Coker Arboretum Irrigation Installation: A delicate touch for a Historic Garden.
Andrea Presler, the coker arboretum Curator from 1994 to 2002 has this to say about Ethan Shapiro and Laurdane Associates:
"The need for an automated irrigation system in the Coker Arboretum has long been recognized. For years, "Arb" staff have faced summer frustration, trying to water adequately with and inadequate system. The result has been that some areas of the Arboretum have recieved little or no water during summer droughts, severely affecting the health of the plants and morale of the staff. Despite these concerns, installing automated irrigation in the arboretum seemed a very complicated project that would require a conscientious and creative approach. And installing a new system seemed daunting - the trenches required for the installation could adversely affect the health of the trees if their roots were severed in the process. In fact, we feared that the installation itself could be more detrimental than drought to some of the very plants we were trying to save.
We knew that months of on-site reconnaissance, foresight and planning would be required to determine the best and safest routes for trenching. We knew that some areas of the Arboretum were so penetrated with tree rooots that there would be no easy way to lay irrigation lines from one end to the other. We also knew of old terra cotta drainage pipes that had never been adequately mapped, and of other obstacles, such as electric equipment. The obstacles were so overwhelming that a contract explicitly stating all concerns would be required. Such a contract would call for a contractor with the tenacity and foresight to pull off the project without damaging the trees or the site. We found that contractor in Ethan Shapiro.
"This is my 2nd irrigation system that Laurdane Assoc. has installed for me-what a great group of people to work with-I cannot recommend a better company. Ethan has ALWAYS been very courteous. knowledgeable. dependable, and very efficient. They are first rate in every aspect of the business. I will be glad to give my recommendations to anyone who wants to call me."
"It was a pleasant experience to have Ethan work on my irrigation project. He had my interests in mind, sketched out the detail design, explained all the functions and the benefits of the system, suggested the most economical option, and delivered and turn-key solution with the cost and schedule on target."
"I am extremely pleased with his* [*Antonio a longstanding Laurdane Tech.] work and found him to be very courteous and professional in all that he did. I would be happy to recommend both Ethan and Laurdane Associates to anyone needing your services."
"Thanks Ethan and Antonio for your prompt help in spite of the 100 degree heat."
"You do good work. You are reliable and pleasant."
"Thank you very much for the wonderful job you did explaining, redesigning, and repairing our home's irrigation system. Everything looks great with the
bare spots in the lawn seeded and new wiring hidden as you promised. We greatly appreciate the care taken in completing this job.
Thank you too for the integrity of your estimate in regards to hours of labor; we greatly appreciate the discount applied toward the total bill.
And please add me to your list of references."
Jane and Morris Weinberger
"We thank you for an excellent thorough job. We would be happy to serve as an enthusiastic reference for your future clients."
Bill and Donna Arendshorst
"Of all the people who work at our house, there is no one more diligent and personable than Antonio. In addition, he has made several
suggestions for improvements to our irrigation system that we appreciated."
"I just wanted to say what a nice job you and your guys did. They took such care to not block me in the garage and worked very quietly and neatly in adverse conditions. Thanks."
"I am writing to acknowledge and thank you for your professionalism, patience, and willingness to give the benefit of a doubt. Thank you. I very much appreciate the work you did for us, and I will always turn to you when we have similar needs."
I reviewed several potential irrigation contractors before making a decision. Most of the ones I spoke to were a bit hesitant to take on such and complicated and historic site. And though I received bids from several well-regarded contractors, I knew that some had invested more time than others in looking over the site and the contract.
When I first met Ethan, I knew almost instinctively that he was the person for the job. From the outset he thoroughly reviewed the conceptual design and walked over the site with a keen perception of the task before him. He took the time to gather preliminary information on-site before approaching the design. And he convinced me through his observations and research that he had the better and safer way of installing such an important and complicated system.
In his creative approach, Ethan took advantage of old irrigation lines as conduit to run the new lines, so that we had to do less trenching. He and his incredibly conscientious, hard-working, thoughtful and accommodating crew- Antonio, Eleazar, Germaine, Exal and Imeldo - hand-dug around tree roots where there was no possibility of trenching. I thoroughly enjoyed working with all of them and have complete respect and appreciation for their hard work.
And so I, the staff, and the plants offer a very heartfelt thank you to Ethan and the entire crew. We are very pleased that the irrigation is installed, but I am personally sad to see them move on the the next job. The Coker Arboretum will always embrace them for a job well done!"
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