May 17th, 2013
Follow the wall
Thank you to all of you for sharing our blog and our Facebook page to friends and family! We were able to gain 6 additional “likes” on Facebook (www.facebook.com/firmadesigngroup) and several comments on our blog page (www.firmadesigngroup.com/blog). When we posted, we were at 95 likes and got to 101 likes thanks to all of you!
We will be making a $51 donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County, thanks to all of you!
We hope you have a great weekend, it’s going to beautiful! Plan your backyard renovation and then call us to help you head in the right direction!
May 7th, 2013
I just noticed a weird, or maybe not so weird coincidence! I began to write my blog post for the week and I noticed that last week was our 100th posting on our blog. Wow, have I really wrote that many blogs? I couldn’t believe it!
Then, over the weekend, I noticed we were at 95 likes on our Facebook fan page (https://www.facebook.com/firmadesigngroup) and I posted a brief request for additional likes – up to 100 – and we would donate $50 to the Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma County (http://www.bgccsc.org/). So, to get from 95 to 100 likes, was pretty easy…after offering the donation.
Something everyone forgot though, is that if we go over 100 likes (we’ve been at 100 since Sunday), we’ll donate $1 for every like to the Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma County!
So, while we’re reaching milestones on our social media, let’s try to reach a milestone with our donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma County! It doesn’t cost anything for you to like our page, we only post pictures of our projects, and do a weekly blog…so why don’t you like our page?
Our beautiful Facebook Page
And lastly, check out our LinkedIn page at http://www.linkedin.com/company/firma-design-group?trk=hb_tab_compy_id_2024675
May 4th, 2013
Firma Design Group (Michael Cook and Steve Kovanis) attended the Wine Industry Conference hosted by the North Bay Business Journal as sponsors of the exhibits. We displayed our strong qualifications for winery & vineyard owners, managers and staff in civil engineering and landscape architecture. There were over 450 people in attendance and it was a great event!
Giancarlo Bianchetti, Chief Executive Officer of Fetzer Vineyards, was the keynote speaker and something very specific that he talked about was the reason for investing and continuing to work in the State of California and specifically Sonoma County. The first and most important reason is:
California is at the heart of the biggest market in the world!
And, if you think about it, it’s true. California is truly in the center of it all. We’re just across the pond from China (where immense investment is occurring), we’re adjacent to Mexico and not that far from the East Coast and the Europeans.
California also has the ability and diversity to reinvest in itself!
We have some of the most successful internet companies, winery companies, and others that are located in California. One of my favorite quotes of the day was Giancarlo talking about how people throughout the rest of the world view California:
California is branded as a place of innovation with worldwide impact.
All of this is coming from a new resident of California from the country of Chile. This is one of many reasons that Firma Design Group is located in Sonoma County. California. We have an amazing community and amazing reputation throughout the world.
To building our economy much more!
April 24th, 2013
Edible plants have become more and more acceptable and wanted in your ornamental landscape. As the sustainable movement continues, Americans are becoming more and more interested in having plants that can serve multiple purposes (i.e good looking and edible), low-water use and much more. As landscape architects, Firma Design Group has participated, designed and advocated for many edible gardens in commercial, residential and educational facilities. Some great plants, include:
Artichokes are a very bold and aesthetically pleasing plant. Without flowers, the plant has great texture and great color. With the flowers (the “artichoke”), the plant just pops in the landscape. There are many varieties, including a gray foliage artichoke and these are great to put in the landscape. Be careful of the space that an artichoke needs, though, as you will need to provide at least a 4 foot by 4 foot area. These plants grow large!
The Bay Laurel tree is an incredible tree that provides amazing aesthetic quality, evergreen screening capabilities, and the aroma off of the tree is just pleasant. We use this tree a lot for drought tolerant projects that require an evergreen screen and a beautiful looking tree! The cooking capabilities of this tree are incredible. You can cut the branches, use the leaves for cooking, marinating and much more! The aroma off of the leaves is enough to brighten up your room for many days! The tree is a slower grower, and can fit into most landcape ares.
There are so many varieties of thyme at nurseries these days, that we have just listed and shown the standard creeping thyme. There is Spicy Thyme, Lemon Thyme and much more to choose from. There are also variegated forms, options for flowering thyme and low water use thyme.
We advocate the use of this plant in many different gardens because of its drought tolerancy, beautiful texture and flowers that prop up if you don’t use the herb for cooking on a regular basis.
