SYNKD West | Spring 2023

Page 1

INDUSTRY LEADER Pamela Conrad | INSIDE Everde Growers | SINGING HILLS LANDSCAPE Mile-High Makeover | DENNIS’ 7 DEES Wall of Wonder | LANDFORM DESIGN GROUP INC. Mexico Resort Rehabilitation | EDUCATE Porous Paving Spring 2023 $9.99 USD WEST


Create and control four independent zones from a single transformer.










Brilliance | 800.867.2108 brilliance.led Brilliance LED, LLC


Welcome to the spring issue of SYNKD! We can feel the excitement of the season and hope you are ready. We sure are—especially after the success of our inaugural SYNKD Live event in Atlanta in February. We enjoyed meeting so many of our audience there, plus lots of new audience members as well as supporters and advertisers. Our goal with this event is to engage the business owners and change-makers with newer ways of working, new technologies and sustainable solutions that cross the boundaries of design+build+maintain sectors of the landscape industry.

We had a great mix of disciplines—from landscape architects to landscape designers, lawn care business owners and businesses that handle everything in-house. We also featured the “first” Pod-Row™ with Naylor Taliaferro, Paul


SYNKD 323 Polk St. Lafayette, LA 70501


Angelique Robb

(337) 852–6318


Aimee Almaguer


Caitlyn Wallace


Jamison and Jeremiah Jennings. Now, they are doing this at other events around the country. They featured many of our special guests on their podcasts too, so look them up.

After we finished editing the educational talks given at SYNKD Live, we thought these talks should be available on our website to view, so we are making some updates to make this happen. Some of them even qualify for CEU credits!

As the spring season kicks off, you will see more changes in how we are working. For example, we are launching an educational webinar that will also be on our website for future viewing as well as starting our own podcast: SYNKD on air.

Now to our spring issue topics, we are excited to have Pamela Conrad back to talk about leading climate-positive design

and how this can help our entire industry, as well as the journey of Everde Growers.

Other highlights include a residential project from Singing Hills Landscape that uses a new type of construction; Dennis’ 7 Dees reach for the stars with a two-story moss installation; and a resort in Mexico that sprung back in a mere eight months after getting hit with a hurricane as a result of intensive help from Land Form Design Inc. The Education section has a variety of topics, including creativity with natural stone, permeable paving to create resiliency and urban planting problems solved.

We hope you enjoy, and please reach out to us at if you have any news or topics to share.

Happy reading!




Published by © SYNKD

SYNKD is published four times a year and distributed to 5,000 qualified members of the green industry. Postmaster: Send address changes to 323 Polk St., Lafayette, LA 70501. SYNKD 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.

www. synkd .io 3 Spring 2023
Cover image: ©Olivia Martin September|October 2022 4 synkd | our community our Spring 2023 Volume 1 Issue 3 inspirational community works 08 10 13 News Industry News and Dates to Save Q+A What are the biggest issues facing the industry in 2023? Industry Leader Pamela Conrad Mini Interviews Fun questions from our audience Think Outside the Box Nate Dodge ND Design Services Inc. Realistic Goal Setting in 2023 Deborah Cole Deborah Cole Connections 18 21 22 29 34 Investing in a Natural Workplace Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscape From Devastation to Designer Destination Land Form Design Group Inc. WEST FEATURE STORY MILE-HIGH MAKEOVER A complete team effort from Singing Hills Landscape Inc. leads to a new residential indoor/outdoor space in Denver, Colorado. 24 For Latest Content, To View Digital Issues & To Find Out About Upcoming Events, Visit INSIDE EVERDE CONTENTS 16 34 29

Deborah Cole

As the founder and president of a commercial landscape firm with multiple locations throughout Texas, Deborah Cole has learned the importance of a people-centric leadership and communication. She now devotes herself full time to speaking, writing and consulting with a heavy dose of visual storytelling (photography) included.

Nate Dodge

Nate Dodge is the owner of ND Design Services Inc. As a landscape designer and visual artist, Nate’s mission is to offer client-focused solutions and translate design through refined graphics and land art. He has handson experience in many facets of the industry, including fine landscaping, commercial landscape maintenance, commercial and residential design/ build, landscape architecture and landscape design.

Do you have a project you would like to be featured in our Summer 2023 Better Business issue? We want to hear about it. Scan the QR code to get in contact with us!

www. synkd .io 5 September|October 2022 synkd | our community @synkd.landscape @synkd-landscape @synkd_landscape raise the bar @synkd_landscape 40 SYNKD Live Recap A Look Back at Our Inaugural Event in Atlanta, Georgia 46 Vision to Reality Coldspring USA 43 FEATURE STORY URBAN GREENING Root Management for Healthier Urban Planting 49 Importance of Porous Paving Invisible Structures 46 49

Mark Your Calenders for #SYNKDLIVE2024

DATE: FEBRUARY 14–15, 2024


At SYNKD Live I was surrounded by like-minded people from the industry that were there with the common goal of learning. The environment was infectious & I walked away feeling a new clarity about where our business should go next & how to get there.





Aprogram that installed green infrastructure in Los Angeles alleyways got its first real test recently as massive storms pummeled the region, bringing rain that overwhelmed much of southern California’s stormwater infrastructure.

As storms become more intense and unpredictable, paved-over cities like Los Angeles can use permeable materials and sustainable design elements to capture and reclaim stormwater more effectively, recharge groundwater reserves and prevent damaging floods.

“Because stormwater is still erroneously classified as a waste product, its management is handled by the same department that picks up the trash,” while other efforts are scattered across city and county agencies. As Alissa Walker writes in Curbed, thanks to the “green alleys” installed as part of a 2015 project in south

Los Angeles, “the resulting stormwater had more opportunities to sink back into the earth: filtering through a row of permeable pavers, directing to pocket planters where creeping fig vines twirl up garage walls, or vanishing into grates labeled drains to groundwater.”

According to Walker, Los Angeles is developing an interagency stormwater plan that would streamline and coordinate stormwater management efforts.

In the Pacific Northwest, due to the changing landscape, everyone— especially landscape professionals —must take special precautions to protect lives, homes and property through careful consideration. Some ways to do this are by creating a defensible space around homes using fire-resistant building materials, reducing wildland fuels around their home, and using fire-resistant plant

material in the landscape.

Fire-resistant plants can be damaged or killed by fire, but their foliage and stems do not significantly contribute to the fuel and, therefore, the fire’s intensity. Spring 2023 8 synkd | our community


With the 118th Congress now in session, there is no better time to present members with the pressing matters affecting the landscape industry. The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) is asking individuals in the industry to do just that and has created a form letter and automated the process of connecting with elected officials and voicing concerns. The three challenges the letter addresses are: H2B cap relief, pesticide

preemptions, research for turfgrass and water issues and tax incentives/rebates to advance the transition from gas equipment to electric equipment.

The NALP is also requesting landscape professionals to take a survey they are conducting on behalf of the National Association of Realtors that, when completed, will provide information about the property value increase that landscape improvements make. Realtors and homeowners will also be part of the survey. The data that landscape professionals provide will remain anonymous, and project cost estimates will be aggregated and reported on a national basis.


NVIDIA, a manufacturer of high-end graphics processing units for a variety of advanced technologies including robotics, just named the M.52 mower as one of the top five robots of 2022.


