Magnificent Mile Landscape Contractors Award

Clarence Davids & Company has been selected to receive a Landscape Contractors Award as part of The Magnificent Mile Association’s 2016/2017 Magnificent Mile Beautification Awards program. The awards will be presented at the Association’s Fall Membership Luncheon on September 27.

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American Society of Landscape Architects Celebration

The Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects held their annual event, Celebration +, on April 21, 2017 in Chicago. Clarence Davids & Company employees, Allie Corbett, Bill Davids, Debbie Davids, Anna Langenfeld, and Alan Watkins participated in the field sessions, education sessions, and the awards ceremony. Below are pictures of our team at the event!

Alan, Anna, and Allie at the Chicago Riverwalk Tour.
Debbie, Bill, Allie, Anna, and Alan at the Awards Ceremony at Venue One in Chicago.
Culliton Quinn Landscape Architects won an ILASLA Award for the North Pond Rooftop. Clarence Davids was part of the project team!
Alan is the current President of the Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

 

Weinger JCC Receives Excellence in Landscape Award!

Clarence Davids & Company is proud to announce that our work at Bernard Weinger Jewish Community Center in Northbrook, Illinois won a 2017 Illinois Landscape Contractors Association Excellence in Landscape Award.

The newly created natural playground replaced a traditional play space that consisted of plastic structures that no longer gave the students a unique play experience. The new playground is a natural space that offers a myriad of learning opportunities to the students, including topics such as science, music, reading, and horticulture. Some of the features include gardens, a science observation area, a dedicated space for music and movement, mud and sandpits, and wood stump seating for picnics and story time. The primary objective of the new space is to help enrich the children’s physical being, cognitive skills, and social and emotional aptitude.

The playground is divided into two sections based on the ages of the students. The area for the older children features   a large sandpit where many kids can explore their creativity and play together. A wooden water runnel extends into the sandpit and provides an opportunity for the kids to watch water flow into the sand. A custom bridge enables the children to climb and see the space from a higher elevation. The custom playhouse is a popular space for kids to bake mud pies in the make-believe kitchen. Students can sit and relax in the bamboo sukkah or walk through the structure to get to the opposite side.

Furthermore, the area for the youngest kids includes two slides that are built into a fescue hill and a custom sandbox, which includes a cedar cover that folds back in order to create seating. Throughout the space, log steppers are arranged to encourage the kids to jump from one to the next. A council ring provides a space for instructors to teach class outside. During the lesson, students sit on the logs arranged in a semi-circle, which assists in creating a culture of participation.

The new, innovative playground is now a space where children can play and learn in a natural environment and inspires them to use their multiple senses and play with more vigor, engagement, and imagination. Check out the project photos below!

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Grand Plaza wins Excellence in Landscape Award!

Clarence Davids & Company is proud to announce that our work at Grand Plaza in Chicago, Illinois won a 2017 Illinois Landscape Contractors Association Excellence in Landscape Award. The project scope was to transform the dated pool deck into a hip Miami-style space for entertaining and outdoor leisure.  The client wanted to enhance the sun deck outdoor areas that were previously based on function into aesthetically appealing spaces that drew their young luxury apartment residents in, as well as, attracting new residents to their building.

One of the biggest priorities of the project was to take the previous outdoor grilling/dining area that consisted of freestanding grills with tables and chairs and elevate it into elaborate built in kitchen and bar areas.  Because of the large space we were allotted, we were able to design in two large outdoor kitchen/bar areas.  They each consisted of a large commercial size grill, outdoor sink, ice chest and a miniature refrigerator.   Each built in kitchen accommodates bar seating to add to the upbeat ambiance the client was looking for, as well as additional seating space.  They are also both covered by a pergola to add shade to the sun deck.  The outdoor kitchens are built with a cultured stone veneer with granite counters.

One of the other elements to the project was to transform the tired landscaping into a healthy rejuvenated backdrop to our newly designed spaces.  Another important priority for the client was to create a clean and open lawn space that could be used for towel and blanket overflow seating.  On the weekends the pool area can get so busy that they run out of seating for their residents.  Our newly designed lawn area took the place of multiple crab trees that had previously made the pool area dark and claustrophobic.  By opening up the pool area, the terrace feels like a totally different place.  The terrace border planting is filled with flowering hydrangeas, roses and large drifts of Panicum grasses that enhance the breezy fill of the deck.

