Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Big Thaw. Then...The Big Push.

Aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise of “Landscape Design Studios”, watching the slow and steady 40-degree rain melt away the snow. With the rain and “warmer” temperatures, my pristine 8.5’ mountain of snow off the driveway is now a dwindling, dirty-brown mound of about 3’ tall. It is amazing to see that the grass being revealed under the snow is already a pleasant shade of green. With some phone calls and emails going out to clients and prospects, as the glacier of snow over Minnesota melts away and the green grass is revealed, it will not be long before the “The Big Push” is on. It will be time to hit the thrusters and prepare for *warp speed*.

So far, my role involves writing thorough proposal descriptions for my clients, with lots of facts and adjectives on what I can and will do for them, on what their designs can be, and how I (we) can differentiate myself (ourselves) from the rest of the pack.  (There are clear differences on how we can be our client’s best advocate, and offer them great pricing.)

Also, as a Designer for my clients, I have been set with the task to “make the snow disappear” and clearly illustrate their landscape and remodeling ideas for them, in spite of the winter landscape. It requires some different techniques to make this possible. Sometimes, it is just as simple as a plan and a few good sketches. But I like to make things as vivid and illustrative as possible for my clients, whenever I can.

This can bring out the stubborn perfectionist and masochist in me. Kind of like when I was a kid in 2nd grade, when I had to spend a long winter inside with a broken leg.  (I broke my leg in a sledding accident, after building a "bobsled course" through the woods behind my house.  I flew off course and hit a tree, really hard.  Thus, ending my shot at a medal in the Olympics.)  With a cast on my leg, I would sit perched in front of my Atari system for hours and hours, trying to master Space Invaders or Asteroids, until I could get that score as high as possible to where I would finally feel content. Usually, that was also when my fingers and thumbs hurt, and my eyes ached from sitting in front of the screen for so long.

Now, I find myself sitting in front of my computer in the same pose, with the need to make a living and support the family, working meticulously through the design idea and creating the “scene” until it is reasonably “perfect”.   Usually, that is also when my fingers, thumbs, and eyes ache, and I need to finally get myself to bed.  (I knew that all of those Atari games I played as a kid would be good for something!)

The objective now is to help articulate the design as well as possible, and allow my clients to “see” their actual project, with their actual home, and with their actual landscape in some context of its full glory.

1. Here is an example of a front yard terraced hillside and planting design I recently finished. The goal was to remove the lawn hillside and most all of the lawn from their front yard, including the city right-of-way, and replace it with garden space. They want a small space to sit in their front yard, a functional lawn corridor through the landscape, and to have plenty of places to plant a lot of vibrant plants in somewhat of a contemporary style. So, this is how I revealed the landscape plan, in spite of all the snow cover.

2. Here is an example of an “up north” property that is to be remodeled and updated with a more beautiful and functional landscape, that takes it from a “2 star property” toward a “4 star property”. This one is still a WIP, and might be for a little while yet. But I am in the process of getting the “big picture” scene made, and getting the on-going dialogue with the client underway. (This seems like a really nice client, who I feel fortunate to have recently met. I love working for clients who are great people and make my work fun.)

I am ready to get to work.  Now, what can I do for you?!

..........…Oh, and where is that new Joe Mauer contract?!   (coming up next.)

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