Common Mistake Installing Low-Voltage Landscape Lighting by Chad Rodvold

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I see this common mistake throughout DFW on projects that deserve better. Personally, I believe either the landscape contractor doesn't know any better or just doesn't care about their quality of installation. Hopefully this post will reach some of them and they can improve their installation quality with a simple solution.

Why is this installation a mistake in my humble opinion you may ask? This particular MR16 has only 1"-2" of the provided stake pushed into hard compact soil as seen above. The landscape contractor will then bring in a mixture of 2"-4" of bed prep (soil and mulch) to complete their installation. Over a short amount of time, the fixture will no longer be vertical but will have the customary look of many I see...falling over a bit to the right or left. Whether the maintenance crew, a squirrel, or soccer ball gently touches this light, IT WILL MOVE! 

The solution? Make your own stake out of a 12" plumbing pipe and a coupling. Drill a hole for the wire to exit and pound it into the ground. Your light fixture will be illuminating the plant specimen it was meant to for years to come.

Rain day, blog day...2017 Review by Chad Rodvold

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It's been a wonderful year for us and we're off and running in 2018. We're blessed to work with some great professionals in landscape architecture and construction and they referred us to many great projects. This was a banner year for total sales, but I didn't have to sell at all...my professional relationships did all the heavy lifting. Did I say blessed?

I've seen quite the shift in landscape lighting these past several years. The focus seems as if it moved from quality of design to quality of the fixture...the LED fixture. Everyone is jumping in the LED water and trying to gain a piece of the market. It's made it a bit difficult as I'm not sold on aesthetic value of the LED and I'm sticking with the value of great design over price. There'll always be a market for great design. I'll talk LED later1

We didn't travel as much this year as in past years. Projects were plentiful in Dallas and we experienced some growing pains in the crew department. Finding and keeping high quality crews has proven to be our achilles heal...the foundation is solid with Ernesto, but a strong #2 was missing. I'm confident as we move forward into 2018, as we have a returning rock star in chief Jose that will stabilize the workload. Sooo blessed to have him back in the saddle! 

2018 has taken off with several high quality projects in Highland Park and University Park, as well as projects on the boards from a wonderful ranch south TX and estates under construction in Connecticut, Maine, and Missouri. Feel excited as to what the future will look like for E2 Illumination Designs and only wish my three boys were older so they could take some of the load off my shoulders. The greatest test I'll have this year will be trusting someone with managing the work load as I continue to design...I just love being on the job site too much. Wish me luck...I need to go play in the mud!

 

Busy May Photo Update by Chad Rodvold

It was a busy month of May and it's time to work...and we really have been working! We have some wonderful projects under construction and the pipeline  looks good for the rest of 2017 and leading into 2018. Managing everything will be a challenge but I have the best crew chief in the business and will find the right project manager sometime. Hope you enjoy this photo collage of our landscape lighting endeavors this past month.

Do We Have A Problem With Reality?...Maybe by Chad Rodvold

Yesterday, I read a blog post "Dear Future Architects: Don't Be Like Me". I enjoyed the self reflection the author had about a particular situation where he was designing a fast-food restaurant...not say the Guggenheim Museum and was a little less than enthused. He wrote “Bojangles? Are we really doing a Bojangles? Is there someone else who can work on this? I’m not working on that,”. The cool thing is he realized his mistake and categorized them into several things. He summarized them into these four categories; saying "no", sometimes you have to choke down the vegetables, he missed an opportunity, and he wasn't grateful.

There was some real self-reflection there. THEN I read several comments like "designing for a unhealthy food chain", "follow your dreams", "unethical to design a fast-food...", he had "principles". So I thought I would provide a small reality check to those new comers in the industry and by the way, I am not an architect, but do work with many in the high-end residential industry.

  1. We all  have to start somewhere. Turn down work when you're getting started and you'll be doing sidewalk art beside your shopping cart. 
  2. Just because you have an extremely high opinion of yourself and talents doesn't mean I'm supposed to also. We all see art differently...same with architecture.
  3. You can't eat dreams...or maybe the architecture unicorn will take care of your bills while you refuse to design an "unhealthy" food-chain.
  4. Take a real hard look around at the work being done today and understand you may never design a project that has any significant relevance. This doesn't mean not to try, but it is the reality. 
  5. It's just a JOB, be thankful you can make a living doing what you love. 

That said, challenge yourself, strive to create great design, want to be recognized...then go to work. Well done Stephen Ramos, architect!