RCI hired for new renovations at LSU’s Student Rec Center

RCI is proud to be a part of another exciting project at LSU, the renovation and additions to the Student Recreation Center. RCI installed the 8,314 sf. lazy river that includes three tanning shelves with a tanning shelf water feature, a multi-lane lap pool, the pool deck, the indoor pool, pavers, and perimeter sidewalks.

Grace Hebert Architects’s video gives a fantastic overview of the beautiful work that’s being done for this project.

LSU Rec Center

RCI begins work on the LSU Nicholson Gateway project

RCI is proud to be a part of an exciting project currently underway at LSU. The Nicholson Gateway will transform the Nicholson Drive Corridor by creating student housing, athletic housing, retail, a Tiger Athletic Nutrition Center, game day parking and more, along what has traditionally been the back end of campus.  For a complete scope of the project, click here. 

The project is currently in its construction phase, and last week, RCI began the installation of the irrigation and landscaping, which includes over 6000 square feet of decorative pavers, 31 large stately Live Oaks, over 4400 shrubs, and over 25,500 ground cover plants.

Because the space will be used for a variety of purposes – including the heavy traffic of game day parking and graduation festivities – RCI is using custom soil mixes and TrueGrid reinforced mulch to accommodate varying site conditions and to protect the existing Oak trees.

RCI is looking forward to helping to turn the Nicholson Drive Corridor into an exciting new district.

Increasing your business’ success through commercial landscaping

When it comes to your business, your landscaping shouldn’t be an afterthought or something you skimp on. In fact, with the right design and plants, landscaping can send the right message to your customers – and even help to increase revenue.

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Landscaping is functional.   Landscaping is a balance of form and function, and landscaping that directs people to your entrance is an easy – but often overlooked – benefit to landscaping.  Tall trees and bright flowers can tell customers that it’s time to turn into your business.  Pavers and walkways can direct them to your front door.  Bold elements like fountains can make a huge statement and serve an important function.  Use landscaping as a tool to direct your customers to the right place.

Landscaping creates an inviting space.  The right landscaping can encourage your customers to linger a little longer at your business, and who wouldn’t want that?  Restaurants and hospitality businesses have success with mixing in seating, winding paths, or inviting fire and water features to create a comfortable, relaxing environment.

Landscaping is an extension of your brand.  Companies spend time selecting their brand’s colors, slogans, and logos, but landscaping can also be a part of your company’s image.  Green companies can elect for sustainable design and plants that are native to their region.  Modern, edgy salons or restaurants can use geometric shapes in their landscaping or plants that turn heads.

Landscaping enhances your building’s architecture. The right landscaping enhances – and doesn’t compete or conflict – with your building’s architecture.  Use plants, lighting, and hardscapes to accentuate the classical or modern elements of your building.  Be careful not to overdo it or choose conflicting styles. For example, a building with traditional architecture should have classic landscaping elements, not anything modern or edgy.

To save time and money over the long term, hire a professional landscaping company from the start to design, install, and maintain your landscaping.  When done correctly, landscaping can become an important part of your business’ plan for success.

Beautiful, lush Spring flowerbeds start now

You notice them every year.  Rows and rows of lush, Spring flowers that seem to fill entire flowerbeds or pots.  Desiring the same look, you go to your local nursery and buy flats of annuals in April.  Unfortunately, Louisiana’s heat kills off any chance you have of achieving that same look.  What did you do wrong?snapdragons

The truth is, a lot of the annuals we see right now were planted in late Fall, Winter, or right now at the very latest.  These cool-season flowers are actually hardy down to about 20 degrees, so they can survive – and even thrive – through the Winter.  By planting early, gardeners ensure that the plants’ root systems have time to mature, creating those mounding rows of beautiful color in Spring.

Ready to act? It’s too late for seeds, so browse the selection of cool-season transplants at your local nursery.   According to the LSU Ag Center, the best for our region include: Alyssum, annual baby’s breath, annual candytuft, annual phlox, bachelor’s button, calendula, delphinium, dianthus, diascia, dusty miller, English daisy, forget-me-not, foxglove, geranium, hollyhock, larkspur, nemisia, nemophila, nicotiana, ornamental cabbage and kale, pansy, petunia, poppies, snapdragon, statice, stock, sweet pea, toadflax and viola.

A few of these plants are somewhat more heat tolerant, so you may be able to get more life out of them.  Select alyssum, dusty miller, petunia, or snapdragons to have a look that could last in the warmer months of late Spring.  However, by April or May, you’ll want to transition to warmer-season bedding plants that will thrive throughout the heat of Summer.

Tips for Hiring an Arborist

Spring showers – and their accompanying strong winds – may be doing a number on your home’s trees.  Unfortunately, the days after a strong storm can be a time when door-knockers look to make a quick buck by asking if they can “trim” your trees.  If your trees could use a tending to, keep these parameters in mind:

arborist examining a tree

How to hire an arborist

  • Only hire a licensed arborist.  The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry website lists the licensed arborists in Louisiana by parish.  Double-check that your door-knocker is licensed before letting them touch your trees.
  • Be wary of any “promotions” or time-sensitive deals they may offer you, like if you sign an agreement today, they’ll reduce their fee.  They may just be looking to make a quick buck.
  • Ask to see a copy of their insurances.  Imagine an uninsured person climbing your home’s roof to get a better look at your tree.  Suddenly, they slip on a loose shingle, fall, and end up suing you for their medical expenses.  Or, they could end up trimming a huge limb that comes crashing into your window, something for which you’d want them to have personal and property damage coverage.
  • Make sure that their insurance coverage is current. Ask for a copy and call their insurance company to double check.
  • Don’t let anyone climb your tree with spiked shoes.  Each groove they make will damage your tree.

