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The Big One: 3 cheers for color

May 19, 2021 -  By

Location: Milwaukee
Company: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

This client is a major restaurant group with eight multilevel cafes in southeastern Wisconsin. David J. Frank Landscape Contracting manages the properties and installs more than 1,600 plants in 60 planters across the properties per season.

The client is a unique challenge for account manager Meridith Wagner, whose brother owns the restaurant group.

“I had to kind of warm them up to the idea,” she says about working with her brother and his business partners. “He has his thoughts and feelings about what he wants these restaurants to look like.”

The site’s challenges include installing seasonal flowers on multiple floors of the properties, a shortened growing season and the need to select plants that are less attractive to pollinators given the outdoor spaces are designed for food service. Wagner says she uses colorful vegetation, begonias, coleus and some tropical plants, including schefflera, crotons and philodendrons.

Wagner says her brother likes to have planters with full plants immediately, so Wagner and team use NewPro planters with removable inserts. Grower partners fill the planters and then crews install them in early May.

“What’s really nice about that is that we don’t make a mess while we’re there,” she says. “Because the plants are a lot bigger, by the time we install, nothing has really died off because of a spring cold night.”Crews have to carry everything they need to service the multilevels through the buildings. Patios open at 8 a.m. Crews work early hours to complete maintenance and watering.

This project earned David J. Frank a 2020 Bronze Award from the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Awards of Excellence program.

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

The client’s goal for this property was to create a feeling of “gezellig,” the Dutch word for an inviting atmosphere. David J. Frank uses colorful vegetation, begonias, coleus, schefflera, crotons and philodendrons.

 

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

This 24-inch planter with begonias makes a bold statement on the patio.

 

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Tropical plants play a key role in adding color to the outdoor spaces for this restaurant group.

 

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

David J. Frank uses NewPro planters, which have a removable insert to make for easier planting on-site in spring.

 

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Several of the properties include multiple levels.

 

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

To ensure planters are full and vibrant in spring, David J. Frank typically waits until mid-May to install all seasonal color.

 

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Crews water these ‘Henna’ coleus, golden creeping Jenny, ‘Silver Falls’ dichondra, ‘Whopper’ begonias and licorice vine plants in a cycle to prevent dripping on patrons.

 

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Crews transport materials through the restaurants discreetly and carry it to the patios on the upper levels at all eight locations.

 

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Large 4-by-4-foot planters separate social areas while smaller orange planters on wheels break up tables.

 

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

To create a relaxing atmosphere, crews layered plants next to a four-lane roadway.

 

 

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

This inviting tropical beer garden is a great place to enjoy a cold Schofferhofer hefeweizen beer among the schefflera.

 

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

‘Dragon Wing’ begonias, ‘Mammy’ croton and ivy create a vibrant combination at the entrance to this site.

 

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting

The colorful curb appeal created by the David J. Frank team is hard to miss and plays a key role in attracting customers and branding the client’s cafés.

Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the editor of Landscape Management magazine. Known for her immersive approach to travel from coast to coast in her previous stint as senior editor of American Fruit Grower Magazine, she uses social media (Twitter/Instagram @EditorHerrick) to share her experiences on the road with her audience. Herrick has a degree in journalism from Ohio Northern University and has been in B2B publishing for seven years. She can be reached at cherrick@northcoastmedia.net.

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