April 14th, 2013
Michael Cook and Steve Kovanis were involved with the Casa Bella Verde project as the landscape architect of record for this award-winning project located in El Dorado, California. This national award is given to top projects using ICF products, this specific project used IntegraSpec ICF units, over 60,000 square feet of the product. (see award here: http://www.icfmag.com/builder_awards/2012/Unlimited_Residential_01.html).
The landscape on this project was extremely drought tolerant, native and locally specified.
The landscape is currently being installed and we’ll upload pictures when we are able to take them. Here you can see the extent of the landscape areas: http://www.casabellaverde.com/construction11.htm
Landscape area between house and guest house
April 8th, 2013
I saw this post on the Houzz.com site over the weekend and I thought it would make a great re-post on our blog. This centuries-old idea had utilitarian roots, as the post suggests, for keeping the animals separated from the ornamental landscape. This would also serve as a view-preserving feature, and make the yard seem much larger than it actually was. There are many modern-day uses for the Ha-Ha and we’d love to assist you in creating opportunities in your landscape to use this feature!
April 4th, 2013
As landscape designers, we are fortunate to have a wide variety of projects to work on. A style of projects that have really risen in the past five years has been aging care facilities and age in place facilities. We are expert at preparing plans for these types of facilites and have completed a alzheimer and vegetable gardens for these facilities. It is apparent with the research done with this article:
That there are only going to be more of these facilities. We know what drives the expansion and that is the aging population. We are expert at providing interpretive landscape designs for smell, feel and interpretation! We know what our elderly population can understand (as my grandmother recently entered an assisted living facility and we helped that facility redesign their courtyards and it really helped) and we know what our elderly population can feel, understand and smell. Theese are all very important when designing a alzheimers’ facility, a retirement facility, an assisted living facility!
These are all interesting propositions and we are able to assist the facility with the design and can understand the needs of the owners as well.
March 26th, 2013
Firma Design is proud to be working with Maureen Frances and the Petaluma Valley Rotary Club on their project refurbishing Walnut Park in the heart of Petaluma. Maureen and her club had been planning on refurbishing the landscape around the gazebo at Walnut Park last fall. Then, in December, the Veterans’ Memorial plaque was stolen from the park for an unknown reason, but presumably for the metals in the plaque. The plaque has not been found and during the holidays, the Petaluma community rallied around the plaque, the refurbishing project of Walnut Park and became fully committed to replacing the plaque. As you can see in this Argus-Courier article (http://www.petaluma360.com/article/20130325/COMMUNITY/130329897/1362/community?Title=New-life-for-old-plaque), Maureen is working on the finishing touches for the new plaque, the Rotary Club is working on fundraising for the landscaping and the community is fully behind this project.
We are honored to be involved in this project and look forward to seeing the finished plaque and attending the dedication on May 30, 2013, exactly 44 years after the first plaque was dedicated. If you live in Petaluma or area veteran, please support this project! You can get in contact with the Petaluma Valley Rotary Club at their website, http://www.petalumavalleyrotary.org/, or the Petaluma Historical Society at their website, http://www.petalumamuseum.com/.
March 19th, 2013
Dan Hughes, P.E.
Firma Design Group is pleased to announce that Dan Hughes, P.E., Director of Engineering has joined our team to continue the excellence in engineering our firm has been known to complete. Dan has over 12 years’ experience, the last several serving as a plan check engineer and senior engineer with the Cities of Mill Valley and Gilroy and prior to that as an owner with DVC Group and a Construction Manager with Delco Homes.
Dan joined Firma Design Group in 2012. As Director of Engineering for Firma Design Group, Dan is responsible for engineering oversight of the company and its 8 employees. Dan is responsible for Quality Assurance and Control and is the Engineer of Record for projects completed by the firm. Dan manages the engineering and office staff. Dan has been managing Waldo Point Harbor which is a 12 million dollar project that includes the management of a team of Architects, Civil, Structural and Geotechnical Engineers, Biologist, Planners and Landscape Architects
Firma Design Group works throughout the Bay Area, and are looking forward to bringing Jerry’s expertise to our projects, as well as to the many agencies we work with.
March 12th, 2013
Have you ever thought of rainwater harvesting? We have attached a great article here by Stormwater Magazine that goes through the pros and cons of Rainwater Harvesting. There is a lot to consider! Please ask us questions regarding your own situation or an opportunity to do so, we have designed many rainwater harvesting systems.