Value in Your Landscape

Value in Your Landscape

AMC Guest Article

Value in Your Landscape

Jeff Allen of JALA, Jeff Allen Landscape Architecture, LLC


In today’s economy many of us are looking to get the ‘The Best Deal.’ The best deals are not always the lowest price especially when you are investing in your home. Most clients discuss what they hope to get a return on from their investment and are not willing to spend a penny more. As a designer I recommend to my clients to look for value.

I define value both IMG_2088from a market stand point where prices are well defined i.e. stone/plant material cost per square foot to hourly labor rates. Beyond that I delve into a subjective value; the role of the process of that leads to the finished product. What was the experience during the design phase, construction phase and post construction. Were we responsive to your questions, concerns, did we give you all your options to make intelligent decisions that you are happy with the end result? Together these make an intrinsic value. Our role in this is one of advocacy for our clients and guidance for the contractor to ensure a smooth rewarding experience; hence it is good for everyone.

IMG_2165Many contractors are competing to stay in business and the successful ones are doing so by the value they bring to the table- expertise, professional accreditation, liability insurance coverage and dedication to their craft. When interviewing contractors (beyond seeing the quality their work-see my previous article on hiring a landscape architect) I look for intrinsic value mainly with regard to service. Landscape materials are relatively fixed based on current market pricing and your contractor should be able to obtain the best material at the best price effectively and efficiently. A landscape professional should have all of his professional licenses, insurances and have knowledge of local regulations. Most importantly how does your landscape professional communicate? This is critical during the construction and maintenance phase regarding scheduling, material samples for review, response to questions or concerns and follow up.

IMG_2624 (2)The post construction phase for gardens and landscapes is to me the most important. Your garden/landscape is a living system that requires care and is changing as it develops. The quality of a well-managed landscape/garden can increase the value of your investment where a poorly maintained one can cost more money to repair and in some cases reconstruct parts of the garden. I enjoy this phase as I revisit many gardens I designed to see how they have grown in. I love to ask my clients are you enjoying your new terrace, outdoor kitchen or herb garden. What I am asking is does the design meet your goals we established in the initial design phase, has your quality of life improved, have we created a positive impact on your life?

Valuable assets in your landscape:
A good functioning irrigation system

Article by Home Builders Association of Winston-Salem Member,:

J A L A, L L C  J e f f  A l l e n  L a n d s c a p e  A r c h i t e c t u r e
1000 West 5th Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Surviving the Mobile Apocalypse

Surviving the Mobile Apocalypse

Associate Members Guest Article

How to Survive the Upcoming Mobile Apocalypse from Google

by Wes Hammond, Brown Creative Group

Google has announced a significant update to their search algorithm that is predicted to have more of an impact than previous Google updates, which affected millions of websites. In some marketing circles, this update is so significant that it has been dubbed the “mobile apocalypse” or “mobilegeddon.” Granted, these terms may be a bit dramatic, but they underscore the importance of making sure that your website is optimized for mobile users.

For some time now, Google has increased its emphasis on mobile-friendliness in their search results. In late 2014, search results began indicating whether a website is mobile-friendly or not. But starting April 21, 2015, Google is going much further by now using mobile-friendliness as a key ranking factor.

This means that if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, your website will likely lose positions in search results in favor of sites that are mobile friendly. The bottom line is that if your website isn’t ready for mobile, you’ll lose traffic to your site. So how do you know if your website is optimized for mobile? There are essentially two options for your website to be ready for mobile.

One is to have a separate mobile version of your website with some special code that detects whether a visitor is coming from a computer or a mobile device. That determines which version of your website gets shown to the visitor.

The other option is for your website to be responsive. “Responsive design” is an industry term that describes a website that is built in a way so that elements automatically resize and adjust to whatever screen size a visitor is using.

For most businesses, it’s better to have a responsive website than to have a separate mobile website.
One of the easiest ways to find out if your site is mobile-friendly is to enter your website URL into this tool from Google:

If your website doesn’t pass the mobile-friendly test, here’s what to do.

1. If you’re a technical do-it-yourselfer, you could install a responsive WordPress theme and copy over your content to the new site. Be sure to work within the structure of the theme so you don’t break the built-in responsive code of the website.

