We’ll be the first to admit it: T. Lake is not the biggest guy on the block. We’re a local company with local roots and local values. We like it that way.
But, that doesn’t mean we can’t play nice with the giants.
In a recent post, we discussed 5 compelling reasons for commercial real estate developers to feel comfortable working with T.Lake. But not all developers play in the same ballpark. When you start talking the biggest of the big, you’ve got to up the ante.
Very large, national and international contracting companies have unique concerns as well as a more corporate approach to doing business that doesn’t always mesh with the way small business operates. Does T. Lake have what it takes to work successfully with them?
The landscape is the first thing you see when you drive up to your home. It sets the tone for your whole experience being there. A tired-out landscape leaves you feeling just that: tired or dissatisfied. But a landscape that looks vibrant and inviting lends a positive feel to the home. When you start getting that tired feeling every time you look outside, it’s time to start considering
In our area, we have a ton of homes that were built in the 1950’s—1970’s. A lot of these are still sporting tired old plants and patios from decades past; needless to say it’s just time.
In other cases, the property might be turning over to younger buyers who need a yard that suits their lifestyle. Same goes for homeowners who are approaching their golden years: they want to consider how the landscape can support their changing needs.
Imagine this: you need some landscaping done so you find a landscaping company in your area and give them a call. They are very friendly over the phone, and agree to come out to give you a quote.
And then you never hear from them again.
Or, perhaps you get your quote, but the crew doesn’t show up when they are supposed to. Possibly the wrong materials are delivered to your jobsite, or no one seems to know who is responsible when you have a question.
Many of the problems people experience with landscape contractors have nothing to do with the landscape work itself. Dealing with a company that isn’t on track with its internal communication and organization can be every bit as annoying and frustrating having one deliver shoddy work. In fact, lack of organization is very often the underlying cause of substandard performance.
A commercial landscape should look beautiful and inviting. However its benefits go deeper than mere aesthetics. A well-designed commercial landscape also offers many benefits related to safety and security, cost control, sustainability, compliance with government regulations, and other areas.
In the same way, a good commercial landscape provider is one whose expertise encompasses far more than simply the ability to create an aesthetically pleasing landscape. When choosing a commercial landscaper to work with, it pays to look deeper into the company in question and find out what else they’re made of.
If you are a commercial landscape developer, here are a few reasons to consider working with T.Lake:
I was asked recently to define T. Lake’s core values. And the best I can say is that our values are derived first and foremost from the land.
Both of my grandfathers and theirs before them and theirs before them were farmers and timbermen. They loved the land. They made a living from the land. They appreciated and valued it. It took care of them, and they took care of it. That’s the attitude I grew up with.
I consider myself part of the lineage of the first job God gave a human being, and that's to tend the garden. Humankind’s first job was to get our hands in the dirt. We’re here to be good stewards.
Across these twenty-six years of practicing my craft, I have spent countless hours rescuing clients from disappointing—and sometimes downright atrocious—projects created for them by someone else. While it is gratifying to play hero and leave the client with a smile, it is also painful, considering the money such a client has already spent on work that ultimately had to be re-done. While some of these botched jobs have involved poor workmanship, all have been cases of poor design, or the lack of design at all.
It’s easy to think of design as simply the act of placing pretty things on the page or in the ground. But it goes far deeper than that. Good design is the act of creating spaces that function for their intended purpose and elevate the mood, well-being, and/or productivity of those who interact within them. A well-designed site or landscape is carefully planned to result in the optimal well-being and safety of the user or occupant. It’s not something that happens by accident.
In design, the whole is always more important than the parts. Every feature can positively or negatively affect every other, as well as the overall impact of the site. This is why trained and competent landscape architects never simply “place” trees, shrubs, stones, statuary or any other physical elements on a site unless they truly serve a functional purpose or are essential to the creation of the space.
In landscape design, nothing is arbitrary. In fact, there are immutable elements and principles of design that are universal to the creation of spaces and must be used with knowledge and sensitivity for optimal results. Here is a quick introduction:
Water is essential to life, and vital to the progress of civilizations. It is delightful to sip on a hot summer day or to watch falling gracefully into a fountain basin. However, water becomes an insidious foe when it decides to start pouring into your basement or collecting in sodden pools on your lawn.
Drainage, therefore, is a constant concern in the landscape. There are various devices designed to direct water over and through the landscape. Sometimes the terms can get confusing, so today I’d like to clarify the difference between three of the most common water diversion mechanisms: trench drains vs. French drains vs. swales.
Starting a new relationship—whether personal or in business—always involves a certain amount of risk. In our private lives, we’re on our own. But in the commercial landscape business, it’s standard to create a built-in risk containment device: the contract.
A good commercial landscape maintenance contract not only protects both parties, it can also be an invaluable communication tool to ensure that both you and your landscape contractor are—and remain—on the same page, and that you actually receive the service you want and expect.
However, a contract is only as good as what you put in it. Here are a few things we highly suggest including in your bid request the next time you hire a commercial landscape maintenance company.
What’s wrong with bahiagrass? Depends who you ask.
Bahiagrass is a coarse grass that was introduced into the U.S. in the 1930’s as a forage grass for cattle. It’s drought tolerant and does well in poor and even hard-packed soils, so some people use it as turf grass. It’s also used for roadside erosion control in some areas. So it has its uses.
But boy, is it ugly.
The stuff is coarse and weedy-looking, it has an open canopy and does not fill in well as turf, and it grows about two feet in a week so it’s a devil to keep mowed if you do choose—for whatever reason—to grow a bahiagrass lawn. Plus, it has a strange and unappealing Y-shaped seed head that stands out like a sore thumb in a lawn.
Every good landscape services provider will have a slightly different approach and personality. Today we’d like to highlight a couple of our competitors and discuss how we are—not necessarily better—but different.
Both Yellowstone and Brightview are well-established commercial landscape companies for whom we have a lot of respect. Let’s start with Yellowstone.