Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

JUN 2018

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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Thriving through Adaptation by Mike Dahl, LC/DBM Above A custom residential proj- ect in Irvine, California, was led by Yvonne English, who not only designed it (with help from Jeff Perry and Margery Morris), her company, Legends in Landscape, was credited as a contractor along with Cunning- ham Construction of Laguna Niguel. The installation included an extensive outdoor kitchen with many features, and a large, heated eating and enter- taining area. The kitchen unit (inset) was built with concrete masonry units mortared together and then covered with stucco and real stone veneer. The counter tops are granite and the backsplash is made of glass tiles. The appliances include a 42" grill, side burners, a regular sink, a bar sink, a refrigerator and lots of drawers. All the paving material in the front and backyard is travertine set on 4" of road base. After it was compacted and leveled, a 1" sand bed was added. Once the pavers were placed and sand put into the joints, everything was compacted again. C Companies partnering with each other on a project are common occurrences in the landscape industry based on how often LC/DBM reports about them. And often, a company will partner with another again and again. But a stronger partnership than the one in this story, as evidenced by a pe - culiar arrangement, may be hard to find. The main character in all this is Yvonne English, who is not only a landscape archi - tect but a licensed landscape contractor as well, which on its own sets her apart from the norm: and the path she traveled to these careers makes her story even that more interesting. A Change of Direction English was a software engineer in Il- linois for 17 years. In 1999 she and her husband left the Midwest and moved to California. Furthering the transformation, English received her contractor's license a year later. Next, after a four-year post - graduate program at UCLA, she earned a landscape architect certificate. While originating projects as Legends Design Studio and then building them as Legends in Landscape, English worked with Cunningham Construction on a job, was impressed with his results, and began a long-term association. "I tried a lot of different contractors," she recounts. "He (owner Tom Cunningham) was a contractor that when the job was done, the clients still liked him. It doesn't always happen. And I still liked him. They really seem to go above and beyond." After the project pictured here, a resi - dential makeover in Irvine, California, was completed, Cunningham retired. Which led to the interesting arrangement. English took over his crew, put them to work on her projects, and trained the owner's son, Zach, who was already in the business but did not have enough experience yet to supervise. This went on for about a year and a half and then, as was planned, Zach took over the crew and brought Cunningham Con - struction back into existence, continuing the partnership between that company and English's. And there was one more twist in this saga. "Originally my daughter was also going to be involved but she ended up changing careers," English says. Like mother like daughter. 36 LC DBM

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