2. If you’re not a technical whiz—or if the thoughts of FTP, WordPress, plugins and DNS sound unappealing—enlist the help of web design company who specializes in responsive websites. You’ll save time and frustration, plus have a much better result in the end.

What if I miss the April 21st deadline?

Google’s mobile algorithm update starts on April 21, 2015. It’s recommended to start the process of having your website redesigned to be mobile-friendly now. Even if the site is not ready to launch by April 21, you’ll still be ahead of the curve compared to many other businesses.

The mobile trend is not going away. You’ll see Google continue to favor mobile-optimized websites even more in the months and years to come. So don’t delay! Now is the time to get started so you don’t lose out on valuable website traffic.

For more information about Surviving the Mobile Apocalypse contact…

Wes Hammond
Brown Creative Group

 Associate Members Committee Leadership

Carol Hammond, 2015 AMC Chairperson, STOCK Building Supply

 Associate Members Committee Meetings – please join us!

12 – 1, May 14 (Webb Heating & AC)
12 – 1, June 11 (Amanzi Marble & Granite)
[NO Meeting in JULY]


STARS Awards Program

Call for Entries:

Entries are now being accepted for the prestigious STARS Awards program, which recognizes the outstanding professional performance of HBA members throughout the region! Don’t miss out as we salute builders, associates, realtors, media and advertising professionals, and many others who shine above the rest.
The STARS Awards Gala will be held September 16 in Charlotte as part of the annual 21st Century Building Expo & Conference. This awards program is hosted by the North Carolina Home Builders Assocation. All NAHB members are eligible to enter.

The early bird entry deadline is June 19, 2015 ($100/entry). The final entry deadline is July 8, 2015 ($150/entry).


Click here for printable form


Housing = Jobs

Housing = Jobs

Housing = Jobs

[NCHBA] Consumer Benefits of New Construction:

  • Even though new homes tend to be larger, energy costs are about 10 percent lower in new homes compared to existing homes.
  • Maintenance costs on average were 56 percent lower in new homes; $547 a year for all single family homes versus $241 for homes built after 2008.
  • New homes feature floor plans that suit modern lifestyles, with open space layouts, high ceilings, large windows and design features such as information centers in kitchens, laundry rooms located near bedrooms, walk-in closets and pantries and mudrooms for convenience and comfort. Find the most popular features in 2014
  • Today’s new homes are built with environmentally-friendly features such as energy-efficient tankless water heaters, Energy Star appliances, HVAC systems, insulation and windows and doors that make the home more comfortable and can save the home owners money over the long term.

Community and Economic Benefits of New Construction:

The estimated one-year local impacts of building 100 single-family homes in a typical metro area include:

  • $21.1 million in local income,
  • $2.2 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and
  • 324 local jobs.

The additional, annually recurring impacts of building 100 single-family homes in a typical metro area include:

  • $3.1 million in local income,
  • $743,000 in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and
  • 53 local jobs.


*Article originally posted on NCHBA website.

Building, Buying, Remodeling: Resources

Building, Buying, Remodeling: Resources

Building, Buying, Remodeling: Resources

[NAHB] Everything you need to know about buying, financing, building, maintaining or remodeling your home is right here. This section guides you through every stage of homeownership and helps you understand more about home building and the environmental and community growth issues facing our neighborhoods. Whether you’re a current or prospective home owner, or just interested in home building — there’s something for everyone.

  • Buying or Building Your Home  (19 items)
    Learn about home buying and building a new home with resources and advice to help you become a more educated consumer.
  • Financing Your Home   (7 items)
    Learn about home financing basics from getting a mortgage to settlement and closing.
  • Floor Plans  (go to item)
    Stay abreast of design trends and learn what’s new in today’s market from floor plans to the finished product.
  • Green Building & Energy Efficiency   (9 items)
    Learn about cost-effective, sustainable building and remodeling, and find a Certified Green Professional to help you create your green dream home.
  • Home Maintenance  (26 items)
    Learn about routine maintenance, energy efficiency, safety and more in order to protect your investment and properly care for your home.

Originally posted on NAHB Website:

nahb color logo 09