In our second installment of our Take it Outdoors series, we bring you bring exquisite landscaping, lighting and entertainment. We’ve interviewed Lisa Pollman of Schmechtig Landscapes in Mundelein, IL, Jarmila Kajuch Singer of Sound Living in Barrington, IL, and Dean MacMorris, President of Night Light, Inc., in North Lombard, IL to help you explore the ways to bring top quality landscaping, entertainment and illumination to your outdoor living spaces.
- What outdoor renovation projects are best handled by a landscape architect?
Lisa: “Most projects lol! Projects with larger impacts with regard to vertical and horizontal spaces are likely the kind of projects that need the design eye and detailed guidance of Landscape Architect. Great results are achieved when pre-planning thoughts are dialed in with a trustworthy design head and team who truly understand how to convert big ideas into dreamy settings and memorable environments. The preliminary concept process can reveal intimate detail driving the best of the best in design solutions. Additionally, there is a higher level of calm and appreciation when a professional at the helm of a project to guide clients’ wants. Then naturally, there is a level of performance among partnering contractors and specialty collaborators knowing they are all in trusting hands.”
- When should potential clients start the process?
Lisa: “Our best scenarios for beginning the design process is hearing from perspective and existing clients’ after improvement discussions have come up several times and they are now ready to freshen areas or ready to completely renovate outdoor viewing and living environments. We ask pointed questions to generate additional dialog to help focus, priorities, and phase budgets. This keeps the process organic and moving forward.”
- Why not just work with a landscaper?
Lisa: “There’s a vast range of education, knowledge, and expertise in the head of a Landscape Architect or Designer. There are many more years of structured education, scaled modeling and graphics, material and plant analytics, research, and real-time construction in the 5-6 years of scholastic focus. The designer is driven to think outside the box beyond the obvious. And while a landscaper can perform tasks like mowing grass and edging gardens , a design personality can introduce big picture solutions that have instant merit, site compatibility, and justified return on joy factor and resale value.”
- What other team members do you work with?
Lisa: “We enjoy working with other Landscape Architects/Designers, Interior Designers, Land Planners, Architects, Engineers, and Product Specialists. We favor working around the professionals who bring honesty, creative ideas, team spirit, and a sense of humor.”
Thank you, Lisa!
- In the wake of the “Year of Staying Home”, what types of outdoor entertainment projects are you seeing?
Jarmila: “Mainly, folks want outdoor audio, wi-fi, and sometimes an outdoor TV. This is typically in conjunction with a larger project involving landscape construction or possibly a pool. During this time of outdoor construction, homeowners are thinking about their use of space and that’s when they realize they also want outdoor entertainment. But the obvious overall goal is enjoyment of their back yard, nature, safe gatherings with family. An outdoor extension of the home.”
- If a potential client is considering adding outdoor entertainment (music, TV, movies), what should they think about before connecting with you?
Jarmila: “First, think about how you live outdoors, entertain, relax. If this is your first endeavor, then envision how you wish to spend your time outside.
Second, be realistic about your budget. Do your research. The goal is to fit as much outdoor entertainment into that investments as possible. Concessions might have to be made based upon what matters most to you – choose a smaller TV so you can allow for better quality speakers?
Third, engage us as early as possible in the process. We’ll collaborate, coordinate, and think about aspects of the process that otherwise could have been missed.”
- When is it a good time to connect with you? (Pre-planning, planning, ready to go?)
Jarmila: “Did I mention as early as possible?! Then yes, let’s connect during planning. We’ll envision, mark up locations, demo speakers, develop a budget, coordinate plans with other contractors.”
- What other professionals are generally part of your process?
Jarmila: “In the context of a larger outdoor project, the following professionals may be part of the process: landscape contractor/landscape architect, interior designer, pool contractor, landscape illumination contractor.”
- How can proper lighting enhance your outdoor experience?
Dean: “Light – more than any other visual stimulus – has the power to evoke emotion. A comprehensive illumination system tells the landscape story by visually harmonizing the key architectural and landscape elements and drawing attention to special features. Up lighting trees, statues and other major site elements can add depth and dramatic appeal.”
Photo by Picture Perfect Photography
- At what point in the process of developing an outdoor plan should lighting be considered?
Dean: “At the beginning of the process! Waiting to install lighting until after the project is complete can cause significant problems, including significant extra cost, disruption of the landscape after it is established, limitations or no access to power because sleeves were not installed under driveways, walks, patios, pool decks, etc., and inability to light the landscape as desired after the fact.
For example, strategic details should be incorporated into the installation of outdoor construction of elements like patios, gazebos, decks and trellises to make it much more cost effective and attractive.”
Photo by David Malecki
- What questions should clients ask themselves before talking to you?
Dean: “Carefully consider interest points in the landscape because they can make even more of an impact after dark. Then adequate space must be allotted to place each fixture. Fixtures should be placed carefully so the surrounding plants will not swallow them up when full grown. Path and driveway lighting can be blocked by snow, especially where it is deposited by removal services so lighting must be placed appropriately.”
Photo by Jill Buckner Photography
- What other professionals do you work with to bring the project together?
Dean: “Any and all professionals in areas where lighting is desired, from landscape designers to carpenters and masons, to contractors who install pools, driveways, sculptures, etc. Careful coordination of all professionals will save money, time, and result in a dream nightscape.”
Thank you Dean! Click here to read Night Light’s latest lighting article for a wealth of information, or contact Dean:
Like well-planned interior design, the exterior professionals can help you make the most of your outdoor spaces when they are brought in early in the process!