Scythe Robotics, which builds commercial autonomous mowers, announced that it has secured $42 million in Series B financing that will accelerate production of its M.52 model. Developed specifically for the landscape industry, this mower was designed to help contractors address labor shortages, electrification requirements and meet sustainability goals. In other news,

The Bureau of Reclamation just released the January 2023-24 Study Operation Plan for the Colorado River System Reservoirs. The system provides water to about 40 million people in seven states in the Western U.S., including Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California.

In a letter to operating plan participants, the bureau recapped that the water releases from Lake Powell on the border of Utah and Arizona to Lake Mead, which borders Nevada and Arizona, were reduced from 7.48 million acre-feet to 7 million acre-feet for water year 2022. This was due to the prolonged drought, low runoff conditions and depleted storage at Lake Powell.

In a bit of good news for the region, the newest 24-month study projects the water year release volume from Lake Powell to Lake Mead will increase to 7.4 million acrefeet. Runoff amounts into Lake Powell provided by the National Weather Service’s Colorado Basin River Forecast Center shows that in December 2022, they were 88 percent of the 30-year average. The projections for January 2023 call for 83 percent of the 30-year average. And the 2023 April through July forecasted runoff amounts are 105 percent of that average.

www. synkd .io 9 Spring 2023 synkd | our community



As we head into 2023, there are a few things the industry needs to look for. First, all the economic indicators seem to point toward some sort of an economic downturn or even a recession. If these indicators prove to be correct, your team can expect to see a downturn in new construction projects and enhancements.

I’ve never been one that likes to talk about problems. Instead, I like to talk about the positive outcomes and solutions to carry the industry through 2023.

If we do see an economic downturn, our industry should focus on recruiting people that may be looking for an industry that, in my opinion, has proven to be recessionand pandemic-resilient. Maintenance is a necessity in this country for commercial property owners and municipalities.

Langton group will focus a lot of its energy in the commercial and municipal space. Many procurement managers will try to convince our industry to decrease pricing, as they will argue they are needing to cut costs. I advise you talk to you renewals team or sales staff to combat that ask. We need to remind them that our industry has had major cost increases, and none of those costs are coming down for us in 2023.

Our labor pool has been stressed and held down in the past, but I urge the industry to remember we are needed.

Our labor pool deserves the same benefits as other professional industries receive. Spring 2023 10 synkd | our community

Britt Wood

CEO of National Association of Landscape Professionals McLean, Virgina

We expect 2023 to continue to bring strong demand for managed landscape and lawn care services. Industry companies are very resilient and have dealt well with the challenges of the last 12 months, including inflation, supply chain and labor shortages. Those pressures will continue by varying degrees into 2023. However, our members have shown the ability to mitigate those costs while still delivering value to their customers.

Inflation fears have varying effects across all industry sectors. They may affect some, like lawn care and commercial maintenan ce, a bit more than residential design-build services, which continue to show strong resistance to inflation pressures.

The industry faces climate challenges like droughts in the West and extreme weather, but the good news is that the work that in dustry companies do helps mitigate climate change. We are working to educate the public about the benefits managed landscapes provide and to focus on our industry’s positive impact on sustainability.

As a service-oriented industry, we find ourselves responding to issues beyond our control. In 2023, we face similar challenges and opportunities that presented themselves during COVID. Supply chain issues of hardgoods and plant material are present. Unlike some industries, where a manufacturer might increase production, plants are not widgets, and natural stone relies upon labor to harvest, dress and ship. We are also not strangers to labor shortages, impacting the implementation of the landscapes we design. Economic uncertainty looms large and might affect some clients’ decisions as to how and where to spend discretionary income. Living in a global economy brings with it introduced pathogens and insects that threaten the native and ornamental species we specify.

Despite these factors, we have increased opportunities to create thoughtfully designed, biodynamic and resilient landscapes, as the public has become acutely aware of the positive impact their home environment has on their physical and mental health.

The biggest issue facing our industry in 2023 is the instability of the economy.

You must be prepared for all possibilities, for both inflation and deflation, for both labor market tightening and then loosening, for peak demands and sudden quiet in the market. Material supplies are loosening, but we will continue to see hiccups, especially as China’s economy continues with fits and starts.

Success in 2023 requires a nimble leadership team, with owners who spend enough time working “on” the business, with company leaders who are taking time to think, assess and proactively guide their teams. This requires everyone making use of real-time information.

The biggest long-term issue we will face in 2023 and beyond is the constant technological innovations, I.O.T. and market disrupters. As the old joke goes, “You may outrun the bear, but the guy with the faster sneakers will still outrun you.”

Stay on top of the trends, and staff your team with fast-thinking and technology-friendly leaders.

Flexible, informed and decisive are key traits in 2023.

www. synkd .io 11 Spring 2023 synkd | our community





Industry Leader | Pamela Conrad is Changing the Way the Industry Combats Climate Change

The urban built environment is responsible for 75 percent of the world’s global greenhouse gas emissions. When landscape architect Pamela Conrad saw this statistic, she knew she was in the right role to make a difference. Building on her 20 years of industry experience, Pamela helps fellow landscape architects and designers take a climate-positive approach to their projects.

“We’re capable of not just offsetting the negative impact, but being part of the solution,” she says.

Pamela’s impressive resume reflects her deep passion for the landscaping industry and the environment. She’s the chair of

the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Climate Action Plan, vice chair of the International Federation of Landscape Architects Climate Change Working Group and a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. An industry expert, she represented ASLA at COP27, the United Nations Convention on climate change held last year in Egypt.

After serving as principal of CMG Landscape Architecture in San Francisco for nine years, she founded her own organization, Climate Positive Design, where she launched the innovative app Pathfinder.

synkd | our community
We want our projects to have an actual positive impact on the planet

As a landscape architect and environmental steward, Pamela has always been conscientious about her projects’ impact, but she didn’t have an accurate way to measure her carbon footprint. So she got with a team of tech and data engineers and developed Pathfinder, a free app that calculates the carbon footprint of a landscaping project. After the user inputs various information such as plants, materials, scope and size, they receive a climate-positive score showing how many years it will take to offset the project’s carbon footprint. The app also provides useful feedback on ways to lower the score.

“I launched the Pathfinder App about three years ago, and now that we have some data collected, we can start to see the progress and trends to help us going forward,” she says. “We want the tool to be quick and easy for anyone to use. It just takes a few minutes to enter in the

Once the app got off the ground, Pamela shared the new technology with key stakeholders. She’s given more than 100 lectures and attended various meetings worldwide. Pamela’s efforts have garnered support from the academic sector as well as professional organizations such as ASLA, Landscape Architecture Foundation, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects,

Architecture 2030, Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, International Federation of Landscape Architects and the Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation.

“The climate crisis is a global issue and now, thanks to advocacy efforts, 175 countries have access to our resources,” Pamela says. “Just over the past year, companies using the app have increased by 50 percent.”

So far, Pathfinder is being used by landscape architects and professionals as well as municipalities, architects and engineers. To date, 5,500 projects have been logged by 2,000 companies and 1,500 students or university representatives.

Pamela says there are two key ways to create a climate-positive project: Reduce the carbon footprint and increase carbon sequestration. The carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are emitted from fossil fuels during a landscape project, while carbon sequestration is removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it naturally in trees, grasses, soil, etc.

“So far, projects entered have included the planting of 1.7 million trees,” she says. “Our impact is 2.3 million metric tons of carbon

1 Thammasat University Urban Rooftop Farm, Pathum Thani Province, Thailand/Landprocess

2 Kotchakorn Voraakhom, International ASLA, and Pamela Conrad, ASLA at COP27 Spring 2023 14 synkd | our community

sequestration by the year 2040—which is like taking 500,000 cars off the road.”

