Welcome to the team Tony!

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We are excited to introduce you to the newest landscape designer on our team, Tony Swann. Tony first started working for Meeks Design Group as an intern in the fall of 2018 and continued to work remotely while he completed his final year of schooling. After Tony graduated, we were happy to find a full time position to add him to our staff. He has been an asset to our team since he started and we are thrilled to have him with us!

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Tony Swann graduated from Texas Tech University in May 2019 with a bachelors degree in Landscape Architecture. He chose to pursue a degree in the field after visiting both this department as well as the architecture school at Tech. “I immediately knew I wanted to study Landscape Architecture after the warm welcome from all the current students and professors.” The aspect of the initial conceptual design, modification of features and implementation of certain amenities capture his attention. Renderings are also an exciting aspect of the design for him. Tony grew up in Colleyville, Texas and loves playing golf, spending time with his dog and cheering on the Tech Raiders.

Welcome to the team Tony!

Flexible Work Environment

Flexible Work Environments At mdg

Work environment is an essential aspect of your team dynamic. In a positive space, you  can fuel the creativity of the staff and provide them with a place where they enjoy spending their workdays. Here at Meeks Design Group, Inc. we pride ourselves in finding ways to continually improve our work-life balance. Over the past several years, we have established work guidelines to support working from home, from other cities, flex hours to provide a shortened Friday work day, and flex time to allow our staff to miss the traffic by shifting start and end times as needed . As our team dynamic grows and changes, our flexibility to help meet the needs of our staff grows with it.

We started off several years ago when Clayton was looking to move closer to family in Arkansas. He has been working remotely for the past few years and comes to Texas only as the need arises. The stressful commute is gone and he was able to create the space that works best for his style. “Even though you spend just as much (sometimes even more) time working from home than you would in an office, you still feel like you are closer to your private life than before. The work/life balance improves a lot,” Clayton says. There are a few struggles that come along with working from home like the lack of in person communication and connection struggles, but the benefits significantly outweigh the costs! We also have our second office manager, Amberley set up to work remotely as well. Her husbands job took them away from Texas. To keep a valuable staff member as a part of our team, it was crucial to take advantage of the available technology once again. We knew she would be returning to Texas within a year or so and we wanted to have her come back to work full time, thus the ability to change her work place quickly and easily has been incredibly beneficial.

Additionally, our office hours changed several years ago to allow the benefits of a shortened workday once a week. Adding a little extra time to our Monday through Thursday schedule, we are able to close the office down at 3pm on Fridays. Due to this simple adjustment, employees are able to enjoy more time with family and friends and get a head start on their weekend. Everyone has obviously enjoyed the shortened Friday work day, as it is now our standard schedule.

Being able to nimbly adjust work schedules and work locations when necessary, we have been able to accommodate new employees  we would not have been able to hire previously. It has given more freedom to the employees and has helped boost team morale. There is a lot of trust needed when planning a work from home situation to make sure productivity and availability is still met. Our team has done a phenomenal job at taking this responsibility seriously.

We have been so glad that technology and flexibility has played in our favor to give more freedom to our employees and allowing us to keep great staff with us even when life takes them to other locations!

The Samaritan Inn Playground

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Our newest project is one in which we are very humbled and proud to have played a part. Through the thoughtful gift of a generous donor, we were able to collaborate with Kraftsman Playgrounds to develop a shaded playground  and outdoor fitness area for the newly built Samaritan Inn residence campus. Located in Mckinney, Texas, this project opened in the Spring of 2019.

“The Samaritan Inn is more than just a place to spend the night. It is a comprehensive program that teaches self-sufficiency and life skills to meet the needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. We help willing people gain dignity and independence. On a given night, approximately 160 people sleep at the Inn, of which 1 of 3 are children.” The Samaritan Inn

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The playground was designed as an area for children and families alike to enjoy fun and fresh air outdoors. Since the climate in Texas can be hot during the summer months, we wanted to make sure there was coverage for the children and plentiful seating as well.

