In 1985, Brad Dodge began his landscape career by working for a local East Bay nursery. Afterwards, he accumulated four years of practical experience working as a landscape laborer for a small landscape contractor. In 1990, Brad graduated with a B.S.L.A. in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Soon he was practicing as a Junior Land Planner and designing Large Residential Communities (844KB PDF) throughout undeveloped portions of Contra Costa County.
Between 1991-1992, Brad set out to do what he had originally studied: Landscape Architecture. The journey found him at several small and large Landscape Architecture offices within the San Francisco Bay Area. Eventually, he found his niche in the landscape field by working for a prominent residential Landscape Designer in Danville, California.
One of several projects (which included pools and BBQs) Brad had worked on were later featured in the famous Sunset Books [Sunset Pool Book Cover Shot- (3MB PDF)]. Brad Dodge remembers the excitement and business during this period:
"There were only 2 of us (the owner and myself) often designing upwards of 60-80 homes per year! The turn-around was extremely fast paced. For the first 4 years I drove my car everywhere-measuring houses. I'd return back to the office and draft what I had just measured-creating a 'Base Plan' to work from. Also, I'd answer the phone, run blueprints, deliver prints, meet with sub-contractors, draft and revise the owner's designs. Later, as my experience grew I was trusted with my own design projects and often presented the concepts to the clients. The best thing was seeing extraordinary landscape projects built-sometimes only within a month of the design's completion!"
8 years later, Brad felt his experience was of value elsewhere and desired to express his own unique design ideas independently. Also, he wanted a greater understanding of the practical construction side of large scale landscape projects.
"I found that my designs were beautiful, but sometimes "over the top"- budget wise. Sadly, a design service doesn't take much consideration regarding this issue. By working for a Design/Build Landscape Contractor, I improved my design skill and provided better service to my clients."
In 2000, Brad became the exclusive Landscape Designer working for a design/build landscape contractor in Pleasanton, Ca. Again, the emphasis was on medium to high-end residential and the installation of his designs. The highlight was the design of a turn-of-the-century styled 'Craftsman' swimming pool design in Alamo, CA that was selected by the CLCA (California Landscape Contractor's Association) as Best Residential Design of 2007- Trophy Award (Cast of Champions) (193KB JPEG).
"To say working for a landscape contractor was an eye-opener is an understatement. Professionals that are calling themselves a 'Landscape Architect' or even 'Designer' should have this experience on their resumes. All building materials, lighting, drainage, and plant type (size and quantity) are counted and determined right away by the client's budget. My employer (the contractor) had been in business for 25 years and had a particular way of doing business that served the homeowner's needs quite well. I wouldn't say that I found the experience limited my creativity. On the contrary, it was quite challenging because it required myself to become more aware of the elements within my designs and what design ideas really cost."
In 2009, the next big step for Brad was starting his very own landscape design service: Brad Dodge Designs. With over 24 years of experience in the field of residential landscape design. And, having worked with a multitude of talented Landscape Architects, Landscape Designers, Landscape Contractors, Civil Engineers, and savvy clients, Brad Dodge Designs is excited to bring his care and design skill to more Bay Area residents.