Winning acceptance

Board approval isn’t easy when a design/build project breaks the norm. Here is how one firm eased a community’s concerns.

February 16, 2012
Kristen Hampshire
Industry News

Beary Landscaping had a vision for a landscape design that would fill a vacant lot in the center of historic downtown Frankfort, Ill. The trick was to illustrate the plan to skeptical villagers and earn their approval.

“You know in your heart what it’s going to look like, and it was our job to help everyone understand the plan,” says Mark McClure, sales manager at Beary Landscaping, based in Lockport, Ill.

Because this particular landscape design cut against the village’s old-time grain (in-ground pool, travertine, full outdoor kitchen), there was plenty of buzz, and a fair amount of opposition before Beary Landscaping presented the project at the town hall.

 “It isn’t easy being in a board room and having a community against a project and trying to get them to accept it and believe in what you are trying to do,” McClure says.  But that is exactly what Beary Landscaping accomplished: approval and, eventually, praise from area homeowners.

Here is how Beary maintained a strong relationship with the village board while working to ensure neighbors of the property-under-construction would be satisfied with the end result. 

Show, don’t tell.
Pictures and samples help bring a rendering to life. While a complete drawing of the landscape project showed villagers the scope of the landscape project, the visual clues helped them understand how the property would blend with their historic downtown. “People for the most part are visual, and they like to see the prettiness because landscaping is a colorful thing when finished,” McClure says.

Respect the fear. Villagers, and particularly neighboring homeowners, were concerned about the project because the town works together to preserve its history. Since this property was located on the main drag, its appearance became a public matter. “A lot of people are afraid for anything new,” McClure says. “Work with them. Respect that fear. And help them overcome the fear of a new project coming in next door by listening and answering their questions.”

Stay in touch. After gaining approval to begin the project, Beary Landscaping worked with village inspectors and kept open lines of communication with the board and village leaders during construction. “They wanted to make sure we didn’t deviate from the plan once it was accepted, and we did what we said we were going to do,” McClure says.


This is one of three stories that appeared in Lawn & Landscape’s Business Builder e-newsletter. To continue reading about how Beary Landscaping pulled off this project:

Building history:
When design approval takes a village, communication and compromise help keep a project moving along.

Executing the plan: Beary Landscaping took this project from design phase to portfolio winner.