Another feature that was important to our client was the addition of Cabanas to the Pool Area.  In an effort to keep up with the competing luxury apartment rentals Pool Cabanas are the new hot things.  These Cabanas are open for daily rental to the residents so that they can enjoy an intimate pool space to hang out with their friends and family.

Finally, in an effort to update and tie the entire pool and dining spaces together, a new outdoor furniture scheme was put together.  This included dining furniture, lounge and spa pool chairs and deep seating furniture for the Cabanas and other intimate spaces.  As well as, the addition of new cantilever umbrella’s to create shade spaces.  The color scheme consisted of Miami Orange, Spa Blue and Granite grey to create the clean hip Miami style terrace the client was looking for.

The renovated pool/dining terrace has been a huge success and well received by the client, residents and guests. Take a look at the photos below!

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Gaelic Park wins ILCA Award!

Clarence Davids & Company is proud to announce that our work at Gaelic Park in Oak Forest, Illinois won a 2017 Illinois Landscape Contractors Association Excellence in Landscape Award. Our challenge from the client was to take a steel and concrete patio area overlooking an enormous gravel parking lot, 1000’s of feet of chain-link fence, a five story radio tower, playground and soccer field and transform it into their dream event and wedding venue.

We started this project by removing the declining Ash trees. Next, we created a natural water feature to serve as a backdrop and provide both a focal point and a photo opportunity in the space. The waterfall feature, with staggered spillways, offered visual appeal as well as the gentle sound of flowing water. A stone bridge was installed at the end of the falls to complete the feature. It was now time to add our structure-a pergola large enough to comfortably accommodate a large group. The paver patio under the pergola joined a meandering paver path to connect the existing outdoor area with the new event space. This also provided the romantic feel of “walking through a garden” that our client requested. An additional challenge was to revitalize the area along the existing patio so that it would meld together with our newly created event space, while not blocking the spectator view of the soccer field. This was no easy feat. We were able to strategically plant some columnar trees to mask the fence and goal posts and soften the area by installing some low bushes and perennials. At the transition spot, we installed a semicircle stone seating area which could easily adjust from a photo taking “nook” to a conversational fire pit area. Our final challenge was installing the perfect combination of mature plant material for immediate screening with trees and bushes that would mature into the space and both perennials and annuals to provide seasonal blooming and color.

In the end, we were able to take an eyesore, an under-utilized outdoor space and create exactly what our client envisioned; a multi-functional event space which would attract new business and provide a colorful, natural extension of their existing venue. Check out the photos below!

This picture provides an overall view of the space prior to transformation. The declining trees were removed and the lawn area was removed to make way for a waterfall feature and wedding event spa=ce.
BEFORE – This picture provides an overall view of the space prior to transformation. The declining trees were removed and the lawn area was removed to make way for a waterfall feature and wedding event space.
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We provided the client with a beautiful and useful space that started from an expansive lawn area with only trees and distant stark views. The meandering paver walkway with colorful annuals and perennials provides interest while the waterfall feature and pergola offers enjoyment in the newly created wedding and event space.
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The pergola structure outlines that lovely setting with the lawn as an extension of that space allowing guests to be in close proximity sharing in the festivities. Guest seating in the lawn area was a necessity requested by the client for that very reason.
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The natural flow of the waterfall feature into the pond is naturalized by the planting of allium, daylilies and grasses. The sound of the flowing water is soothing as you pass by the falls to the pergola.

ILCA’s 2017 Man of the Year Bill Davids

Clarence Davids & Company President, Bill Davids
Bill Davids

“Like father, like son,” is a phrase that in many ways could be applied to this years Illinois Landscape Contractors Association Man of the Year. The honor that is being accorded, however, recognizes an individual that, while continuing in the family landscaping business that his dad launched back in 1951 and serving – as his father had – as a president of the ILCA, 2017 Man of the Year recipient Bill Davids has made his own mark on the company he now leads – and on the industry it serves.