The materials landscaper designers select to use on their projects can impact the environment positively or negatively. Pamela says about 75 percent of the carbon emissions in a landscape project come from the creation of the extraction, transportation and construction of materials, while the rest is due to the operations on the site. The Pathfinder app helps compare the impact of using one material over another, among other recommendations which can help professionals make meaningful changes during the design process.

Concrete has a large carbon footprint compared to other materials. Not only does the process of making cement produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide, when concrete or other nonpermeable materials replace natural areas, carbon sequestration cannot occur.

The Pathfinder app steers users toward suppliers that are more transparent about their carbon footprint and that are working to produce sustainable products, such as Vestre outdoor furniture. “On the design side, professionals are getting on board, and we want to continue working together with other sectors like the manufacturers,” says Pamela.

Projects entered into the app this past year have a 12 percent reduction in emissions per square foot over the prior two years.

In addition to the app, Climate Positive Design provides a free educational toolkit available to download from the website. This information has also been included within the recent ASLA Climate Action Field Guide. “The 100-page field guide recommends specific actions, from using organic fertilizer, installing native plants to operating with battery-powered equipment and other actions we can take in our everyday work,” Pamela says. “It’s also great for designers to get the maintenance company on board and create the operations manual together to discuss how often plant materials should be watered and maintained, what amendments should be used, ways to minimize soil disturbance, etc.”

Pamela encourages professionals to try the Pathfinder app on the Climate Positive Design website and share additional benefits they’d like to see. “Users make recommendations, sometimes with a donation, and continue to give feedback on what would be helpful—this is how improvements happen,” she says. “In the future, I’d love to give a more comprehensive snapshot of the project. For instance, we could show how one acre of native plants can reduce X amount of water consumption, and support X amount of biodiversity and sequester X amount of carbon.”

As the app continues to develop and more data is added, Pamela says it will be a game changer for residential, commercial and civic projects worldwide. After all, numbers don’t lie.

“As an industry, we can start to define the maximum number of carbon emissions there should be for a project per square foot and the minimum number of carbon sequestration,” adds Pamela.

A clear path to a better future is there, right at our fingertips.

Get In Touch With...


Pamela’s PRO TIPS

Plant more, pave less Install native plants

Use battery-operated or electric equipment

Leave lawn litter, like grass clippings and leaves, in place

Use organic fertilizer

Choose materials with a lower carbon footprint

Collaborate with maintenance teams before project completion

Track your carbon footprint on the free Pathfinder app


118 countries using the app

175 countries using the website resources

44,000 people accessing the toolkit

5,500 projects logged

2,000 companies represented

1,500 students/ universities participating

www. synkd .io 15 Spring 2023 synkd | our community
Positive Design
If we keep doing this every year, we can get to zero —that’s progress in the right direction


Everde Growers Combines Resources to Elevate the Industry

Anew mega-nursery, Everde Growers has been establishing its roots for six years. After a series of acquisitions, TreeTown USA, Village Nurseries and Hines Growers came together and rebranded in 2020 to Everde Growers. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Everde Growers has a coast-to-coast footprint with 15 farms and 2,000 employees in Texas, Florida, California and Oregon. An inventory of 33 million plants includes trees, shrubs, perennials, palms, grasses, succulents, tropicals and fruit.

“With the acquisitions, the goal was to

capitalize on the years of knowledge and growing experience that each company built,” says Leigh Schaffer, marketing manager at Everde Growers.

More farms and more people mean additional resources and a stronger resilience to crises like ice storms in Texas, wildfires in California, hurricanes in Florida and a worldwide pandemic.

“One of the best things about our company is that we’re so diversified,” says Leigh. “We’re one of the only growers to sell to landscape contractors, re-wholesalers, independent garden centers and national retailers.”

Everde most recently purchased La Verne Nursery in the summer of 2022. Located in Piru, California, La Verne has been a premier grower of stone fruit, citrus and tropical fruit for 50 years.

“This was a strategic move and a win-win for everyone,” says Nicholas Staddon, Everde spokesman and plantsman. “Now our other farms are learning techniques to propagate and grow citrus and small fruit even better than before. Coming together as a group of companies means we’re better able to serve our customers and ship plants all over the country.”

synkd | our community Spring 2023 16

internally and externally. Everde recently attended the national convention of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Out of hundreds of vendors, Nicholas was surprised only a half-dozen were nurseries. “Networking is important,” he says. “It’s crucial that we spend time with other nurserymen and growers, as well as with our customers and landscape architects, to understand the direction they’re going in.”

Everde focuses time and resources on landscape architects, even though they’re not the end customer. “It’s very important that landscape architects across the country are making informed decisions about the plants they’re specifying, especially with climate issues and water restrictions that we’re facing,” says Leigh. “It’s not about making a direct sale but rather being a resource for them.”

Understanding industry trends is imperative, due to the complex nature of the business. Nurseries must anticipate customer demand and forecast trends years into the future.

“Perennials often are a one-year turnaround, woody ornamentals take two to three years, and massive trees can take five to 10 years to grow,” says Nicholas. “We listen carefully to what customers want and base our production on them. It’s a real collaborative effort.”

program), Indoor Tropics (houseplants) and Sweet Select (small fruit).

The business of branding plants began in the early 1990s with Australian grower Anthony Tesselaar and his Flower Carpet roses. Since then, other companies have seen the value and followed suit.

“Branded plants are worth the extra expense because they are significantly different— whether more floriferous, more colorful or hardier,” says Nicholas.

Everde employees continuously work to develop and trial plants as well as travel the globe to discover new superior species.

Nicholas says the good news for the industry is that the customer base is growing, with younger people turning to plants for a hobby. “It’s less of a trend and more of a cultural shift,” he says. “Everyone is interested in plants, regardless of age.”

With this larger demographic means more education and a need to teach consumers about the real value of plants, from softening hardscapes and buildings to creating shade, supporting ecosystems and boosting mental health.

company is involved with the organization Seed Your Future to help educate a new generation of gardeners and professionals.

Everde by the Numbers

Everde also partners with national brands both to ensure a unique, quality product and stay top-of-mind among each of its customer channels.

They are involved with numerous national brands, such as Sunset, Southern Living and the Endless Summer Hydrangea program, and are growing several Everde Growers exclusive brands, including Boldscape (a perennial

“People will spend a lot of money on dinner and a few glasses of wine, but then they’ll go to a garden center and see an amazing plant for $70—that chances are will outlive them— and they’ll think it’s far too expensive,” says Nicholas. “We need to change the mindset.”

Everde is also working with young people to spark a passion for the industry as a career option. Through its Everde Jr. initiative, the

33 million plants grown annually

5,000 varieties

15 farms

6,700 acres of production

2,000 employees

www. synkd .io 17 Spring 2023
We need all sorts of skill sets from people who drive trucks to those who work in finance , in the fields or with people. The nursery profession is a terrific place to be .


Paige Tisdale Shira Panitch


What inspired you to get into the industry?

I used to study music and actually spent some time singing opera in college. One thing led to another, and I needed to find a different career path. I found horticulture through some friends and fell in love with it. I spent a winter working in the greenhouse on campus and noticed my seasonal depression practically disappeared … and that sealed the deal for me. I’ve been passionate about the power of plants ever since and love to share that with others.

