Spin Screed

Construction articles

Variety adds to quality

By Jeremy Sviben

Clean vehicles, professionally dressed employees, a typed proposal. What do these things have to do with the quality of your work? Some would say very little. That is, unless a client is looking for visual clues to help make a decision on the multiple proposals they have received. They might just be looking for things they can relate to. I call these seemly minor things examples of "quiet quality." Quiet quality sells jobs.

Presenting a creative, thoughtful lighting design is an opportunity for you to impress a customer through quiet quality and differentiate your company from your competitors. Most hardscape lighting proposals consider the obvious reasons for lighting such as safely lighting stairs. But there's more you can do to enhance the area that the customer will love.

Let's say you design a walkway that has multiple steps and planters attached that flow out. Consider tastefully alternating your lighting fixture selections. Take a few stem-mounted fixtures and place them in the bedding so they still light the stairs but capture some of the landscape plants as well. Explain to the client you are doing this intentionally to save them money on the need for additional fixtures to light the plants later.

With stem-mounted lights in the bedding, paver-type lighting can then be installed towards the middle of the paths for something different. Again, explain to your client that using different types of lighting will make the project appear more tastefully done.

Lighting under wall caps is a great way to showcase your craftsmanship and the client's investment. I recommend taking it a step further. Ask the client if the plan is to put any plantings in front of the wall. Plantings give you the opportunity to up-light the plants and throw shadows on the wall. When used in combination with the under-cap lighting the effect created is multi-dimensional.

Creative, thoughtful lighting design should be part of your total service package that will quietly impress customers as to the quality of your work.

Jeremy Sviben grew up in his family's electrical contracting business and is president of Botanical Lighting a contracting firm in Medford Lake, NJ. Most recently, Jeremy launched LightingShrink.com fool-proof landscape lighting connectors.

Variety can take hardscape lighting to new levels. The lights pictured including the LED rope lighting are available through Ewing.