In a matter of weeks it will be five years since Superstorm Sandy ravaged the U.S. East Coast. Folks entrusted with dealing with Sandy’s destruction and working to return their communities back to a semblance of normalcy (referencing landscape and tree pros in this instance) certainly haven’t forgotten.
Hurricane season is upon us again and Patrick Donovan, owner of Classic Landscaping, Edison, New Jersey, shares some of the lessons he learned in the brutally long, chaotic days immediately following Sandy’s landfall. Some of what he experienced may be helpful to you, too. No region of the U.S. is immune to the catastrophic consequences of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, tornado, wildfire or earthquake. As a landscaper or arborist, sometime during your career you will likely have to help property owners — perhaps even your own clients — pick up the pieces when their properties are damaged by a natural catastrophe.
Have a basic plan in place
You should, at the very least, put together a basic disaster response plan to share with your team in the event (unlikely as it may seem today) of a natural disaster. Your plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with knowing how to contact each other during and immediately after Mother Nature’s wrath. It’s also wise to have some basic materials on hand or easily accessible, such as water, an alternate power source like a diesel generator, fuel, appropriate equipment, etc.
But let’s get back to Sandy, which resulted in damages estimated at more than $71 billion in the U.S., second in terms of costliness only to Hurricane Katrina. Superstorm Sandy didn’t arrive without warning but it did arrive rapidly. On Oct. 29, 2012, the hurricane lumbered into New Jersey and New York after birthing as a tropical wave in the western Caribbean a mere seven days earlier. Sweeping up the East Coast, it veered west and made landfall just a few miles north of Atlantic City. Its ferocious hurricane-force winds pushed a huge storm surge inland destroying or severely damaging thousands of homes and properties in low-lying regions of New Jersey and places in and around New York City, as well as inundating streets, tunnels and subway lines in the city itself.
Sandy brings many challenges
Donovan counts himself and his family fortunate, a sentiment he maintains even almost five years after the event. Indeed, like a scab that has yet to heal, some of the storm’s destruction — ruined homes, damaged trees, etc. — remain evident. “There are many houses still in a state of disrepair. For reasons unknown, homes have not been repaired or demolished,” he says.
“In my area, which is not much above sea level but far enough away, most of the damage was downed and uprooted trees. Getting utility companies to shut power off was the issue. Cutting power took days at some locations. Our issue was trees on top of wires or buried under wires. To this day, you can drive anywhere in the tri-state area and see extremely large-caliper trees uprooted, snapped, widow makers and dead trees still left after they and Sandy crossed paths,” he adds.
Two challenges immediately revealed themselves to Donovan and his team as they got to work as soon as the worst of the hurricane had passed.
“Lack of communication was at the top of the list. I, myself, had no power for five days. We had limited phone service but were able to get internet service, go figure,” he says. Some of his clients had services, but many did not.
Another complication — and a big one — was the lack of fuel. “Stations had no electricity so they were unable to pump fuel. We were experiencing gas lines like back in the 1970s,” he continues. “Once the electricity was restored, the states ran out of fuel. We were siphoning fuel out of mowers and machines we were not using. These are the things you don’t think about on a day-to-day basis when all is well in life.”
Sandy’s size and ferocity created another huge problem that anyone having to cleanup properties after a hurricane, tornado or huge storm will instantly recognize.
“The amount of tree and vegetative debris was overwhelming,” Donovan says. “The mulch piles were 60 to 70 feet high. It actually got to the point the state regulatory agencies modified the quantity of material suppliers could store on-site. It was necessary because there was no where to deposit the massive quantities of debris.”
The financial and emotional toll
Then there’s the financial and human emotional toll created by destruction on such a scale. The financial toll is easy enough to understand if not measure precisely. The emotional toll on individuals and families that lost their homes and possessions can never be fully tallied.
Donovan says he has friends who lost their houses. “We mean they lost their houses. They were not there when they returned to them,” he emphasizes. Others, especially in New Jersey, have had to raise their homes on stilts 9 to 10 feet in the air, most at their own expense. If they don’t, they will be drowned in increased insurance costs.
Finally, and this is a sobering thought for any landscape pro who predicts a huge bump up in their revenue after the initial cleanup work – landscape renovations on most properties will not begin for months, if not years, later.
