landscape architecture

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!

Will illuminate for trade by Chad Rodvold

Love getting the opportunity to travel through South Texas to review all our outdoor lighting projects. An absolute favorite ranch project near Uvalde always challenges my resolve to "work not play" while I'm away from the family and on a landscape lighting job. However, after careful consideration, thinking I'll have to find a way to barter with someone in the near future for a chance to hunt with my boys like when I was a kid in North Dakota. 

Anyone out there willing to trade landscape lighting for a week of archery hunting?

The Front Walk Looks Like A Runaway Lights by Chad Rodvold

What were you thinking Mr. LA?

What were you thinking Mr. LA?

Trace Adkins said it best in his his 1996 hit single "Every Light in the House" and I had to repeat it a couple months back to a builder and landscape architect. I was given the plan to bid from a highly regarded landscape architect in Dallas, TX for a contractor I have worked for in the past. I've never been a fan of the "bidding" process since I'd like to believe I do landscape lighting design first and is as important but not without great design. So they needed several quotes for the homeowner and right away I noticed the runway for the front walkway. After reviewing the plan in more detail, I realized this landscape architect had no business designing the landscape lighting. To be was not representative of the quality and value of the home...which is what I told the contractor. In reality...the plan sucked and that is what I really wanted to say. 

Over the years, I've found it hard to convince contractors that I know more about lighting than the landscape architect, but thankfully this contractor agreed and arranged for a conference call. I really thought the call would be more of a "p***ing" match than anything else, but after a few minutes of discussing the plan, the landscape architect actually agreed with everything and asked that I create and send them over a new plan! I hate giving my plans out without a contract or deposit and against my better judgement did exactly that...sent a copy to the landscape architect and builder. 

Then I got the news...I lost the job to a competitor! Couldn't believe it...jump through hoops to save the day and get kicked to the curb. I understand the homeowner makes the decision at the end of the day, but I would have thought someone would've stood up and said "E2 Illumination Designs saved our project from looking like a "runway" at night" and the homeowner from wasting thousands more to install a terrible plan they already spent thousands on. So now my plan will be used and the homeowner will get the product he deserves...and I will still get the shaft! (Update: They lighting installers didn't read the plan right and job looks no bueno.)

Well on to the next project. I really don't mind giving advice so if you should have any questions regarding a plan or your outdoor lighting project don't hesitate to call.