Though Bill followed to a large degree in the footsteps of his father, company founder Clarence, each man had a distinct vision for the company, which they applied in steering the business – an enterprise which has won more than 200 awards on state and national levels for achievement in landscape design and maintenance. Recently, in 2015, the company was recognized with four awards in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Association’s Curb Appeal competition.

“We worked together many years,” relates the son, in recalling the familial collaboration. For his part, Bill Davids would pursue the design-build process, introducing a service offering that he believed was “necessary to go along with maintenance.” Today, the company is a full-service contractor offering a wide array of services from maintenance, design-build, installation, lawn care, snow removal and tree pruning to creating seasonal flower displays and providing holiday decor.

“Design always interested me,” says the younger Davids, who studied horticulture at Michigan State University. He conveys that in business such as the one in which he grew up – and grew into, “There’s a lot to learn.” He also acknowledges the senior Davids’ appreciation of this requisite to success. “My father thought education was important,” he relates. The current company president, in turn, carries the same outlook when it comes to developing employees. “We support further education,” he says. “As we’ve been blessed as the company grows, we bless other people with key positions.

A great example

The company also maintains a focus on environmental consciousness and sustainability, as well as expresses a commitment to providing a safe work place for employees, its customers and the general public. Impressive, too, is that fact that Bill Davids can name some big-time commercial clients that the company has maintained from the contractor’s early ventures into this market – an accomplishment that can be credited to company leadership.

Bill’s business leadership style has not gone unnoticed. Industry colleague, Jim Melka, who as founder of Melka Landscaping & Garden Center in Mokena, Ill., is another south suburban contractor observes, “The one word that comes to mind when thinking of Bill is ‘professionalism.’ It radiates throughout the entire company.”

Clarence Davids & Company has also maintained a long-time relationship with ILCA, a relationship that Bill values strongly. “ILCA has meant a lot to us over the years,” he says, citing learning opportunities the affiliation has afforded. He also expresses an appreciation of the affiliation with what he sees as some of the “most knowledgeable and largest landscaping firms in the United States.” It appears that fellow ILCA members have a mutual appreciation for Bill’s service to the association.

Preceding Bill as president of ILCA was Kenny Gallt, founder of Foliage Design Systems, Lombard, Ill. Gallt: “Bill is one of those quiet supporters of ILCA and the landscape industry. Through Bill’s leadership, he has grown Clarence Davids landscaping business into one of the most distinguished companies in the country. While doing this, Bill has found time to give to others in the community, and to ILCA as a past board member, office, and president.

“But more important, the association has always been able to call on Bill and his company for his support for talent for ILCA committees and participation in the ILCA programs,” Gallt continues. “Bill through his leadership sets a great example for anyone in this industry.”

A steady hand on the rudder

Frank Mariani, who leads Mariani Landscape in Lake Bluff, Ill., served on the ILCA board with Bill, and shares some observations of Bill’s manner. “What I enjoyed most is his steady and consistent hand on the rudder. He always took the time to think before he spoke and for that reason his words carried a lot of weight,” relates Mariani. “I also admire Bill as he took over for this father Clarence, who was a well-respected legend in our industry and one of the founding members of ILCA. Those were big shoes to fill and Bill was and still is up to the job!”

Also serving on the board with Bill was Scott McAdam, president of McAdam Landscaping, Forest Park, Ill. “What I always remembered was that he was a quiet leader,” recalls McAdam. “He had a calm demeanor about him and was very thorough in his thought process. He always had the best interest of the industry, even before his company, no matter what issue was before the board. He was also very humble and well grounded. He was quite passionate about the industry and what the association could do to help move us to be a more professional organization.”

Perhaps Melka sums up why Davids is being recognized with the Man of the Year honor for 2016-17. “Bill has set the bar to provide the highest quality of service and integrity in the landscape maintenance industry,” declares Melka. “I am proud to be involved in a profession that has such as a dedicated and reputable individual like Bill Davids.”

NOTE: This article appears in the January 2017 edition of The Landscape Contractor. It was written by Barbara Dutton.

Thankful!

2016 has been a great year! We are extremely thankful to our clients and friends who have made our 65th anniversary a success!

Check out this highlight video of some of the projects we completed this year!