“Many of my clients’ facilities expended their grounds budgets and every other budget on the storm,” says Donovan. “There were no additional monies remaining in budgets to do anything other than clean up. Renovations after the storm were not even on their radar.”
In many instances, as a landscape pro or arborist, some of your time and the time of your employees will be devoted to helping to bring your community back to life — community service.
“My family and I volunteered to help a church group clean out peoples’ homes in Staten Island affected by the storm,” Donovan says. “I wanted my children to see firsthand how fortunate we were by not taking a direct hit like so many others did.”
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Take a good, long look around your company, specifically at your employees. Fifty-one percent of them are currently looking to leave their jobs, according to a 2017 Gallup poll.
What’s worse is that 46 percent of employees answering an ADP survey say they would even consider taking a new job that matched their current salary or even paid less. In a BusinessSolver survey, it gets worse: 80 percent of employees say they would work more hours and 60 percent would take a pay cut to work for a more empathetic employer.
Not to rub salt in the wound, but 26 percent of the U.S. workforce that says they are going to change jobs this year are the most highly skilled and motivated people you’ve got.
What’s the problem? Workers today want more, according to a Forbes report, which says, “They want something different. They are demanding, they want meaningful work, and they expect their employers to make work more rewarding in many ways. Today, employees don’t want a career; they want an experience.”
And statistics prove it. Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. workforce now works part time. Millennials want more creative jobs and they want to work for startups. And all types of employees say they want work to be easier, less punishing and more meaningful, the Forbes report says.
Retention is clearly the No. 1 strategy for combating this loss of half your workforce. But what do employees want?
According to an Aflac study, the top five reasons employees say they like working for small businesses are:
Forbes research also states there are five elements that drive a highly engaged workforce:
The best places to work clearly are more than just cool office spaces. They have what some experts call a “soul” that makes work exciting and energizing. They invest in good management, and they train and develop their people. They define their business in a way that brings purpose to the organization. And, they offer their employees flexibility so they can thrive.
What keeps your employees motivated and engaged?
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After joining just last year, Focal Pointe Outdoor Solutions hosted the 2nd annual Better Than Both peer group meeting in St. Louis on Aug. 7-9. John Munie, Focal Pointe’s owner, credits the peer group’s networking and learning leading to his company’s improvements within only the past year. Seven companies participated in this year’s peer group event including: Native Land Design, Level Green Landscaping, Duke’s Landscape Management, Focal Pointe Outdoor Solutions, Greenscape Inc., Mike Ward Landscaping and Conserve LandCare.
Thanks to the St. Louis Cardinals, the three-day event was held at Busch Stadium, which included a facility tour, a Cardinals game and meetings in the stadium’s conference center. Approximately 110 people attended the “Home Run” summit, including company owners, employees and sponsors. It was an increase from the 86 attendees last year in Austin.
To kick off the day on Tuesday, Rob Wolff, an executive with High Performing Culture, discussed how important it is for an organization to have a winning culture. Improving the culture of your company helps drive success and performance.
Bruce Wilson, a landscape industry consultant and facilitator for the BTB peer group and others, along with his colleague Pam Stark, spoke with the group about successful cultural traits. Even if a company doesn’t talk about the culture or define it, a culture will still develop. Company leadership needs to decide what direction the culture of the company should take. Cultures can evolve positively or negatively, but a profitable growth culture must be built around company values.
The companies then split up into groups to discuss their own cultures and ways they could improve. They analyzed their company’s good and bad qualities and applied an eight-step framework to make a better culture.
On the second day, the companies split into tracks based on job positions. Christine Soderlund talked to administration teams about building an army of recruiters and the how to interview for hiring success. Recruiting is not a one-time event — companies should always be looking for good people. Good hiring is fundamental to building good teams. Pam Stark spoke with the sales teams about building clients for life. Clients pay the bills and employ the team so their retention is crucial to success. Other speakers included Ben Gandy, who talked about influencing people’s behavior based on personality traits.
Sponsors of the event included: John Deere, SiteOne, the Cardinals, CAT, Exmark, Toro, Super Lawn Trucks, Aspire, Isuzu and Apparel Manufacturing. Many of the sponsors came to the event and even stayed for some of the sessions. Bruce Wilson said the presence of the sponsors at the event really shows the power of partnership.
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When you think of Europe, what comes to mind? Grand piazzas? Beautiful green spaces like the lush lawns around the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Hyde Park in London? Well people all over the world are working to bring the people back to the public square.
