The reality of the ownership of a house is not unlike owning a boat. You have your time with it, and then the responsibility gets passed on to the next person who owns it. So getting it right in the first place is a process that you should expect and enjoy.
I think the key to working with people is to always stay flexible, respect the client, and respect the clock ticking and the money being spent. And keep communicating. Work through the process of what makes sense. It’s worth it as a landscape professional. I think that everyone wants a connection to the island. A connection to their property.
Take the opportunity to mention to a client what the conservation groups are saying, what the invasive exotics are, what you’ve read or heard about, why you don’t believe in pesticides, why you only choose to use 4 roses. It will keep them informed, and show the respect they are due. Tell them how cool it is to have an occasional dandelion! You will end up with a real relationship, and one that enriches everyone’s experience. After all, you are simply helping them in their problem solving.
I have often said that I have no real signature other than having the landscape look like it belongs to the client and looks like it belongs on the island.
Just as the landscape should provide harmony in our lives, I believe we should try to achieve as much harmony throughout our lives. Life is too short! So in hiring, I have anyone seeking a job to come to the office for a conversation about what I feel is most important to establish in the workplace.
The word that comes to mind is Harmony. And that comes out of using integrity, respect and honesty, with a good dose of humility being a very important element. With yourself, with other team mates, and with the clients. It’s really a partnership, and I’d like everyone to listen, to be listened to, to pay attention, and be aware of any impact they have on the plants, in the daily life of a property/client, the neighbors, the island, the planet!
I don’t believe in the hierarchy of most workplaces and try to avoid it wherever possible. We are all there to get a job done, and though everyone tends to have a specialty, I feel strongly that no one person is more special than another. I think I’ve stayed on a small scale to avoid losing touch of that concept.
I have photos in the office of crews from over the years, and I have long standing friendships with many. It means a great deal to me to have former employees return for a guest appearance! That is wealth to me.