Who do you most admire in the industry?

I most admire one of my college professors, Skyler Westergard. His energy and enthusiasm for the green industry is so infectious and inspiring. He has encouraged and motivated me to chase my dreams and achieve anything I set my mind to. A kind and listening ear, I know I can always go to him with questions, concerns or ideas and he’ll make time for me.

What advice would you give to someone entering the green industry?

Use your mentors, ask for advice and help, DO the work. I love that you can roll up your sleeves and accomplish hard work. There’s a lot of gratification that comes from a job well done. This industry is so kind and helpful. I’m even friends with many direct competitors. Never burn your bridges.


What’s the best part of your job?

I love helping people create their dreamscapes through intelligent and sustainable design. I also love constantly educating myself about all the aspects of landscape design, from 3D modeling to arboriculture.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?

Starting a business from the ground up. I have never worked for anyone in this industry and I had no prior clientele. I just woke up one day and realized my passion. I went back to school and now I’m a graduate student at Arizona State University. I study desert horticulture and design and I’m becoming a master gardener through ASU.

What’s the one thing that would make the industry better?

More unity, not so many people trying to underbid and look at each other as competition.

What’s the key to great design?

Great landscape design is created by considering clients’ desires and style and their microclimate and macroclimate. Here in the Sonoran desert, water is always a concern. We work with clients to create sustainable, serene designs within their budgets. Spring 2023 18 synkd | our community

What inspired you to get into the industry? I managed a hardware store right out of college. One day a woman asked me to manage her hardware store and nursery. It opened a whole new world for me.

What’s the best part of your job?

Convincing a client to move ahead with me after she had seen a number of my competitors’ ideas. Working with passionate, innovative and creative people in the industry.

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?

Dubrovnik, Croatia.

What would you blow your money on?

An 18-foot outboard bowrider boat (if my wife would let me).

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?

Selling my home to pay off business debt at the height of the recession in 2010 to avoid furthering layoffs.

What advice would you give to someone entering the green industry?

Work for a design/build company. Learn about building a business and what goes into it. Focus on the dozen things that we do. Listen to my Green Meridian podcast!

What’s the best part of your job? Being my own boss.

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?

The top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?

Understanding the difference between running the business and being run by the business.

What’s the one thing that would make the industry better? A stronger consumer education campaign to not hire unlicensed contractors and better clarify what types of services do or do not require someone to be licensed.

What’s the key to great design?

Consciously being aware of using principles of design in a balanced way without it looking like you did and balancing aesthetics with engineering.

What advice would you give to someone entering the green industry? For designers: Learn landscape software like AutoCAD and 3D modeling.

www. synkd .io 19 Spring 2023 synkd | our community
Landscape Architect & President, Classic Nursery & Landscape Co. Cottage Lake, Washington Owner, JSL Landscape Design & Build Sedona, Arizona
Alan Burke John Leslie
Want To Be Featured In Our Summer 2023 Issue? Scan the QR Code Below! To Be Involved In Other Ways, Contact Us Through Our Website: contact-us



LIGHTING HARDSCAPE OUTDOOR KITCHENS 250 Locations Nationwide THE PRODUCTS YOU NEED TO GET THE JOB DONE BULKMATERIALS 100 Years Serving the Green Industry OUTDOOR LIVING IRRIGATION PROFESSIONAL LANDSCAPING KIT THE ULTIMATE HEAVY DUTY Kit Includes: Power Planter 3" X 24", 5" X 28" and 7" X 28" Heavy Duty Augers DeWalt DCD130T1, DCB606, DCB609, XL Tough Box Earth Augers and Powerful Digging Tools | | (217) 379 – 2614 2X–3X FASTER THAN A SHOVEL! DIG FASTER, DIG EASIER, WITH



Explore the Endless Options & Opportunities of Shade Sail Systems for the Urban Landscape with Nate Dodge

When we think of traditional shade structures, words like “fixed” and “permanent” come to mind. While pergolas, gazebos and arbors certainly have their place, these structures are not practical or even possible for every situation. Urban landscapes often present constraints like limited access and space in dense, close quarters. How do we beat the heat and have it made in the shade when these challenges present? It’s time to think outside the box and explore the endless opportunities of shade sail systems.

The Heat is On

The urban heat index continues to rise. Record-breaking heat domes and soaring temperatures are more intense in the urban landscape. Shade is a necessity. Brutal heat requires immediate action. In this scenario, we don’t have the time to plant a tree and wait 10 years for mature

growth. Coordinating the materials and construction of a traditional shade structure also takes time. Space is another issue. Dense spaces don’t always provide the square footage for shade trees and permanent structures. Shade sails are adaptable to fit any space no matter the size and may be erected in as little as one day, providing instant relief.

Consider Cost

Building a permanent shade structure in an urban environment is costly. The navigation of machinery and materials into spaces with limited access doubles construction prices. Shade sail systems solve this issue. Foldable fabric and basic hardware are easily transported into small spaces. At most, concrete footers and posts are required. In some cases, the cost of footers and posts is negated, as sails are easily anchored and affixed to existing buildings and structures. The cost of the systems itself is also variable. There are different grades of shade sails made to fit every budget and need.

Endless Options

Shade sail systems offer endless aesthetic and practical options in the urban landscape. They come in a rainbow of colors and multiple textures. Sails may be customized to include unique graphics or company logos for branding purposes. Made from different grades of materials,

some are waterproof or designed to block wind or allow breezes to cut through. Others are guaranteed to last five to 10 years. There are budget sails that may not last as long but provide an economic fix in the immediate. Unlike traditional shade structures, sails are swappable and interchangeable throughout the seasons.

Movement and Rhythm

Sitting beneath a shade tree on a breezy day is an experience that connects us to nature. Like a living organism, shade sail systems break up the stiffness of the urban space. Whimsically flowing in the wind, a sail creates soft contrast against the built environment. The shade they provide may be dappled or filtered, allowing the elements of light and wind to dance around us and create an intrinsic experience that mimics the organic nature of a shade tree. There is both rhythm and movement in shade sail systems.

Nate Dodge

ND Design Services Inc.


Phone: (267) 678–7507

www. synkd .io 21 Spring 2023
In Touch With...
Left: Rendering of university students’ firepit with shade sail system



This year will come a’roaring into existence with the same excitement, anticipation and enthusiasm that always accompanies a brilliant new year. We eagerly meet the chance to redeem slips and trips of the past 12 months on January 1 with a sigh of relief that the past is in the past.

We are conditioned to make new resolutions and do goal setting with each new year. The challenge of viewing the future and planning for it is just what we do as responsible business owners. But can we truly commit to making these intentions a reality? Can 2023 be different?

productivity or grow sales must be a solid part of our goal setting. There must also be an easy method for tracking and monitoring progress. These are the pieces that are the least fun and, at the same time, most critical.

The biggest obstacle to achieving success of well-laid plans is not external but comes from within ourselves. Can we set those realistic goals or intentions and be as diligent about monitoring our progress as we navigate through the year? For example, we may be determined to stay focused on our target niche market, which we know yields positive results; however, this resolve may go out the window. We feel the lure of that bright and shiny new sale that may appear. We absolutely KNOW that our sweet spot for peak performance is in the residential, high-end design/build market, but then the phone rings and there is the enticement of a chance to pursue a commercial project in our back yard. Commitments to our niche clients fly out the window at the lure of a new opportunity.

actually recommitting and staying focused on your plan. This does not mean that you never welcome growth opportunities or chances to expand your portfolio. But those expansions come when it is a part of the plan.

