When an interior designer client was referred to Complete Landsculpture, based in Dallas, Texas, they at first just wanted a landscape garden design for their backyard. However, after the company took the client to visit another one of their recent projects, they decided they wanted to add a pool to the design as well.
Tim McAuliffe (TCLA & TCWSP), senior landscape consultant for Complete Landsculpture, says the clients chose them because of their hands-on approach and because they took them to a past client’s house to see their work in person.
“Since we’ve done this project, they’ve allowed six or seven clients to come there and see their project and also interact with them so it’s kind of a pay it forward as well,” McAuliffe says.
McAuliffe says the other project they took them to visit had won a NALP Award of Excellence.
“These are things that are building blocks,” he says. “You’re showing you’re a reputable company, you’re sharing the awards with your team as well. You’re sharing that success which is important. It’s great for marketing and branding and the crews take pride in that when they see these things come full circle.”
This project in Plano, Texas, features a garden, sitting area, firepit, water feature, outdoor lighting, trellis system, natural stone walkways, a cedar pergola, and a bar with a grill island. The company had to redesign the original concept to include a pool while ensuring there was still balance in the space.
“We basically took the footprint of the original design and moved everything around to fit this new version,” McAuliffe says. “Originally we had taken the firepit out of the revisions, and then we went back in with the linear firepit with the sitting feature behind it which we’ve sold a ton more just off of shots of that one.”
The pool features a tanning ledge that has bubblers and jets to serve as a kiddie pool for the clients’ grandchildren. The fence line was softened with native plant material and focal point trees.
Complete Landsculpture earned a Silver Award in the 2020 Awards of Excellence for their work on this project.
McAuliffe says the main challenge was the access to the site, as the clients had a brand new decorative driveway they couldn’t drive machinery on and there were multiple utility easements to navigate.
“We only had six feet of access to get any equipment in because the other side of the yard had been stoned in with a small door,” McAuliffe says.
The clients also had an existing tree they wanted to preserve so the company set up tree protection, further tightening their access to the backyard. McAuliffe says they overcame this issue of tight access by sequencing the work properly.
“You set the expectations with the client,” he says. “You sequence the schedule and then we update our clients on Fridays, so every Friday, ‘Here’s what we got done this week, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson. Here’s what to expect next week.’”
Due to the tight access, they kept it to one crew of four to five workers. In the final two weeks, they ran two crews.
Another issue they encountered early on was due to the addition of the pool to the plans. The company discovered two days into the project the builder had run the main electrical line through the middle of the backyard rather than at the rear of the property.
“What we’re grateful for is if we wouldn’t have had an experienced excavator running the machinery, someone could have been dead,” McAuliffe says. “When he found that line, he found the conduit first, which anytime they run one of those lines they are supposed to wrap it in yellow tape, and mark that hey, you’re getting ready to go in this area and you shouldn’t dig, and they hadn’t done that.”
Complete Landsculpture coordinated with the utility company to reroute the main electric line. McAuliffe says it took almost two months to get the lines moved. They had their electrician dig new lines and got the city to sign off on it and for the utility company to come and disconnect and rerun the lines.
McAuliffe says they had to explain to the client what the situation was, but it wasn’t anything they had done and they worked to offer a solution. They had multiple inspections from the city and utility companies to ensure they were following the guidelines.
The project took six months to complete and McAuliffe says they worked hard to make the space appear it had been there from the very start.
Interested in participating in the Awards of Excellence? Submit your entries by Aug. 9, 2021.