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Another feature that was included is the outdoor fitness area. This is a wonderful place for guests staying at The Samaritan Inn to come work on their fitness goals while socializing with fellow neighbors and friends.

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When designing both features on The Samaritan Inn campus, we wanted to create comfortable and functional spaces for families to feel more at home. These amenities should provide enjoyable use to residents for years to come.

 

Meet the Interns

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 Over the last year we have had the pleasure of hosting four interns. Getting to train and mentor them is an honor that we are thankful to have the opportunity to do. This spring we have welcomed two young men to our team and are excited to introduce you to them.

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IMG_6131Connor Jones is a student studying landscape architecture at Texas Tech University and is graduating in the summer of 2020. He was drawn to study landscape architecure because of his desire to work in the field of environmental preservation and sustainable architecture. When looking at the process of creating a project, the conceptual design phase is Connor’s favorite part. “It’s where I really get to be creative in site design and explore potential ideas and solutions.”  In his free time he enjoys hiking and playing disc golf.

“Connor is a smart kid and very enthusiastic about design. He is very creative and has a strong desire to learn all aspects of how our profession works. Always willing to help without hesitation!” -Landy Orama-

Temo Zaragoza

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Temo Zaragoza is also a student at Texas Tech University studying landscape architecture, graduating in the summer of 2020. He chose to go into the field to create a space that makes people as excited as he gets when visiting a place for the first time. When working on a project, his favorite part is seeing all of the decisions that were made along the way come together to create a space for everyone to enjoy. On his days off, Temo enjoys exploring new places. He loves hopping in his car and finding someplace he hasn’t been before. “I think it is a great way to learn new things and get inspired.”

“Temo has strong design presentation and graphic abilities. He has an impeccable attention to detail on how a design will both function and remain aesthetically pleasing. Great team member and always there to lend a hand.” -Landy Orama-

Connor and Temo’s time with us is coming to an end and we are excited to watch them grow in their last year at school. They have a bright future is ahead of them and it was an honor getting to mentor them this semester.

Intern Program

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The education process landscape architecture students follow is a blend of classroom study, studio design work, historical context interplay with current standards provided by intensive study of past work through slides, photos, and other exhibits, and internships.  At Meeks Design Group, we take pride in working with students in our internship program every year.

Internship involves the student working directly with a professional landscape architect, in an office setting.  Required by most schools, these internships range from 6 month studies abroad, to 3 and 6 month programs with local or regional landscape firms.  The student is introduced to the day to day operations of a real firm by: working with the team leader on current projects, learning to work with understand and interpret city and state codes, participate in design work, and complete details, redlines, and other various and sundry drawing items.  The full scope of the day to day work handled by a full time designer is offered for the student to see, question, and learn from.

For the firm, the internship program provides a range of benefits.  One benefit is having a staff member to produce the final drawing packages. This includes the drawing/compiling of details, completing the redline process all drawings go through, and the other tasks that are the baseline tasks for each project.  While these tasks may seem mundane, they are uniquely valuable in the instructional process for the student.  Teaching how a design goes from a schematic line drawing, through the presentation stage, all the way through detailing to responses to RFI’s and ASI’s. This is an incredibly critical element of the profession that is rarely touched on in the school setting.

Also of importance to the firm is more of a thought process than a real production one. Providing the guidance, teaching new skills and understandings of the depth of the profession, is a responsibility the Landscape Architect and the professional firm should never take lightly.  To guarantee the continued excellence of the future landscape architect, the professional must share the knowledge learned through years of practice.  Without this exposure, the student will come into the profession blind to the realities of the tasks that are to be undertaken, with the potential for the new professional becoming discouraged with what is so totally different than the school setting provides as to lead them to leaving the profession.  It is imperative for the firm to provide this important element schools are not equipped to provided.

