For the past two decades, Scott Shorrow of Landscape Concepts, Inc. has specialized in landscape transformations that have greatly enhanced the outdoor beauty of homes and businesses throughout the local Frederick, Maryland, area. This includes working with owners to integrate patios, kitchens, fire pits, stairs, walks, plants and shrubbery with the grounds to not only create scenic artistry, but also living spaces that comfortably expand the flow of architectural elements and exterior aesthetics.
“Hardscaping has truly become an artform,” says Shorrow. “It’s so much more than just laying brick and pavers. The entire process from specification to design takes a real artistic touch to get it right with a look and feel that promotes livability, curb appeal and even better value in a competitive sales market.”
According to Shorrow, these activities begin with the design of a functional plan based on a combination of color, line, form, texture and scale. It then extends to choosing the materials that coincide best with the property’s existing features.
For instance, freestanding retaining and landscape walls are often constructed with a variety of curb stone collections to complement driveways, decks, pools and gardens with textures and hues reminiscent of the rustic hand-laid look of Old English estates or time-honed appeal of classic European gardens.
As for lighting, that was another matter entirely. Up until recently, Shorrow tried to resist requests for all forms of landscape lighting due to the various challenges associated with traditional products and installations. Only at the specific demands of customers did he even consider including them in his package of services.
“I dreaded lighting projects,” explains Shorrow. “The wiring was bulky. The line voltage was difficult to anticipate and it always seemed like the first light was brighter than the fifth and all the other ensuing bulbs. Plus, the time and effort involved just wasn’t worth the return. I’d add lighting if the customer was adamant, but it wasn’t something I actively pitched or even made me money. It was an add-on service that I often avoided as much as possible.”
Shorrow learned about i-lighting in early 2012 from a colleague and the demonstration he received at a local home show got him to thinking that it might be time to add landscape lighting as a service. He was particularly intrigued with the company’s proprietary “LED Lighting Simplified” connection technology. After a bit more research he became convinced that that installations utilizing the kits take nearly half the time of traditional outdoor lighting systems; users need to do little more than plug the system together to create customized deck, rail, stair, post, path, masonry and landscape solutions. Another benefit is that each LED installation only costs pennies a month to operate.
“Immediately, I realized this was the answer to my lighting problems,” continues Shorrow. “It just seemed so easy to use. All you have to do is plug it together and install. There are no excessive set up times. The wiring is thinner and as a result easier to hide and the LED bulbs emit a warm, yellow glow.”
Shorrow now regularly recommends, sells and installs stair and deck lighting as well as hardscape and landscape lighting. He installs the lighting separately or in conjunction through a series of connections that plug together using either end of the i-lighting extension cables.
Photocell technology that senses ambient light and automatically turns lights on and off for both safety and security, while adding convenience and reliability
Over the past year he said he has sold more than 50 lighting jobs. “I now show the lighting on the first day and customers almost immediately ask me to include it in their projects,” says Shorrow.
It’s an easy upsell, he claims, adding that he’s had at least two jobs in the $25,000 to $30,000 range that resulted directly from the referrals of satisfied customers.In one case, a previous customer was so impressed with the aesthetics and its warm yellow hue of a lighting project that he instructed Shorrow to replace the home’s existing landscape and masonry lighting with a complete system consisting of nearly 250 masonry, path and uplights. “Lighting installations are now not only profitable, but also pleasurable to perform,” adds Shorrow.