Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Survey Questions

In my e-zine,  I'm including short survey questions. If there is something you want to know, please share below! 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Details, Details

Landscape Designers work all kinds of different ways. Some are design only, some design/ build. Some deal with all kinds of hardscapes, grading and drainage, and others stick to plants.

I'm interested in how you handle the details in your designs. I'm not talking about notes on plans, but specifically "how to build it" details. Please take 12 seconds and fill this out. I'll post the results when I get enough responses. Thanks!

Monday, September 29, 2008


On September 23 and 24, I participated in a teleseminar hosted by Chris Heiler of If you are interested in downloading the recordings, click here. It was an interesting experience and an opportunity to meet Jeffrey Scott. Our topic for the first night was "Understanding The Value of Design." The second night was entitled "Surviving in a Struggling Economy."

Over the course of the two nights we discussed a number of things. One that is a hot spot for many landscape designers is that of charging design fees. Can you charge them? How much? Do you rebate? All tough questions with no black and white answers.

For the majority of my professional life, I have charged a pretty healthy design fee, at least compared with other design/build companies. But it was never enough to fully cover the time spent. We never rebated. It's a matter of principle. But it's also more complicated than that. It will take several blog entries to cover.

As a small company, doing fairly complicated projects, we couldn't whip out a decent design in an hour or two. When you have 30, 40, 50, 60 or more hours in a design, you can't afford to give it away. But how much can you charge? That's a tough one. If you are design/build, the goal is to build it. There is a pain threshold that cannot be ignored. If you do, sure, you may get your design fee, but you may alienate the client and lose the installation. At least that's the way I view it.
It's not a black and white issue, and there are some creative ways to go about putting a value on your time, getting a commitment from your client, and maintaining a professional image. More later.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Nice Honor

I'll be reviewing the APLD Conference I attended a couple weeks ago in my EZine in another week or so, but thought I'd share this now. At the conference, 11 colleagues and I were granted Fellowship by the organization.

I am honored and proud to be among only 12 Fellows of APLD. Following is an excerpt from the official Press Release:

Those individuals who qualify for Fellowship status must demonstrate mastery of design in significant works which have advanced the art, stewardship and social responsibility of landscape design; exemplary leadership of people and programs that have had a significant effect on advancing the practice of landscape design; and knowledge that advances landscape design to both the industry and consumers.

Also honored that day were friends I've made through APLD over the years, all whom I respect tremendously.

In the photo, from left to right, are Bobbie Schwartz, Deanna Pillarelli, Judy DePue, Me, Gerry Crouch, Donna Swansen, Robin Williams, Linda Engstrom, Pat Ouderkirk and Peggy Connors. Not pictured are Dennis Rydberg, Joel Lerner and Myrna Dowsett. Until now, Robin was the only Fellow of the organization.

Look for a review of the conference in the coming weeks. Also, the full (pdf) release can be downloaded here