Finally, this is a tremendous opportunity to get the firm name out to potential new staff. Introducing the students to who your firm is, what your firm does, what you offer as salary and benefits, thus leading to the best and brightest coming to you for employment opportunities.  New ideas and skill sets are the lifeblood of any firm, especially with the technology improvements being seen in the production of the final product.  Hiring a new graduate often sparks the staff to look at new ideas, new materials, and new ways to solve old problems as they introduce the new staff into the work process.

Internship is a uniquely valuable part of the landscape architecture office.  Students learn the real work while getting paid. They then go back to school with a better understanding of the profession they will soon be a real part of. The firm has young staff to handle many of the more routine tasks, has access to new computer skills, and welcomes new ideas and energy into the firm.  It is a benefit to all involved, helping to maintain the high standards of the profession. Over the last year we have housed four interns and look forward to keeping our doors open for more interns in the future.

Junction Crossing: Completed Project

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We reviewed Junction Crossing Apartments during the preliminary design phase in a recent post, using stills from our Lumion prepared video.  As is quite normal, many aspects of the project changed from that post to the completed project.  This piece will review the final apartment complex.

Junction Crossing, a high-end apartment project north of Ft. Worth in Keller, Texas, is a stunning example of the owner providing funding for a long list of over the top amenities. These include a 12,000 square foot dog park, a half-mile walking/jogging trail and a three level, multi-area mega pool.  There is also a playground, a fire pit, and a beautifully constructed retention pond.

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For a project such as this, a striking pool is a must.  This magnificent feature includes three levels, each with a different designated use. Waterfalls, an infinity edge, raised planters, and a splash pad complete the pool amenity, ensuring there is something fun for everyone.  The adjacent clubhouse has a fire place inside an enclosed tower, a second floor multipurpose room, and a full work out room, all facing the pool.  A nearby fire pit puts the final touch on this cozy gathering place. 

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The massive dog park is unique for a project of this type.  First, it’s size alone sets it apart from other residential dog parks.  On average, an apartment dog park is 500 square feet.  This one is over 12,000 square feet!  It is divided into two separate a sections, one for larger dogs and one for smaller dogs.  There is also a full-service dog wash in an adjacent building.  The entry area into each section has a bench, a trash receptacle, and a leash post.  There will ultimately be a series of dog exercise stations in each area.

 A half-mile walking/jogging trail runs through the front section of the site.  Winding through nearly an acre of gently rolling berms, the trail, made of compacted decomposed granite, is a welcome addition to the health-conscious tenant.  The path is well-lit and completely fenced inside the complex, allowing for use at any time.

Finally, the detention pond, normally a second thought area, is quite unique.  With large native limestone boulders forming the walls, a multi-level, heavily planted service ramp, and a multi-tiered fountain, it is not the normal pond.  It is quite an extravagant focal feature.

Junction Crossing, from preliminary design through final construction, was an exciting and challenging project. It’s numerous unique elements forced our landscape architects to think and create outside the box. With all of the pieces that remained in the final project, it is a stunning addition to the portfolio of Meeks Design Group, Inc.

 

 

Junction Crossing: Prospective Rendering

 

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Junction Crossing is a garden style apartment living center in Keller, Texas. We were asked to design the project and create perspective renderings to be used for marketing materials. Landy Orama created the renderings based off the initial design done by Meeks Design Group.

Having renderings created for a project before the completion of a project is very useful to give potential residents a feel for what living there will be like. Being able to present a visual of how the finished complex will look helps show their property to customers.

Below you can see how Landy created a day and night version of the pool. Seeing the pool in different settings creates a more realistic experience for both our clients and potential residents.

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He also designed several different views of the pool area for our client to use.

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This arial view gives a full picture of  the poolscape, including the lounging and the grill areas.

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We are  thrilled to offer these unique renderings to accompany the projects we are design for our clients. We will be sharing the completed project with you soon!

 

Land Development: Highland Meadows

Land development is a key area we focus on at Meeks Design Group, Inc. Our team takes a bare tract of land and designs it into a neighborhood with stunning entry features, enjoyable amenity areas, and beautiful landscaping to create an idllic community.