One entity addressing public spaces in urban settings is the Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona. The center selects an international jury that chooses a winner from entries of revitalized and reimagined public spaces for its European Prize for Urban Public Space. This year, 276 candidates from 33 countries submitted entries. The works of the 25 finalists will be featured in an exhibition that will tour different European cities over the next two years.
The prize was created in 2000 and, according to the CCCB, “has become a recognized showcase of the evolution of public space in Europe and is a finger on the pulse of the main concerns of European cities today.
“The aim of the prize is to recognize and foster the public character of urban spaces and their capacity for fostering social cohesion,” according to CCCB’s public space website. The goal of focusing on urban spaces and the civic aspects that those spaces serve makes this award different from others given for architecture or landscape design, the CCCB notes.
One design, the recovery of an irrigation system at the Thermal Orchards in Caldes de Montbui, Spain, addressed the main canal’s risky access and contaminated stream. Now there is a walkway for public access and wastewater is channeled. There is also a new public open space and a pool integrated into the existing irrigation system that cools the thermal water.
The Heavenly Hundred Garden in Kiev, Ukraine, turned a former dumpsite and shelter for stray dogs into a thriving green space where fresh vegetables are grown, open-air parties and film series are held, and musicians perform.
The refurbishment of Tasinge Square in Copenhagen, Denmark, created a green oasis that has become a place for play – including parasols that collect rainwater and can be hand-pumped to water vegetation. Entrances to two bunkers, air raid shelters that are used as rehearsal space by local musicians, are now seating areas, and sculpture pieces also foster activity with local children.
View all 25 finalists for the European Prize visit the Urban Public Space website.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated.
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With designs extending nationally and internationally, most of Keiji Asakura’s 38 years of experience in urban design, landscape architecture and planning has been transforming communities and urban spaces throughout Houston. His efforts have successfully spanned a highly diverse range of communities with a focus on historically disadvantaged Hispanic, Asian and African-American urban neighborhoods.
Raised in Tokyo, Japan, until the age of 15, Asakura moved to Los Angeles in 1969 — trading the world’s largest metropolis for America’s largest metropolis. As a newly arrived immigrant with limited English, Los Angeles was a land of abundance, open space, optimism and opportunity for him. In high school, Asakura worked after school at a local nursery and then received his bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from California State University.
In 1982 at age 28, Asakura moved to Houston after being asked by his employer, the SWA Group, a multinational landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm, to move to its Houston branch. Then, two years later at the age of 30, he started his own landscaping firm, Asakura Robinson, noted for providing community-driven landscape design solutions and planning leadership.
Over the years living and working in Houston, Asakura has garnered an extensive collection of community service awards, including the 2011 American Society of Landscape Architects’ Distinguished Member Award, the 2009 President Obama’s Call for Service Award and the City of Houston Mayor White’s 2005 Proud Partner Award for Distinguished Service.
As an active board member of Keep Houston Beautiful for 16 years, Asakura has dedicated thousands of volunteer hours to beautifying Houston neighborhoods. In the capacity of an urban planner, Asakura was appointed in 2010 by Houston Mayor Annise Parker to be a member of Houston’s Planning Commission. His accomplishments have been more than hands-on, working with the Public Works Department to develop the Adopt-a-Ditch program and later updating the Adopt-an-Esplanade program, both programs focusing on improved water quality in Houston.
Asakura reaches out to underserved neighborhoods through program development with organizations such as LISC’s Go-Neighborhood program; Houston Endowment’s NEA Placemaking grant; Texas A&M’s Coastal Citizen Planner Program; USGBC Galveston’s Hurricane Ike Recovery Initiative; Better Block Houston; Collaborative for Children’s Nature Play Initiative; and Neighborhood Centers Inc.
Proudest moment in the landscape business: Being selected as a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects – Texas Chapter. Fellowship is the highest honor one can achieve in the landscape architecture industry. I was pleased to be recognized by my peers, colleagues and community.
Biggest business challenge: Executing our brand throughout our work. It is important that we not only recognize our core values but implement them in every project we do.
Best sources of landscape design/build inspiration: We draw inspiration from the communities that will influence and experience our designs.
Favorite plant or plant combination: Native plants for their sustainable factors and ecological benefits. I’m also drawn to edible plants because they are a tangible, healthy and affordable resource for many communities.
