Designer Dan Lee likes DIYers Email
Written by Becky Garber-Godi   
Tuesday, February 08, 2022 03:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

“HGTV drove people to want curb appeal and it gave them permission to do projects themselves,” says Black Forest Landscape Design’s owner Dan Lee. For 20 years, what he calls the “cultural phenomenon of HGTV” has powered his business. Up to 75% of the homeowners for whom Lee provides consults and landscape designs do all or part of the work themselves.

Among fellow licensed landscape architects, Lee thrives on a market niche most designers might not consider. But a strong connection exists between him and his clients during and following their projects. They send him photos weekly while work is in progress and even years later. And they are loyal and repeat clients. In 2021, Lee found that about 60% of his clients were returns from people he served during 2002 to 2012 as original clients or their children or parents.

Lee says he has been somewhat surprised by this long-term loyalty. “I thought it would be one and done--but during the last couple years, people are doing more with their site or moving on to another home.” For one client, Lee has provided designs for three consecutive homes.

Throughout the process, much of Lee’s time will be on site. His work begins with hand measuring and surveying the property. “Onsite visits show what Google Earth photos won’t show you--like what’s under trees or where the windows are.”  When installation starts, he’s back on site consulting with honeowners, flagging trees and shrubs to transplant, and making sure any contractors hired understand the plan.

Perhaps it is Lee’s attention to these details that has built long-term loyalty. “For people in smaller homes,” he says, “their yard is everything to them, even if they don’t have a lot to work with. They appreciate someone caring about their landscape.” Lee’s DIY niche has rewarded him with satisfied clients and an ongoing source of work.

Learn more in the March/April issue of Colorado Green magazine.

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