Out Of My Hands

I work for every penny I’m contracted for in the “Construction Observation” phase of my design work, but there’s rarely enough money left to complete that phase. Sometimes I do that work anyway.

Plus, things are out of my hands ultimately, no matter how clear I make my designs and plans. So much falls through the cracks, yet I survive.

All comments are based on my plans, notes in plain, modern (brief) English, graphics per industry standards –

1) pots were all in line, for a stronger effect…not installed that way; 2) winter annual plants never changed from project close-out in January, but it’s bordering on infernal in mid-July, winter annuals never changed

Not northern 88F heat, or eastern humid heat with 30″+ of rain / year…but it’s also not 4 months of Phoenix hyper-summer. Blessed!

There’s a balance between paying one’s mortgage (for 21 years), or rent that’s now 25% higher for less (with 1 and not 2 incomes), then not selling out.

boulders not buried 1/4 into grade, just set on top of mulch…or even with mulch fudged up to boulders……….

This installation was during an unusually cold period in the coldest month (December) of a mostly mild winter, with more than one day;s high at 32F. And a few nights near 0F…yes, they used pick axes in some areas to do work, to meet the big restaurant opening.

boulders installed after they were specified – during finish grade and before planting…
see anything other than far-off storms during the monsoon or “rainy” season?
anything? Buhler?? Buhler-rrr??? (#80’s)
Greek Germander was sneaked into the middle of specified Trailing Germander…the clay loam soils will have the final say…

Some excuse such things as, “well, David, …”, but that’s lame. I wonder how many of them do the same? Would their client$ excuse it with their real money expenditures? Many of us know how / the amounts of money and time are divided among any project team.

1) the development entry monument is still not constructed, hense the sparse look; 2) weeds…could be worse, but…
no water harvesting basin…summer downpours will run off more…

I’m just happy when the contractor on one of my projects gets 80% a project right; with all my work over 8 states, it hasn’t always been that great. So, 80% is like awarding them with an A+ to me. But that’s my 25 years in the field, and I know others who have it easier.

Luck does not come from working harder. It just is, or is not.

Client – “David, you forget that it rained and was humid all week”…
mold…why the Zephyranthes were not establishing – 3x / week irrigation

Me – “you don’t realize that monsoon season humidity and rain means no irrigation”. Maintenance guidelines were swiftly sent a 2nd time…no response. My fault to be sure – not!

Am I blessed? I sure am, at some level.
– – –
Even though an unusual amount of humid weather lingers and for so long, it actually turned into real rain…3.5″ last week, doubling our 2014 rainfall.

And the Sooners won a football game they might normally choke at in WV. It could be worse!

3 Replies to “Out Of My Hands”

  1. This is the exact issue that frustrates me with designing plans for DIYers and for those who contract out the installation themselves: it’s just never going to be done exactly the way you designed it. Sometimes it’s close, and you cheer, but more often inappropriate plants are substituted or cheaper shortcuts are made by the installer, etc. I get it. I’ve done it myself. But it’s frustrating to have your design judged on an indifferent installation — or indifferent (or nonexistent) maintenance.

    Still, I continue to work the DIY niche because I believe design should be accessible and not affordable only for the wealthy, plus I have no interest at this point in doing installations (trying to keep it simple). How about you? Have you ever thought about doing the installations, David?

    I had that same issue when I did alot of residential, including DIY, so I quit doing many. But I’ll need to cultivate a good relationship with 1-2 quality contractors who make life easier for me / vice-versa. And as you see, this is mostly bid-out work. Maybe it’s getting the word out, and putting together a quick, compelling package on how to have what they want (pretty), as there’s good info out there from blogs alone!

    But I might follow through what I tried starting in 2005 – an installation business, then a nursery. I just may, yet, even if I am not getting younger!


  2. Do you sometimes feel like you’re just slamming your head up against a wall? I had a nice conversation with a nursery manager yesterday. He was telling me how people basically don’t want to read the labels, learn about the plants and their needs, or become educated. They just want something pretty.

    Yes, that explains the ibuprofin again today – this post! I wonder how to reach such people, because that’s what they want, but not what their actions do…a disconnect, or opportunity?


  3. I can’t imagine how frustrating it is to be faced with ongoing evidence of people ignoring your careful work.

    These projects of yours are a bit like raising children, I suppose. You do your best but at some point have to walk away and let your initial input either be implemented or be ignored. Or some combination of both. As you say, “out of your hands”.

    You were initially responsible to the projects but are no longer responsible for them. Big difference.

    I eventually get reminded, even when I’m busy and my memory fades. Especially when I have to list out projects on proposals, or show potential clients my work, and I have to be selective in images…even then, many can doubt my abilities thanks to others, especially when they visit some projects. Budget cuts, maintenance / client failings then go out the door. I wish it didn’t reflect on me, but with many it does. Though I keep on! Children, maybe even cats, have a better chance of bearing better fruit :-)


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