Monday morning motivation: My Monday mornings are motivated by my peers — they’re an engaged and energetic group of people who take pride in their work.
Business worry that keeps you up at night: Like many business leaders, I spend time considering the future of the company. I want to ensure that we progress and participate in meaningful projects in the many years to come.
Landscape design/install mentor or idol: My idols are influential landscape designers from around the world who have contributed immensely to the landscape architecture industry, including Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, Lawrence Halprin, Roberto Burle Marx and Mirei Shigemori.
Favorite business or landscape design book: “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” by Jane Jacobs. This book has a community-driven outlook to preserving cities and neighborhoods — an approach I take in my design process. Another favorite book is “The Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson, an initiator of the environmental movement. I also enjoy any books by J.B. Jackson, who speaks on the cultural connotations of domesticated landscapes.
Landscape design/install project you’ve worked on that makes you smile every time you drive past it: I take pride in seeing Mandell Park, a project that’s a product of placemaking. The park is a direct result of the surrounding neighborhood’s efforts to transform an abandoned lot into a community space. The park’s design incorporates native plants and a community garden, which are maintained by the people of the community.
In five years, where do you see your business going: I see us as a more integrated firm, combining our landscape and planning expertise to deliver more insight and take part in more meaningful and impactful projects across the nation. We will be in a position where we are valued for our commitment to research-oriented and community-driven approaches and designs.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated.
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How important is it to you that your clients get to know your employees? For Ruppert Landscape, headquartered in Laytonsville, Maryland, it’s so important that the company recently implemented a new detail to its uniform standards — adding nametags for all field personnel in the company’s landscape management division. While the company has always made an effort to connect employees and customers, Chuck Whealton, region manager for the company’s landscape management division, says this takes it a step farther.
“Our two most important values are people and customers so it makes sense that we bring the two together and develop a solid working relationship,” says Whealton. “We want our customers to know that if they have a question or concern they can come to us directly. These nametags are another way of encouraging that kind of direct communication in the field.”
Nametags will be worn in the safety vest pocket and will include the employee’s name, title, and years of service. Whealton says it was important to include that final detail as many of the company’s employees have been with them for a long time.
“We like to say that when we hire, we want to hire for life, so we make it a point to recognize our tenured employees,” Whealton says. “Likewise, our people take pride in their level of experience, so including years of service on our nametags is like a badge of honor. It’s also another way to build confidence with our customers as they can see that we have experienced and knowledgeable individuals working on their properties.”
Implementing the nametags required investing in new vests, since the original safety vests did not feature a nametag pocket. Whealton says that meant replacing more than 800 vests. But that’s something the company does fairly regularly, anyhow, Whealton adds.
“Since the vest is the outermost part of the uniform, and the most frequently soiled and worn, we replace them frequently to keep our folks looking sharp,” he says.
Whealton says that going forward, the nametags will help with the ability to “put a face with a name” which will encourage stronger relationships between employees and customers. While it’s a small change, it’s a differentiator that Whealton believes both customers and employees will appreciate.
“Our people are our best asset and we work hard to show that we are committed to each person’s growth and commitment,” Whealton says. “We hope that this is one more way of showing that we are invested in our people as individuals — not just one in a crowd of many.”
Our Like a Boss series highlights some common business challenges landscape professionals face and how they conquer them. Discuss your biggest business challenges on LawnSite’s Business Management forum.
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Want to keep up with the latest news in lawn care and landscaping? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the green industry.
RYAN Turf to Launch National Aerate Your Lawn Day
Industry Merger Creates SC Green Industry Association
Davey Tree Adds 170-Acre Property to its Ohio Campus
SiteOne Acquires South Coast Supply
Bill Law Joins Ruppert Landscape as Facility Manager
TurfMutt Offers Dog-Friendly Backyard Landscaping Tips
Kawaski Adds Parts Distribution From UPS In Southeast
Ewing Announces Strategic Transitions To Support Locations, Employees
Judge Overturns Montgomery County, Maryland, Pesticide Ban
In October 2015 the Montgomery County Council voted 6-3 to restrict the use of pesticides on both county-owned and private property. In addition to eliminating the use of pesticides on private lawns beginning on January 1, 2018, the bill limited pesticide use on public and private playgrounds, mulched recreation areas and children’s facilities such as child care centers. The ban on county-owned property and parks was supposed to have gone into effect on July 1.
