outdoor lighting

First Landscape Lighting Project for a Client on the Forbes 400 by Chad Rodvold

Jerry Moore’s Friar Tuck Residence

Jerry Moore’s Friar Tuck Residence

Little nostalgic feeling! I was hired to illuminate this property maybe fifteen years ago by the owner, Jerry Moore. The home was a French chateau, broken down brick by brick, and rebuilt with a underground 26 car garage for his collection. At the time, Mr. Moore was my first client on the Forbes list from his dealings with shopping centers. Jerry wasn’t the kindest man and there are quite a few stories to back up his “attitudes”. I was confident in my abilities but he intimidated the heck out of me. The day we were to start the installation, we had to cancel and I called Jerry to reschedule. He wasn’t having it and went on a tirade calling me everything from a lying f*** to f***ing little ***hole! I took the abuse for a bit and to my surprise said, "Jerry, are you going to shut the f*** up for a second" He went quiet, asked for my boss, who then proceeded to tell me that Mr. Moore would like to see me Monday morning on site. 
Surprised I wasn’t fired, I went to meet Jerry and was amazed when he welcomed me with a handshake and put his arm around my shoulders…he damn near hugged me! We walked around while he told me stories, took me inside, and even showed me his car collection. 
Jerry passed away about ten years ago and the property has sat stagnant all this time. Drove by last week and noticed someone finally living there…it is one hell of an estate! 
At the time, my boss was almost 80 and had seen it all. He said Jerry enjoyed walking over everyone but I earned his respect when I stood up to him. He said, remember you’re the expert and don’t ever do it again. 

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


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!


"A Little Cheaper" by Chad Rodvold


I lost a job this week that really surprised me. The text message said "I have somebody else doing the install for me that was a little cheaper". That wasn't the surprise, but the disappointing points just add up to a big "WHAT"! 

- I know this builder from my church and we even know a bit of each others "back story".

- I was referred by the landscape architect. First time I was ever recommended by an LA and didn't get the job!

- I spec'd out the equipment for the LA and recommended a couple unique details to the design that will make this job extremely cool.

- I am more expensive, but for a reason...not design, not equipment, but in the details of the installation. I make guarantees others can't because of how I install the job and won't install it any other way...not even to reach a budget.

- Reality is when it comes to million dollar plus homes, budgets are secondary to the quality. 

Thinking this particular builder either believes outdoor lighting companies can be compared apples to apples or doesn't place any value on the outdoor package. Either way, I'll make another guarantee, a phone call will be made to whoever does install the job "a little cheaper" to make changes (adjustments) within a year. At least if I'm right, it'll be a good point to make to other builders down the road.

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 foremost....build 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 gentle...it 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.