In losing those 10 pounds of Christmas cheer, you do not deny yourself enjoyable food; conversely, you choose better food choices and better health for yourself. As you select for a better you or a better business, you empower yourself on so many other levels as well. You model resolve and commitment for those who work with and for you. When you have shared goals and objectives, others observe your commitment and learn from you.

This can be the year you keep your goals and solutions simple and maintain focus on sticking to them 110 percent. Challenge and monitor yourself and also include a friendly watchdog or pack of watchdogs to review progress along with you. Get feedback and graciously accept it. You’ve got this. Bring on 2023.

Successful outcomes can be ours if what we incorporate into our goal setting and resolutions is a clear plan for accountability and follow-through along the way. Losing that holiday 10 pounds gained must include a solid plan for making it happen. And, in a similar fashion, a clear, step-by-step plan to increase the company’s bottom line, improve

This year, 2023, should be the year of letting go of the allure of venturing off into areas that do not serve us, our business or our customers. Let go of being enticed by the bright and shiny possibilities … unless those have been included in your year’s targets. The word “no” is actually a “yes” within our business model. When you decline an “out of left field” business proposition, you are

About Deborah Cole

Deborah Cole is the founder of a commercial landscape firm with multiple locations throughout Texas. She now devotes herself full-time to speaking, writing and consulting. Spring 2023 22


Location: Denver, Colorado

Build Time

5 months

Size: 12,500 sq. ft.

MILE-HIGH Makeover

Spring 2023 24

A Complete Team Effort

Leads to a New Residential Indoor/Outdoor Experience

The success of any given landscape construction project can be assured by an exceptional team effort between the designers, builders and suppliers. Oftentimes, especially on residential projects, the design and construction are performed by the same company. But this is not always the case.

A recent residential renovation in Denver proves that point. Singing Hills Landscape Inc. relied on Ivy Street Design for the project’s plans. Affiliating with landscape architecture firms is now a standard operating procedure for Singing Hills.

“During COVID, our designer moved back to North Carolina to be closer to family,” explains Jake Leman, vice president at Singing Hills. “And since we had already established relationships with many

architecture firms, we strategically decided not to design in-house and just to partner with outside firms. For three or four years now, we haven’t done any in-house design.”

This project involved a complete upgrade of both the house and its grounds.

The design portion of the team included Kaylin Kittle at Ivy Street Design, a landscape architecture firm; and Sarah Sexton, an architect at Sexton Lawton Architecture LLC.

“The client had selected an interior designer early on in the process, which I feel was super successful in creating a truly gracious indoor-outdoor connection with their home,” says Kaylin.

She started on the project in 2020. The first step was identifying what the client’s “ideal goals” were for the outdoor space even before renovation.

“The architect was one I had coordinated with for several years,” Kaylin says. “We had a good relationship already. And Jake Leman has also worked with Sarah on past projects, so we had a good team going.

“I was brought on board when they were in the early stages of their architectural planning, which helped everything be seamless. Sarah and I could coordinate to see where things needed to shift with the house remodel to effectively create a nice connection with the exterior.”

Singing Hills was not part of the initial design process in this case.

“In our partnership with outside architects and designers, they will often bring us in partway through the design phase to add a construction perspective or, alternatively, once a design is done, they will send it to us for a proposal at that point,” says Jake.

The project ultimately included an in-ground pool/spa, outdoor kitchen, black

www. synkd .io 25 Spring 2023

horizontal cedar fencing, a custom fabricated steel driveway gate, Techo-Bloc pavers, an indoor/outdoor countertop with a window between the inside and outside kitchen, a pergola (designed and installed by a third party), vegetable gardens, plants and Kichler landscape lights.

The centerpiece of the project, according to Kaylin, is the pool—an innovative product designed and manufactured by Soake Pools that arrives as a fully-tiled precast concrete product, mostly-built.

“These pools are cast in concrete and tiled in New Hampshire and then shipped direct to the site,” Jake says. “We then dig the hole and prepare the site before craning the 11-ton pool into place. Once it is in place, we install all the plumbing, electrical, pool equipment, coping and cover before it is ready for the client to enjoy.”

“We’ve become good friends,” Jake says of the pool manufacturer. “We’ve done quite a few projects together. And they’re also a huge fan of the team approach. They have a great product and incredible customer service, and we are proud to have completed many installs with them.”

Kaylin sees the back yard as a transitional space with a modern vibe: concrete and metal softened with minimal grasses and a native planting palette. Combinations of

perennials bring color to the area. Plantings include Blonde Ambition, Little Bluestem and Coneflower. Close to the pool are Hot Wings Maple and Japanese forest grass.

“I feel that we were really able to bring in a nice layering of plants to complement the patio spaces,” says Kaylin. “And you can make your space feel so much bigger when you plan correctly.”

The construction was not without challenges. First, Jake remembers the grading being tricky because of the large size of the pavers (20"x30").

“Any sort of change in grade in the patio, Spring 2023 26

and you start getting some of the corners sticking up above the next paver,” he says. “You have to plan accordingly for that.”

Also, because the house was being completely gutted and remodeled, the Singing Hills crew had to work in close proximity with the house-building trades.

The design of the pergola included an electric heater that was on a cantilever over the pool, which Jake knew would not pass inspection. After a little back and forth with the pergola company, that problem was rectified.

Kaylin enjoyed learning about Soake Pools as a new trend and a new element. “Singing Hills was just a great fit to build their project,” she says. “I think it’s so nice when

you’re able to coordinate with the architects in those early stages of the design process. We could really create a nice access view out into the yard for that feeling of arrival into the yard from the house.”

Jake adds, “What we really like about the team approach that comes with working with outside architects and designers is the owner is more comfortable with the contractor from the project onset as the designer adds a level of accountability that builds trust quickly among the parties.”

www. synkd .io 27 Spring 2023

Singing Hills’ teambuilding efforts continue into the future.

“We continue to seek relationships with outside architecture firms as we appreciate the different perspectives and styles that working with a multitude of designers brings,” Jake adds. “We also appreciate that they are a part of our sales team, and they appreciate that we send them work as well. Overall, the team approach has worked great for us.”

Get In Touch With...

Jake Leman

Vice President of Singing Hills Landscape Inc. Phone: (303) 343–4100 Spring 2023 28
Small Pools. Big Benefits.® Custom Pre-Cast Concrete Plunge Pools Hand-tiled in New Hampshire | Delivery throughout the U.S. | (603) 749–0665 | Pembroke, New Hampshire
Photos courtesy of ©Olivia Martin and ©Singing Hills Landscape Inc.


Two Days of the Most Powerful Hurricane Turned into Eight Months of Full-Speed Restoration

When Landscape Architect Malcolm Miller, president of Land Form Design Group Inc. set foot on the One&Only Palmilla resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, he was shocked. After assessing many hurricane-hit resorts in Florida, the Bahamas and Mexico for landscape insurance claims, he thought that this one would be similar. It was worse than he had ever experienced before.

Hurricane Odile made landfall in Baja, California, Sept. 14-15, 2014, and was named the most powerful storm to hit the region—with an estimated damage of $1 billion. Malcolm was called by colleagues

www. synkd .io 29 Spring 2023

Sean Simm and John Galloway to come and lead the landscape restoration work, but the local airport had been hit hard by the hurricane also, so he had to fly into La Paz 150 miles away.

