Year” and the prestigious “Educator of the Year” bestowed upon John Conroy, owner of Fish Branch Tree Farm.
EXPERIENCE • DEPENDABILITY • INTEGRITY CALL OR VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION
www.fishbranchtreefarm.com 863-735-2242 firstname.lastname@example.org Follow us on Instagram: @fishbranchtreefarm