5 years ago, Matt and I started OES with one employee - our longtime project manager, Shawn Latta. A few weeks after we put all of our eggs in one basket in December of 2011, I found out I was pregnant with our second daughter, Ansley, with 2.5 year old Eloise in tow. Our first year's goals were simple: stay busy enough to feed our growing family and make some beautiful landscapes.
Over the past four years, we've grown from a handful of employees to a group of 16 in the office and the field. One of my goals for 2016 was to see "Open Envelope Studio" in print, and by the end of this year we've been in five magazines! The cherry on top was the one where we were voted the Landscaping winner for Austin Monthly's Best of Austin by their readers. You can see more at our Press page.
Another goal was to be able to enjoy (and learn from) a designed landscape at our home/office. Over the year we've slowly installed a few decks, steel-edged gravel patios, concrete pavers connecting the house and detached office, planting beds, and a square of turf grass. We're currently building a custom outdoor counter for our washer/dryer that also gives additional storage to our tiny house. The video below shows one-second snippets of life in the OES office, the progress of the OES landscape, and client projects throughout 2016.
As of today, we're finishing up our 78th built project (Chandler Residence) and are in the midst of our 79th (Kiloh/Daniels Residence). That project count doesn't include the additional phases on older projects, which make us so happy to come back and check on the progress of our work from prior years. It means a lot that our clients have enjoyed their landscapes enough to ask us to come back to expand the scope.
I feel very lucky to be able to work with my husband, who makes me a better designer and person in general. I am thankful that we are able to work out of a detached office with our employees because it makes family life and dealing with kiddo sick days that much easier. I am grateful to be able to work with such amazing people who are beyond excellent craftsmen, but are also the reason we have successful projects. And finally, and I relieved to have Jackie Butler and Damon Faulkner in the office with us, to organize, give feedback on how to streamline and improve the company, and handle the workload. As office manager and designer, respectively, they should get a great deal of credit as well.
Here's to 2017: may we keep the family-feel of our little landscape design/build company while always dreaming bigger and brighter.