It’s easy to take one look at a stunning outdoor living space created by Sherwood Landscape, Lighting & Design—complete with an outdoor kitchen, a firepit and even a water feature— and be amazed by the magnificence of it all.
But it’s actually the small details within the grand visions and elaborate plans that often bring the project to fruition.
“We’ve grown so much since our business started over 25 years ago, and every year our attention to detail gets better and better,” says Mark Marias, owner and senior landscape designer at Sherwood. “It’s the small things that matter when we’re building these outdoor rooms. The details are what make the customers keep coming back, and that is what gets lost in our industry.”
Sherwood’s attention to detail is evident in every step of the process, from the minute the customer schedules a free estimate. Many of the staff members have been with the company for more than 15 years, and it shows in the consistency and the effort.
“I have amazing managers and a great staff,” Marias says. “From the time a customer calls and speaks on the phone to Lisa Pagano—who is very friendly and detailed— our service never stops until the project is done. We do what we have to do to make the client happy.”
Sherwood offers landscaping services such as annual mulching and property cleanup, and in the winter they provide snow removal and salting services. But their real specialty is the design and installation of outdoor living spaces.
These spaces usually include patios built with natural stone or man-made pavers, raised sitting walls, outdoor kitchens and more. Customized LED lighting and fire features allow the homeowners to use the area at night and well past the summer months.
“Whenever I’m designing, I try to create each area like an indoor room that happens to be outside,” Marias says. “We’re also really skilled at creating and installing rustic areas and using materials that look worn. We’ve been doing a lot of work in Medford Lakes, where log cabins are common.”
Whatever type of project it is, Sherwood is focused on delivering the exact space that the homeowner envisioned at the start. Marias hand draws a detailed, aerial view of the project so the clients clearly know what to expect.
“I went to school years ago for CAD and we have a CAD system, but I’ve created my own unique way of design,” he says. “Nine times out of 10 when I first meet the customer, they say they can’t visualize anything. But everything I do is hand drawn and everything from the fire area to the floors to the cooking area is shown in a much more detailed design than your typical landscape design. We really get into detail, because if someone is going to make a big investment in their home, they want to know that we’re going to be exact and precise.”
Customers can rest easy knowing that just a reasonable deposit is due when their contract is signed, with payments made weekly throughout the installation. They can also take comfort in the fact that the same crew will stay on the job until it is complete, and will never be diverted elsewhere.
“Once a project starts, that crew is on the project until it is complete,” Marias says. “You’ll never hear that crew say, ‘We can’t come tomorrow because we have to go to Mrs. Smith’s house.’ My guys are extremely dedicated and they work hard.”
Pagano, who has a background in photography, takes professional pictures for each job throughout the duration. Upon completion, she presents the homeowners with a binder with a photo of the finished outdoor space on the cover and all of the important information about the project and warranties.
“It’s a book about your project and it’s beautiful,” Marias says.
Pictures and videos are also posted on Facebook and Houzz.com throughout the process, so clients’ friends and family, or other people interested in having a similar installation done, can follow along. A video of Sherwood’s latest project received more than 4,000 views in less than a week.
“That pushes us,” Marias says. “We want to do an amazing job for the customer and we want to show the world what we’re doing.”
Again, it’s this attention to detail that distinguishes Sherwood from its competitors. For example, a recent client was having her wedding at her home and had a short window to have a hardscaping job done in the front yard. Sherwood delivered a beautiful space on time for her big day.
Another client had tile from his childhood home that held sentimental value, and Sherwood was able to use the tile on his new patio.
“It’s the little things like that that make the customer happy,” Marias says. “This is a really tough business, but once a project comes to life, I really enjoy my job. It’s very rewarding.”
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 6 (August, 2017).
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