In a 14-page opinion explaining his ruling, McGann found that “by generally banning the use of registered pesticides, the Ordinance prohibits and frustrates activity that is intended to be permitted by state law, which conflicts with, and is thus, preempted by state law.”
Ewing Hires Names Jeff Lanahan as Executive Vice President
Irrigation Association now offering classes & CIT Exam in Spanish
Houzz Design & Architecture Scholarship Call for Entries
ASLA Launches Diversity SuperSummit Report and Online Resources
Read last week’s industry news roundup: CASE Dealer Donates Heavy Equipment to Team Rubicon
The post RYAN Turf To Launch National Aerate Your Lawn Day: This Week’s Industry News appeared first on Turf.
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Bob Grover says he has never spent a day working outside of the green industry — well, unless you count that paperboy route he had when he was 11. Having grown up on a 1-acre lot of “suburbia” in southeast Portland, Grover spent his childhood playing outside, building forts and digging holes. He regularly enjoyed helping his family plant and maintain a garden and ultimately got his first job at age 15 working at a next-door retail nursery.
After graduating from Oregon State University, Grover got his first professional taste of the landscape industry as a crew leader for Oregon Landscape Maintenance (which later became Northwest Landscape Industries and, even later, became part of TruGreen). Knowing he didn’t want to work for a national chain forever, Grover decided to launch his own business, and with that Pacific Landscape Management was born. We recently caught up with Grover, president of the Portland-area company, to find out what continues to drive his passion for the green industry that he came to love at such a young age.
I love plants, but I love human interaction more. I appreciate the opportunity to help others enjoy nature through plants by being their “gardener.”
I am also an aspiring traveler, and I would love to go everywhere once. We haven’t traveled extensively yet, but we went to Italy 10 years ago and absolutely loved it. Locally, I love all national parks but have many more to visit.
Being an outdoors guy, I love gardening, skiing, camping, hiking and water sports. I like waterskiing, wakeboarding and anything else associated with a warm summer day spent on our boat
I am an addicted remodeler. I always have some sort of project in progress or am planning one. Over the last 30 years, I have progressively gutted and redone all the rooms in our house, including adding a second floor and tearing down and rebuilding a bigger garage. As a landscaper, I have re-landscaped my yard multiple times, including leveling out my backyard and building a water feature, pond, outdoor kitchen and fireplace. Most of the work I have done myself.
Live your passion and work hard to be the best you can be. That’s my motto in life and in work.
My current indulgence is to see as many classic rockers as I can before anymore die. When Glenn Frey died, I thought, “Crap — I never got to see the Eagles live.” I saw 15 shows last year and will probably see more this year. If they come near Portland, I go. If they don’t, I will go wherever I have to. I’m going to Playa del Carmen in November to see Rock Getaway, which includes 15 classic rock bands. I met my wife, Theresa, at a Van Halen Concert in 1985. And we rock on!
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What would you do if a potential client called and asked you to design and install a zero–maintenance landscape? If you’re like Rebecca Winn, you’d laugh.
“I told her it was like asking for zero-maintenance children,” says the owner of Dallas-based Whimsical Gardens. “It’s living things.”
Although Winn hit it off with the client, who was calling from La Jolla, California, about a second home in a community northwest of Dallas, she asked to think about whether such a thing was possible.
“During our conversation, I found out that she had lived in Japan on two or three occasions,” says Winn. “My mind started percolating. I called her back a couple days later and said that I wanted to do her landscape, ‘and I’ve got some great ideas.’”
Winn needed all her powers of imagination for the project. Not only was the client looking for no maintenance, but being a second home she visited for only a few days every four to six weeks, she didn’t want to spend a huge amount of money.
The site presented its own challenges.
“It was sort of zero lot line, but the houses are not attached,” she explains. “There’s a tiny strip between each house. The garage door was on the front. You’d walk down the side of the house about half way and there was the front door.”
Additional challenges include a gas meter, the neighbor’s trash cans and weeds that were knee deep.
Because of the client’s budget, the decision was made to do the project in phases. For the first phase, Winn concentrated on the area from just past the front door forward. An important part of the job was installing a gate just beyond the front door to separate the front of the lot from the back.
