Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pete Rose Shopping Spree!

With a particularly exciting upcoming project in mind, Tom and I set off to one of our most respected stone vendors, Pete Rose, to visit our buddy, Ben and get inspired!

A little background on the project at hand:

One of our long-time clients has a beautiful home nestled at the edge of a fairly mature, yet shallow forest. She and her husband love to spend time enjoying their landscape (even if their busy schedule only permits a few minutes here and there!) Their home is a haven to all sorts of wildlife including a multitude of bird species, deer (perhaps the deer are more annoying than enjoyable...) rabbits, and their own dogs, Sadie and Shadow.

The landscape is a shady one that slopes from the front yard to a dry creek bed at the forest edge in the backyard. We recently installed a pond-less waterfall just off the covered patio in the backyard to add a relaxing element to outdoor family gatherings. Here's a process photo of the waterfall installation:

Now that the waterfall is complete (just waiting for the plants to grow in!) we are turning our attention to the creation of a woodland path to provide a lush, soothing transition from the front of the home to the waterfall in the backyard. Oh la la!

So that leads us to yesterday's trip to Pete Rose:

We started our 'inspiration visit' by following Ben to the stone yard. Let me just say that despite the utilitarian feel, a stone yard can be one of the best places to start brainstorming some of your most beautiful projects! Who knew rock could be so breath-taking!

That's Tom on the left (in the Robbins gear) and Ben from Pete Rose on the right.

After admiring quite a few options for large, flat stone slabs, we came across these beauties:

(I'm sitting on the stone to remind us of the scale of the pieces when we're back at the drawing board fleshing out the design in a few weeks.)

I was really drawn to this stone for its color variation and textured edges; I think that this stone would be an excellent option to compliment the stone of the waterfall which is, after all, the destination of the path! Tom liked the stone for its shape and weight; he is confident that it will be a great candidate for the construction we have in mind!

After deciding on these path pieces, we struck out in search of some boulder pieces to help create a retaining area...

Too short...

Too narrow...

Juuuust Right!

We really liked this boulder for it's ability to serve as a retaining structure but also a fairly comfortable seat for a quick respite along the woodland path. I can just see our client sitting to sip her coffee and admire the birds for a few minutes on a Saturday morning!

Now that we've seen the material, it's back to the drawing board to plan some details! We'll keep you posted!

Has anyone else ever experienced an inspiring trip to a stone yard? What was the source of your inspiration?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Frosty Fountains

Many of our clients' landscapes showcase a water feature or two (mostly designed and installed by us) and many of our water-loving friends wonder what will happen to their lush, summertime fountains/waterfalls/ponds when winter comes?

(Photo courtesy of David Beam)

Our answer: all sorts of enjoyment!

Even the smallest of water features typically move enough water to prevent a complete freezing of the water here in balmy Richmond.

And last year's snowy February couldn't stop our pond's waterfall from flowing!

So when old man winter comes to Virginia, he brings with him the opportunity to enjoy some really beautiful ice effects without damaging the water features:

No ice-skating here!

So for those of you who are so lucky as to host one of those bubbliny beauts, spend the next few weeks enjoying the view of your winter waterscape!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Meeting 2011 With Our Sleeves Rolled Up!

Despite some of the challenges we (along with most other small businesses) faced in 2010, we are determined that in 2011 we will improve our business systems, further educate our team members, serve our clients better than ever, and grow our company!

For starters, we thought the best way to welcome 2011 was to GET ORGANIZED!

Jake, Luke, Chris, Kathryn and I spent the better part of a day last week cleaning and organizing our Production System. (Look at the dust on that table! Kathryn and I were sure to dust, sweep, Windex, repeat, many, MANY times while the guys hung countless boards on the walls and partitions.)

Though the project is not quite finished, the progress we have made has already helped us to streamline our Production efforts, and that feels great!

Bear in mind the Production System headquarters is located in our warehouse, so the space is much more functional than it is aesthetic. (The landscapes we design and install are much more beautiful than this warehouse corner!) The space does, however, accommodate the needs of the System better than ever before!

The new arrangement also allows for an official training corner where we can educate our team members on the many aspects of the Landscape Contracting Industry. How convenient!

There are many more exciting projects to cross off our To-Do List, and I'll post the progress as we tackle them!

Happy New Year!