This boutique hotel is small— only 110-keys—but large on service, with over 1,000 staff members. The hotel depended on the team to get the repair work done as quickly as possible—with a goal of eight months to welcome guests again—to, again, be an amazing experience overlooking the Sea of Cortez.

The silver lining is that the hurricane damage and subsequent shutdown did give an opportunity for upgrades and restoration to the interior and exterior of the resort. They welcome many repeat customers throughout the year and heavy renovations are critical in this competitive market. Resorts of this caliber require capital improvements every three to five years.

On day one, Malcolm determined that he could save many of the palms—over 1,200 coconut palms at 30-40-feet-high—on the resort through dedicated maintenance, thus saving a total of $3 million in tree replacement costs. Not only was this a cost savings, but it would also be critical to recreating the welcoming and established atmosphere of the resort in the short eight-month turnaround time. The coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) were trimmed and sprayed with fungicide. With regular monitoring and fertilizing, new growth appeared six to eight months after the hurricane. The understory planting had to be completely redesigned and thousands of new plants installed throughout the grounds.

“It was a huge commitment to do this job, as I live in Florida and traveling way over on the west coast of Mexico takes a whole day,” says Malcolm. “It’s pretty much a 12-hour trip door-to-door. I would go there for a week to 10 days at a time and come home for a week. So. it seemed like every time I came home, I was turning back around and heading back out there. I am very proud of what the team accomplished. It was worth it!” Spring 2023 30

The hotel staff had the option to stay home and earn partial pay or come to learn and help with restoration works. Many jumped right in to help, becoming a key workforce involved in the tidying up of the grounds and hotel premises. “The staff from Palmilla were so hardworking and efficient,” Malcolm says. “I was ultimately amazed at the craftsmanship that they put into their work.”

One of the major hardscape improvements was a conversion of a kid’s day camp area into a new space called Villa Christina. The scope included a newly built infinity edge pool with a surprising feature of a clear wall at the end of the pool to allow a glimpse the Sea of Cortez when swimming underwater. This area also includes a hanging bed under a Palapa thatched pergola. The patio area utilized local Mexican stone for the pool deck, which is the same as the rest of the resort.

The large infinity pool, Aberca Aqua, in the main resort area was resurfaced with new tile and new decor and furniture supplied by Anderson/Miller Ltd. Some of the furniture destroyed during the storm was handmade in Bali. To get more of the same furniture to match and to meet the deadline, the hotel had to figure out how to speed up the process. The solution turned out to be in the shipping. They used 747 planes to fly the furniture over.

Malcolm was invited to attend the grand opening for the hotel. “The general manager was so pleased with the gardens that we created that he asked us to continue visiting quarterly to walk the property and spend time with the maintenance and operations teams to ensure the overall vision comes to

www. synkd .io 31 Spring 2023

fruition,” Malcolm says. “I’m very passionate about the postconstruction and post-installation followup. The landscape is a living thing and when you’re done installing, it doesn’t mean it’s done. So, I take a lot of pride in planning what it will look like in two years, five years, 10 years. Those projects where I do get invited back to the properties, I keep those close to my heart.”

Even better, Malcolm and his team did meet the target for the hotel’s grand opening.

Get In Touch With...

Malcolm Miller, ASLA

President of Land Form Design Group Inc.

Phone: (954) 461–6191

Email: Spring 2023 32 inspirational works We are committed to helping professionals grow their business through outdoor lighting and beyond. LET’S GROW YOUR BUSINESS, TOGETHER High-Quality Products Training & Education Continuous Support Exclusive Content Highest Quality Light Output in the Industry
Photos courtesy of © 2018 Kerzner
Outdoor Living. European Style. Add an elegant louvered pergola to compliment the rest of your design/build landscape project. Your clients will thank you. Become a Dealer Exclusive dealerships are available within these regions: • Pacific Northwest • Central Plains • Gulf States Scan for Info California: 925.822.8000 Texas: 817.562.6000 Nevada: 775.499.1000 Colorado: 720.647.8000 Florida: 239.399.8000 Arizona: 602.421.7000 Office Locations


Project Value


Build Time

1 year of planning; 2.5 weeks of installation


2 floors, 2 moss walls, totaling 845 sq. ft. Awards

NALP 2022 Gold Awards of Excellence Spring 2023 34


The developers of a newly constructed state building with large north-facing windows wanted more than just natural sunlight to bring the outside in. So, they hired Paige Tisdale and the team at Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscaping to fill the space with live greenery.

The Oregon State Treasury commissioned the company to create a biophilic design that would reflect the lush landscapes surrounding it, while still maintaining a modern aesthetic.

“Oregon has so many wonderful outdoor elements to enjoy—from the ocean, mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, valleys and desert,” says Paige. “They wanted to reflect the beauty of the state they represent.”

The concept of biophilic design is to connect people with nature by creating spaces with natural light and plants. Paige says the other reason the client wanted to incorporate this type of design was to reduce the stress levels of their employees.

“Our innate connection to nature is not only relaxing but also healing. The effects of biophilia have also been

www. synkd .io 35 Spring 2023
Biophilic design is important to utilize in our built environment to sooth the negative effects of urbanization
Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscaping | Oregon State Treasury Biophilic Design

shown to affect employee retention and attract new employees. People are looking for a higher quality in their work environment and spaces to take breaks and relax,” she says.

Once the final plans were approved, the project only took about two weeks to create and four days to install. They encountered a few challenges because of tight deadlines, delays and product shortages.

The moss material they chose for the three 29-foot living walls was delayed because of flooding in Canada. They also did not have enough of the moss types for the original design, so they had to make a few adjustments.

The building’s floors were laid before Paige’s team installed the moss walls. They needed a scissor lift for the walls, but it exceeded the weight limit of the new flooring. The area had little space for any other type of equipment, so they had to get creative.

“We had to have a technician hang from the ceiling beams in a harness and screw in the remaining panels on the 29-foot-high wall,” she says. “Thank goodness he wasn’t afraid of heights!”

Moss walls need very little care after installation, but Paige designed the planter beds with maintenance in mind. Her team is contracted to take care of them for one year after installation.

“We design all our plant designs for long-term success with the intent to maintain them,” she says. “We want to make it easy on our technicians and our clients.”

Paige has been involved in biophilic design professionally for four Spring 2023 36

years, but she has had an interest in the concept for a decade—after seeing the benefits plants had on her mental health when she spent most of one winter working in a greenhouse.

“I did not experience seasonal depression at all, which I normally do every winter. (It was) a miracle to me,” she says. “Ever since then, I’ve been passionate about sharing with other people the benefits nature can have on our mental health.”

She believes that more companies will consider incorporating elements of biophilic design into their workspaces to benefit their employees. After the COVID-19 pandemic, many people had to return to their offices after several months of working from home.

“Companies are going to great lengths to create a work environment that is more welcoming than your own home,” she says. “(A place) where you actually want to visit a few times a week to collaborate with colleagues and enjoy a more creative and productive space.”