Today we are sharing one of our projects that was completed in 2006, Highland Meadows in Seagoville, Texas.

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The entry feature for the community center fits into the  elements by using natural stone, keeping a consistent look to the club house design. It also has a combination of sharp and smooth lines with subtle script, allowing it to stand out without taking away from the surroundings.

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One of the amenities created for Highland Meadows is the children’s play area. This structure was created to give space for both younger and older children to play. The color scheme chosen for the playground was natural and warm tones.

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In the younger children’s play area, we created a canopy designed to protect little ones from the heat of Texas. It was also important to make sure the playground’s informative signs were properly placed for maximum visibility.

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For the older children’s play area, we selected play equipment with coverings attached to the main structure instead of a canopy. Choosing the right colors allowed us to keep a harmonious look with two different styles of sun protection.

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Another design feature we implemented into the project was the community pool. The landscaping around the pool was created to withstand heat and blend with the design of the neighborhood. Stone was used in the pool fence design to match the clubhouse and entry sign.

When designing pools, it is important to keep in mind who will be using this amenity. This neighborhood pool would be used by families and would need to have a flow that encompasses all ages. The design we went with was an open  concept, keeping the area between  the children’s splash pad and the main pool visible by all. Creating a pool that is both functional and stylish is always a challenge and we are thrilled with how this one turned out!

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We take pride in our designs and are glad to share them with you. We look forward to sharing more of our projects with you!

Our team has expanded

Meeks Design Group, Inc. has been growing! We have added two new landscape designers to our team. We pride ourselves in the quality employees we find when we expand our team and are excited to announce our two newest members!

Garrett Blackwell

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Garrett Blackwell graduated from Texas Tech University in May of 2017 with a BLA. He started with MDG, Inc. in June of 2017. Garrett discovered his passion for architecture during high school and chose landscape as his route because of his love for outdoors. His favorite part of the design process is when the final design is decided upon after trying out other potential ideas or solutions. “It’s the epiphany of what should be built,” he says.

 

 Matthew Thomas

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 Matthew Thomas graduated from Texas Tech University in May of 2011 with a BLA. He started with MDG, Inc.in February of 2018. Matt began his career in architecture but along the way found that he enjoyed designing the outdoor landscape rather than the actual structure. His favorite part of the design process is the final outcome, being able to see how people interact and use the space that was created. He also takes these finished projects as learning opportunities for ways to do things differently for the future, creating upon what he has seen to be successful.

Welcome to the team Garrett and Matthew.

Perspective Renderings: A great way to step ahead in the Marketing Game Part 1

Our world is ever changing and the world of marketing and advertising is changing along with it. In a place where social media and instant gratification is key, it is imperative that Meeks Design Group incorporates these changes into our business model.

We now have an exciting product that allows your new project to stay ahead of the game by promoting it with a perspective rendering. Imagine being able to show  clients a digital video of how the the job site will look !

A perspective rendering is a 2D and 3D model of what your finished product will look like. This will allow your customers to have a tangible concept in which they can picture themselves.

Landy Orama is our design manager of perspective renderings. He is very talented at taking a subjective image and turning it into a tangible still shot and video.

Today we are showing off the still images of one of our recent perspective renderings designed by Landy.

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The Enclave at Mira Lagos is an apartment complex in Grand Prairie, Texas that was designed by owner Herbert Meeks. The rendering was paired with the project for the client to show how the final outcome will look. The entry sign is stunning with vivid colors making it really stand out.

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Perspective renderings can also include digital “people” to give a real life feel to the project.

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Apartment complexes rely on their amenities to sell their property as the place to be. Allowing customers to get a glimpse at what the features will look like, such as the pool, will help them relate to the property.

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Including an image like this, prospective tenants will have an idea of how their apartment complex will look.

Perspective renderings are a new feature that we can offer  clients. We feel that they are a step ahead for clients marketing  needs.  We are excited to move forward with more renderings in the future.

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