I am the project manager and lead gardener/landscaper of D.I.R.T. Works, the residential division of Charlottesville-based D.I.R.T. Studio. My sister Julie is the principal of D.I.R.T. Studio, an award-winning landscape architecture firm that works primarily on large, industrial sites (URBAN Outfitters corporate campus in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the Ford River Rouge plant in Detroit, and others). Working with Julie and one other partner, Edward Thomas—a stone-mason, carpenter, gardner, and painter with a degree in Architecture from UVA—D.I.R.T. Bomb provides design and installation services, as well as meticulous weekly maintenance with great care and attention to detail. With Julie’s considerable design talent and horticultural expertise—and not to mention, Edward’s artistic eye—D.I.R.T. Works has experience with small- to medium-sized design-build jobs that may incorporate landscape design, planting, grading, drainage, hardscaping, raised-bed or small greenhouse construction, and more. In other words, clients may hire D.I.R.T. Works for jobs of just about any size and scope.
D.I.R.T. Works is highly personalized. We meet with prospective clients to assess their needs and desires, and create a timeline and checklist to complete the work. With more than 50 years’ combined experience in horticulture, landscaping, landscape design, carpentry, stonework, and fine art, we bring a unique set of skills and point-of-view to every job. We love digging in and making landscapes look great. We believe in the health benefits of gardening and working outside. We revel in creating and/or maintaining gardens that are beautiful to behold, ecologically sound (we do not use chemical pesticides or herbicides, for the safety of family pets as well as the natural well-being of our clients and the earth). We consider ourselves stewards of the land—meaning, our clients’ property and gardens—and we take great pride in doing work that is the polar opposite of landscaping teams who "cut, blow, and go." Doing a job well, and with the utmost care and safety, gives us great satisfaction, and we enjoy creating outdoor spaces that improve our clients’ quality of life. We are affable, reliable, economical, and easygoing. We enjoy a good working relationship with our clients, and consider them not just employers but also collaborators.
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After an initial site visit and detailed discussion of a proposed project, we work up a preliminary sketch, scope, timeline, and budget. If we enter into an agreement with a client, we then go into greater depth and detail about the project, making adjustments per the client’s wishes and our professional judgment. The process is collaborative and iterative; we have learned that flexibility and open-mindedness are important to completing a project successfully. We love our work and gain a great sense of satisfaction when a client participates in the process (by providing feedback and guidance, not by doing hard labor!). Our process is transparent and we are happy to make adjustments on the fly as we work toward completing a job.