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Design Process vs. Making Progress

What does a Landscape Architect, Builder, Engineer, Interior Designer and an Architect ALL have in common??    Often we do not dedicate enough time preparing plans and working through the design process because we are eager to start making progress….this is in fact a common mistake.   More time invested on the front end in the DESIGN PROCESS will pay huge dividends on the back end making progress.

I never would have imagined myself being content living AND WORKING in East Texas.  There was a time not so long ago that my ‘Normal’ was an idealistic life in the Caribbean.   I woke up every morning to a view that was out of this world and I got to do work that was meaningful both professionally and spiritually.   Having moved to the DR after graduating from Texas A & M, my wife and I spent most of our days feeling like intrepid adventurers in a foreign land figuring things out as we went.  Well, that was true for the most part…a new language…new friends and developing new businesses…mostly on our own.  For 19+ years of our life, everyday was an adventure and very exciting…often border lining on scary at times. More than once, I actually found myself at gunpoint..in the midst of doing great work…but that’s a whole different grouping of short stories!  Life was good!

Summer of 2014, we found ourselves back in the US…as employees none the less…me for the first time in my adult life.  Never had we imagined ourselves moving back to the states, not to mention Texas and definitely not Tyler!  One thing we learned while living for the better pat of 2 decades in a developing country was how to make lemonade out of lemons.  We found a house to live in, our two daughters we in their final years of high school and we both found good jobs; work we could pour ourselves into.  From the first day I set foot in the Landvisions office, I knew I had found a place where I could thrive.

My professional career has been primarily focused on Design – Build in the Architectural field running a successful construction company in the DR.  Needless to say, I had more than a few things to learn working for a Landscape Architecture firm.  For starters, I had no idea how to program a simple residential irrigation controller, let alone design and install many components making up a large landscape project.   The most rewarding aspect of my new professional life has been the collaborative process.  As a firm, we do collaborate on most projects here in our studio.  The Collaborative Process that I’ve come to value most is the relationship between design professionals; primarily when we have the opportunity to work on projects with other design professionals, from beginning to end.

As a design professional, who ran a design build firm in the Dominican Republic, opportunities to collaborate with Landscape Architects were rare.  It is only now, after having worked in Landscape Architecture for a couple years, that I can testify to the importance of the Landscape Architect’s involvement in the Design Process…from day one.  In the past, landscapes were seen as a luxury, or a superfluous element that only added some beauty.   Today the line has become somewhat blurry as to the place and purpose of landscapes.   Many professional experts in construction fields around the world have come to the realization that Landscape Architects are playing pivotal roles in how we design spaces for humans.  We must learn to co-exist with the environment in a more harmonious fashion, and the role of a Landscape Architect is, and will be, to maximize the benefits of the natural environment while minimizing our footprint/impact.

Landvisions works with many great construction professionals, from giften builders who utilize us as a resource while serving their more demanding clients, to architects desiring to provide as quality a product outside as inside.   I, myself, have worked on many a project, where our firm has taken the lead on solving complex design challenges not limited to exteriors.  We have the unique ability to communicate well both orally and graphically,  on site and off, with design professionals and clients alike.  When we actively participate in the design process, the product is considerably better.  This has been one of my most notable take-a-ways.  If you are thinking about building a house, or know someone who is, a Landscape Architect can be your best friend, ensuring that you get from here to there in a way that will help you do life together Better!

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