“I designed a mountain gate made of COR-TEN steel,” she says. “I had wanted to tear out the walkway and curve it and do one of those pebble mosaics so it looked like a river winding out of the mountain. The client was all over the idea, but it was going to be expensive, so we didn’t do the walkway.”
In keeping with the idea of no maintenance, Winn began researching the possibility of using artificial turf for part of the lawn. She says although she initially recoiled at the idea, the product has improved greatly in recent years.
Ultimately, the artificial turf was installed in the front of the house around an existing crepe myrtle tree and on both sides of the sidewalk leading to the front door.
“I had to do a diplomatic intervention with the neighbor because it was important to me that he keep his trash cans in the garage except when they needed to go to the street,” she says. “I explained that she would put this expensive turf on his side of the walkway and pay for it, and he agreed.”
The final area in the front revolved around a planting bed which supported a Texas sage plant. The durability of the Texas sage and the crepe myrtle, and their ability to survive without any supplemental water convinced Winn to leave both.
“In this small bed, I did a Zen-esque boulder arrangement,” Winn explains. “I found some boulders that had a beautiful silver-blue lichen on them which is gorgeous with the silver in the Texas sage. I surrounded it with black decomposed granite, and then at the base of the boulders I did a little pool of the aqua-blue jade pebbles from Indonesia so it looks like it’s rippling out from that.”
She describes that part of the job as particularly labor intensive, and says she and her three-man crew spent about two weeks on the site for the first phase of the project, even though the installation of the artificial turf was subcontracted out and the fabricator installed the gate.
A few months later, Winn and the Whimsical Gardens crew returned to take on the backyard, which revealed that the home had been placed several inches lower than the adjacent alley and its shielding fence.
“You can imagine the drainage problems,” she observes. “Then, the developer had poured a concrete pad off the back of the house that connected to nothing. I suppose it was a patio, but it was weirdly placed and became a channel for water to flow under the house.”
The result was another mess of weeds and mud, broken up by two pear trees. Winn says the first order of business was to jackhammer out the concrete pad and then construct a large French drain next to the house.
“Then we built a new, beautiful patio from Silver Mist gray limestone with pretty lines and curves,” she says.
The hand-cut stone patio takes in about a quarter of the backyard and curves around the side of the house to the entrance to its breakfast room. Then, on the far corner of the backyard, Winn had her crew build up the ground, and using a black Tejas gravel built another boulder outcropping with a jade pebble pool. She then utilized the jade stone to wind through the garden like a river that ends in another pool that meets the new patio.
“The whole backyard is gravel,” Winn says. “We took the French drain out to the side and beyond that outcropping of boulders and it disburses back into the garden, except the flow is now broken up by the gravel and the rocks so it has time to sink into the ground.”
Just behind the gate, and visible from the home’s breakfast room was another slab of concrete that ran between the two houses, and Winn says the client asked that it not be removed. Rather than leave it visible, she covered it with black roofing paper. Since the side yard was to be a ranking meditation garden, the paper effectively held the covering black decomposed granite in place.
The area is also set off by additional boulders.
The backyard phase of the project took approximately four weeks, and Winn says of all the challenges the $30,000 project offered – beyond the original concept, of course – the biggest was access.
“I don’t remember how many tons of black Tejas gravel we had to wheelbarrow back to the backyard,” she says. “That, and it was summer in Texas. One day we were working it was 112 degrees.”
Still, the job left both women happy and earned an honorable mention as a special project in the 2016 competition sponsored by the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association.
“It was a fun project,” says Winn, who adds she’s especially proud of being able to meet her client’s challenge of a zero-maintenance landscape.
“Certainly, my kneejerk reaction was it’s not possible,” she says. “It was fun being able to answer her need with something beautiful and interesting and also completely different than anything I’d done before.”
And, while she acknowledges it’s not a traditional Japanese garden, Winn believes it does expand how people should think of xeriscape landscapes.
“A lot of people object to the look of xeriscape designs,” she says. “They like the idea of xeriscape gardens, but they don’t want to feel they’re living in the desert, and so often that’s the look. This is a whole other way of having a no-water-use garden.”
Ultimately, though, she was able to tie it into the client’s previous life experience.
“If she had lived overseas three times, but it had been in Switzerland, this project wouldn’t have worked out nearly as well,” Winn says. “It was just fulfilling to me.”
Read more: 5 Favorite Xeric Plants For Many Regions
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Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.