Design & Development at Dennis’ 7 Dees

Phone: (503)777–7777


www. synkd .io 37 Spring 2023 inspirational works
Get In Touch With...
The Clean Breeze Collection Comfortable, Lightweight & Adjustable Continuous Airflow Over Head & Face HEPA-Filtered Air Stay Cooler Protects Face & Eyes Reduces UV Exposure Mobile System - Indoor & Outdoor Use Mowing * Weedeating * Blowing * Bush Hogging * Sanding Woodworking * Woodturning * Crafting For more information Recommended & Proudly Endorsed By "Moonshiners" Mark & Digger September|October 2022 4 synkd | our community
raise the bar

A Look Back at Our Inaugural Event in Atlanta

& OPPORTUNITIES Spring 2023 40
Keynote Speaker Jeff McManus Deborah Cole PANEL ONE: SUSTAINABILITY–CHALLENGES MODERATOR: Paul Jamison PANELISTS: Angelica Norton, Dr. Damon Abdi, Malcolm Miller & Brandy Hall FIRST UP ON THE TECHNICAL STAGE IS Dr. Anna Paltseva Greg Niewold Tom Watson
www. synkd .io 41 Spring 2023 DIDN’T MAKE IT TO SYNKD LIVE? PURCHASE ACCESS TO ALL RECORDINGS BY SCANNING THE QR CODE SYNKD Award Winners from L-R: Newly SYNKD Award goes to ServeScape. Received by Mario Camberdella Innovatively SYNKD Award goes to Langton Group. Received by Julia Langton Environmentally SYNKD Awards goes to MonarchChem. Received by Patrick Henry
HighGrove Partners
Colah B. Tawkin, Podcast Host of Black in the Garden & Anne Marie Fruge Bob Hawkinson & Angelique Robb at SYNKD Awards
The Cumberland Landscape Group posing after Billy Van Eaton’s presentation The SYNKD Team from L-R: Anne Marie Fruge, Caitlyn Wallace, Aimee Almaguer & Angelique Robb Langton Minton & Pete Sepesi

and maintain, living green walls for landscapers to add to their range of services. • GSky green walls mount to a variety of surfaces outside, with an irrigation system or integrate with the landscape irrigation. • Interchangeable with ease— one gallon potted plants can be changed out as the seasons change or as the client desires.

Visit us at or call (561) 894–8688 TO NEW HEIGHTS TAKING GREEN WALLS The Green Wall Product for Landscapers = VERSA Wall ® XT GSky has installed over 1,300 green walls in 20 countries since 2006. We are available to train you and your team and offer assistance as required. • Versa Wall® XT keeps a lush full look throughout
to design, install

URBAN Greening

Root Management is Key to Healthy Urban Trees

Washington Avenue, a hightraffic downtown street in St. Louis, Missouri, was redeveloped in 2016-17 from 7th Street to Memorial Drive. The vision for the first two streetscape phases was to improve lighting and maximize durability of the area which sees all four seasons, from scorching-hot summers to frigid winters. Matching the design aesthetic of the two previous phases, which had significantly higher budgets, is where the challenge was delivered. With historic buildings lining the street, bringing the design to fruition involved working with individual building owners in addition to city officials to ensure the success of the project.

To provide value and durability to the streetscape, the project designers envisioned a grove of healthy street trees along the sidewalk, providing not only the longed-for aesthetic appeal, but also the many benefits that healthy trees offer— like oxygen creation, carbon mitigation, health improvement, reduction in urban heat island effect, noise abatement and traffic calming.

Here are a few more benefits to planting trees:

• A single mature tree absorbs carbon at a rate of 47.5 lbs per year.

• Tree planting remains one the most cost-effective methods to control CO2.

• Trees buffer stormwater and prevent erosion (100 mature trees can capture over 300,000 gallons of rainwater each year).

• Mature trees and greenspaces help reduce crime levels in urban areas.

• Trees have been shown to have a positive effect on road safety. Roadside planting can also be used to improve pedestrian safety by creating a barrier between roads and sidewalks.

However, the hardscape requirements of a heavily urbanized street like Washington Avenue are in contrast to the natural needs of healthy tree establishment. Couple that with basements that extended all the way under the sidewalk and out to the street curb, as can sometimes be the case with extremely

www. synkd .io 43 Spring 2023

urban downtown landscapes, and you’ve got some very challenging and constrained planting areas. Then, the question of how to successfully integrate trees into a street like this is raised.

These challenging site conditions created a situation where every available cubic foot of space had to be fully maximized to provide the soil volume needed for the trees being planted to thrive. Soil cells were utilized, as they have the largest usable void space, which means that the readily available soil for the trees is absolutely maximized. These soil cell modules are made from 100 percent recycled plastics and are specifically designed for maximum soil and rooting volume and low environmental impact.

Extensive compression testing of these units has been carried out in highly reputable, independent testing laboratories. The complete test of each size and configuration is repeated several times to ensure reliability of data and confirm consistency of the unit’s structural performance.

The constant replacement of trees, as is often the situation with street trees, was something that the designers did not want for this space. As such, GreenBlue Urban’s ArborSystem met the challenge and was implemented to deliver the solution. Five years later, these trees are thriving on Washington Avenue, saving the city time, money and resources, all while not disturbing the historical landscape or negatively impacting the environment.

The development of this public realm has created the intended space of a sought-after streetscape. In addition to the tree elements, LED light fixtures now improve site and pedestrian lighting, and long linear promenade pavers in varying shades of gray reflect the surrounding urban context while providing a more modern aesthetic feel.

Get In Touch With...

Shane Carpani


Underground tree pit packages, which include soil cell modules, were used to link the subsurface soil volumes together where possible, ensuring a high-quality rooting space within the non-compacted soil filled RootSpace system. This tree pit system replicates the forest floor scenario as closely as possible by providing trees with the uncompacted, aerated soil crucial to their long-term health. Soil cells are engineered load-bearing modules with over 95 percent open void space, meaning they provide maximum rooting volume as well as the ability to accommodate services. This system can be used close to highways due to world-leading lateral performance. Spring 2023 44

Patent Pending

The new Razor from Coastal Source is the first line of outdoor wall and hardscape speakers built with true HiFi performance in mind. This series offers striking sound from a slim profile speaker system that elegantly disappears into the background meeting homeowners’ current hidden technology expectations. Razor minimizes the visual impact on the home’s outdoor aesthetic while maximizing superior sound performance. Pair with our award winning, Plug+Play™ Outdoor Lighting system to create the ultimate outdoor retreat for your clients.

| 800.719.1996

Available through authorized dealers and contractors.


The versatility of natural stone as well as its longevity provides a sustainable solution to creative client requests. Coldspring USA gives us some project examples of what they have created.

Alexander Lofts Art Park

Located in West Palm Beach, Florida, Alexander Lofts Park is an open space for informal neighborhood gatherings and passive activities. This plaza creates a featured amenity for visitors and local residents alike. A sculptural seating piece made of laminated natural stone slabs acts as a rain garden, managing stormwater. The project uses all native stone materials and drapes these materials across the site to create a wavelike form, referencing the local geology of the Florida peninsula.

The bench is sculpted mostly from limestone, with a color palette containing shades of cream, gold and grey. Slivers of anodized aluminum were strategically

placed to prevent skateboarders and bikers from scratching the sculpture. Along with its smooth flowing form, the sculptural bench evokes images of the sand and waves of Florida.

The Epic II 7th Floor Terrace

Natural Stone as a Sculptural Element in Your Design

to complete, and its seventh floor’s footprint is an ideal location for outdoor terrace space.

