Often, people will go into a home and will really love how it feels, but won't be able to pinpoint why. Many times, it has nothing to do with the size of the house. It has to do with the availability of and accessibility to the outside when they're inside. That's the magic of great architecture; that's what makes a house really livable. If you're in the remodeling business and you're not taking advantage of that, you're missing the boat.

Single-Source Approach McHale Landscape Design Inc. started more than 20 years ago as a landscape design/build company dedicated to the highest quality design and craftsmanship. The McHale brothers wanted to redefine the traditional model of a landscape company. Although landscaping is still an important part of the business, the single-source model has challenged the company over the years to develop additional services important to our client base. McHale has branched to become a multi-division, single-source design/build company encompassing landscape, masonry, maintenance, and full-blown construction.

Accountability, Flexibility Incorporating outdoor living and outdoor design into indoor construction and remodeling has become increasingly important to clients over the years. One of the benefits of having a landscape arm to your company is the value it allows you to place on customer service. Single-source responsibility means accountability. This helps customers focus on value, not price. It's so convenient for clients to have one point of contact rather than having to deal separately with a pool company, a landscaping company, masons, plumbers, electricians, and carpenters. It makes clients' lives simpler because they know their whole project is taken care of and who's taking care of it. In addition, the single source encourages a team approach with the client input and flexibility that today's clients appreciate.

Doable Segments Bringing the outdoors in need not cost a fortune — for you as a business owner or for clients. Designing a master plan and estimating the project in phases can break down a potentially overwhelming budget number into very “doable” segments to be implemented over a number of years. Many of our clients choose to adopt a one-, three-, or five-year plan for accomplishing their landscaping goals.

When clients are considering any remodeling project, the designer should always aim to create a relationship between the inside of the house and the outdoors with features like window walls, French doors, porches, and decks. Likewise, landscape architects and designers should always consider the “big picture,” ensuring that the investment made in outside projects such as landscape plantings, patios, pools, stone walls, water features, and outdoor kitchens has the opportunity to be appreciated inside the house. Each division feeds the other. This multifaceted approach leads to a constant source of referrals for each division.

In every major room in the house having an outside focus makes the house feel more comfortable. Whether it's a kitchen or a bedroom, family room or sunroom, having an outside focus can make the inside feel twice as big. When you bring the outside in, you extend the joy of a property. If you don't help customers see that, you're shortchanging them. And you're short-changing yourself on a steady revenue stream if you don't think outside the house. — Sandy Kerr, with more than 25 years of experience in the design/build industry, is a residential designer for McHale Design/Build, a division of McHale Landscape Design Inc.