Landscape architecture firm Hocker selected Rockville White® granite for use as the primary material for the terrace flatwork. Capable of withstanding weather and human interaction elements, granite excels in all types of situations due to its hardness and resistance to wear. The design utilized rectangular 5x2-inch, 6x2-foot-thick pavers on pedestals for the east terrace. On the west terrace, the dimensions were stretched to 6X2 feet and 6 inches, with pieces having splayed cuts to form their parallelogram format. With flatwork defined, the architect then focused attention on further developing the east and west feature elements.

Straddling downtown Dallas’s eastern border with Deep Ellum, the new Epic development represents a large-scale offering of modern office leasing space in Texas. The Epic II Tower is the second tower

On the east terrace, the feature element utilized cubic granite blocks to retain soil and create areas of planted landscaping. These blocks follow a serpentine footprint Spring 2023 46

and have varying heights and tier levels to yield a flowing and random appearance.

For the smaller west terrace, there was a desire to share material types but to utilize them differently. Here, the terrace is partially covered by a trellis and includes one large stone feature. The feature changes configuration around its perimeter where it serves as a seating surface, houses a gas-burning firepit and functions as a retaining wall for planted landscape.

Turn to the River

The community in Terre Haute, Indiana, had a vision—to reconnect their downtown with the river that runs through it. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of local leaders, a nonprofit arts organization, one artist and one of the leading natural stone suppliers in North America, that vision became a reality.

The project, Turn to the River, is an ambitious mission to connect the downtown with the Wabash Riverfront area through public art, new pathways and rethinking the use of spaces. The project includes a

remodeled plaza and a spectacular black granite sculpture. The sculpture, created by artist Brad Goldberg, is positioned between the Vigo County Courthouse and Terre Haute City Hall. It incorporates the beautiful and versatile Mesabi Black® granite provided by Coldspring and includes a carved abstraction of the Wabash River Valley and pools in which the water falls at both ends of the artwork.

www. synkd .io 47 Spring 2023 synkd
| raise the bar

entrances with leaf-inspired openings and seating areas, ensuring that the entrances would be eye-catching and in scale with the environment. Over 8,250 cubic feet of Kenoran Sage granite in natural and thermal finishes was used to create the two entry portals, standing at 16 feet tall and 20 feet tall, respectively. The project was successfully completed and dedicated in November 2019.

Get In Touch With...

Craig Gerber

Regional Sales Manager for California, Nevada and Arizona

Phone: (951) 549–9042


Spring Creek Nature Area

Directly across from the fast-growing, lively atmosphere of CityLine development in Richardson, Texas, Spring Creek Nature Area consists of 180 acres of virgin old-growth hardwood forest, looping trails and scenic creek views. With an interest in preserving a rare, natural open space within the heart of a dynamic development corridor, the city of Richardson sent out a request for qualifications to design two visually enticing entrances to mark the separate pedestrian entrances.

Together with DCBA Landscape Architects, Brad Goldberg, artist of Brad J. Goldberg, Inc., submitted his credentials and was selected to work with the city on the entry portals. Goldberg envisioned a visually engaging natural stone design, viewable from surrounding roadways and development that would complement the beauty of the surrounding nature. Each entry point would consist of about 20,000 square feet of working area, placing importance on preserving the majority of the existing trees and landscaping.

Goldberg recommended granite to the city for the nature park because of its durability and maintenance-free elements.

The project was no small feat. Massive quarry blocks with drill marks intact were shipped in to create two large portal Spring 2023 48

The number and cost of weatherrelated disasters are on the rise in the United States. This is due to increased exposure, greater intensity and damage caused, along with the rate at which these events are occurring. Reports from the Climate Change Committee attribute much of this increase to climate change. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, the number of billion-dollar disasters in 2020 came from 22 separate events. The cost of these events exceeded $95 billion in damages. Of these, 13 were related to severe storms. The strain of stormwater events is especially hard on urban areas, where the landscape and the population are dense.

Most cities use municipal separate storm sewer systems. These are networks of ditches, curbs, gutters, sewer pipes and outfalls solely dedicated to moving runoff from everywhere in the city to the natural waterways that eventually carry it away. However, in the event of extreme rainfall, these waterways are not equipped to manage a deluge of water. Additionally, pollutants from the streets are washed into the waterways. Some cities have added concrete to the inside of channels to increase the water flow, but this diminishes the natural beauty of the landscape and does nothing to pull pollutants from the water.


solutions to better mitigate the effects of stormwater and reduce pollutants in our water. Among these is requiring a certain percentage of porous surface in new development and redoing existing impervious surfaces. Many design professionals are opting to use permeable paving on areas that have traditionally been paved with concrete or asphalt in order to achieve these goals.

Permeable paving is a type of pavement or under-surface structure that supports the passage of rainfall or water runoff through the surface of the sub-surface below it. They are designed primarily to support the heavy load of traffic while also protecting the surface from compaction and allowing drainage. Permeable pavers can support a wide range of traffic types, from pedestrian foot traffic and residential parking to emergency vehicles. The depth of the base course beneath the pavers determines the weight the pavers can support. With appropriate base course, permeable pavers can far exceed H-20 loading and have a psi of over 15,000.

There are different types of permeable paving: concrete paving blocks, porous

concrete or asphalt, rigid plastic porous pavers and flexible plastic porous pavers. The functionality, flow rate, maintenance and aesthetics vary with the type of porous paver used; the use, weight and frequency of traffic determine what type of paver can be used.

It is important to create surfaces that are pervious for several reasons. Permeable pavers can not only reduce flooding, but the water is absorbed back into the earth, filtering out pollutants and recharging ground water. Urban areas can decrease areas covered in concrete and asphalt and increase natural surfaces and green space. This can reduce both heat and sound. There are also cold weather benefits, as the air trapped in the pavement can store heat and release it to the surface, speeding the melting of snow and ice. Once melted, the snow will dissipate back through the pavers.

Pedestrian paths, parking lots and fire lanes can all be made using porous paving, creating areas around buildings that will drain instead of pool or send runoff to other areas. Certain porous pavers, namely ridged or flexible ones filled with aggregate or topped with grass, can add green space to

www. synkd .io 49 Spring 2023
1 2


the design, thus making an otherwise single-purpose area into a multifunctional space. Grass pavers can also reduce CO2 emissions.

While using any permeable paver in lieu of concrete or asphalt is an environmentally better choice, rigid and flexible plastic pavers will have the greatest impact on extreme rain events, making them the best option in urban areas. They also have the greatest void space so will offer the highest flow rate and, because they are used in conjunction with aggregate or grass, they offer the greatest environmental benefits. These pavers can also be used in conjunction with underground water storage systems for maximum impact. Because natural bioremediation occurs when the water runs through sand, these systems can provide the opportunity for water reuse, further increasing the environmental benefits.

As populations continue to grow in urban areas, adding porous surfaces, along with

5 6

other low-impact solutions, will be increasingly important. Implementing building and design practices that will help to mitigate stormwater events will aid in cities being more resilient. In moving toward greener urban planning, we can better preserve and protect the future of these cities.

1 Curving drive scaled

2 GP2 cross section

3 Sky lounge FIU

4 Fire lane

5 Botanic garden

Get In Touch With...

Marianne Davidson

Vice President, Marketing

Email: Spring 2023 50
6 Up close of gravel pave 4
Our covers are made to fit a wide variety of uses Simply input the surrounding hardscape into the cover Seamlessly blend into the surrounding landscape Tel. 775-400-2883 WunderCovers™ seamlessly blend manhole, drain, or utility access covers and vaults Custom covers, built to order, low volume, any size or configuration
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.