Follow these rules, and you’ll protect the life of your trees and ensure their health for future years to come.

OWA project marks RCI’s return to amusement park landscape

By this summer, Foley, Ala. is set to become even more of a magnet for the Gulf Coast.  The much-anticipated OWA, a new theme-based family destination, is set to open just 7 miles from the Gulf Coast beaches that currently draw crowds to the area.  The sprawling project includes retail, dining, entertainment, a 90,000 sq. ft. indoor event space, a 150-room Marriott hotel, and an extensive amusement park with over 20 rides, and that’s just Phase One.

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RCI building out one of the many fountains planned for OWA

RCI has served as a design-assist on the project since May 2016.  Currently, RCI is on-site in Foley and is responsible for the landscape installation, irrigation, decorative paving, and custom planter fences across the project’s 520 acres.  They have a lot of ground to cover – literally – and are doing so with over 56,000 ornamental shrubs and ground cover and over 1,200 trees and evergreen shrubs.

In a recent interview with GulfCoastNewsToday.com, OWA spokeswoman Kristin Hellmich spoke of the project’s landscaping, saying, “Something of note in this project is the entire area will have lots of green space and landscaping… It’s going to be very lush, lots of natural plants and tree materials will be used to help regulate the temperatures.”

RCI will also coordinate the installation of the park’s fountains – some of which are interactive.  Featuring travertine coping and brick finishes, these fountains allow park visitors to interact with the water jets with a wave of their hand.  In addition, another 24,000 sq. ft. of fountain surface is planned for underneath the park’s rollercoaster.  As riders propel through the rollercoaster’s loops, synchronized water jets will shoot up to greet them.

OWA marks a welcomed return to amusement park landscapes for RCI.   From 1989 to 1993, RCI earned a multi-million dollar landscape contract for Disney, a project that earned them the highest landscape honor awarded by then First Lady Hillary Clinton for the best commercial landscape in the U.S. in 1992.  RCI then went on to complete landscaping for Jazzland and later Six Flags in New Orleans. RCI continues to participate in notable projects throughout the southeast, having recently completed the University Medical Center in New Orleans, the Golden Nugget Casino and Resort in Lake Charles and the state of the art VA Medical Center in New Orleans as well.

“We are excited to be involved  in a project like OWA that places such a high value on the landscape and recognizes its importance to the overall guest experience,” stated RCI President Keith Rotolo.

More information about OWA, including plans for Phase Two and beyond, can be found at VisitOWA.com.

New Year’s Resolutions for Gardening

If you’re among the 50 percent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, consider making 2017 the year you improve your gardening skills.  Gardening as a hobby can have lasting health benefits, like increasing the amount of vegetables you eat, reducing your stress, and increasing your level of activity.  Financially, improving your home’s landscaping can also add value to your property.  Whether you’re new to gardening or not, now’s the time to break out the pad and paper and plan what your landscape will look like this year.  Need some inspiration?  Start with these resolution ideas.

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Gardening Resolution Ideas

  • I will focus on planting not only annuals in the Spring and Summer but also Fall and Winter landscape plants.
  • I will consult a landscape designer about enhancing some of my current landscape.
  • I will take care of the trees on my property by assessing their needs and hiring an arborist to do any trimming.
  • I will try my hand at planting a vegetable garden, or adding a new vegetable to my list of ones I already grow.
  • I will boost my soil through composting kitchen scraps and yard trimmings, instead of throwing away those nutrients.
  • I will consult my plants’ labels about what sunlight and soil conditions they prefer, instead of planting flowers where I want them to go.
  • I will spend more time in my garden and backyard, whether by eating outdoors more or dedicating time each week to the care of my plants.

What gardening resolution are you making this year?  Share with us on our Facebook page.

RCI in the Community: Operation Christmas Baskets 2016 Kicks Off in Memphis

Soulful Memphis: Operation Christmas Baskets 2016 kicked off Friday Dec 16, 2016.  Started as a way to help families in need during the holiday season, this year marked the 20th year for the initiative.  Overall, a total of 5300 baskets were passed out to families in need in the area.

This year, RCI’s team of volunteers assisted in unloading food trucks and assembling and distributing over 500 baskets of food at City View Tower, various area homes for seniors, and local churches in the Orange Mound area of Memphis.

This also marks the first year that RCI was a sponsor and participated in the assembly and passing out of food baskets, along with Memphis City Mayor Jim Strickland, Gayle Rose of Team Max, Memphis Grizzlies NBA Basketball team members, Fed Ex, Kroger Food Stores, and Walmart.

Working side by side with the City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and staff from the Senior Citizen home, the initiative continued on Saturday, Dec. 17 as well.  On that day, a total of 3000 food baskets were assembled and distributed.

RCI was proud to be a part of the day and thanks the RCI volunteers who gave of their time for the initiative!

View more photos on our Facebook page

RCI Named Among 2016 Awards of Excellence by the National Association of Landscape Professionals

(Slidell, LA) – Rotolo Consultants, Inc. has been named a recipient of the 2016 Awards of Excellence by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). This honor recognizes us for outstanding commercial landscaping on our recent work for the University Medical Center in New Orleans.

University Medical Center 10 University Medical Center 14 University Medical Center 15 University Medical Center 16 University Medical CenterUniversity Medical Center is a newly-constructed hospital and medical campus in New Orleans’ budding downtown medical corridor.   RCI installed a landscaping and hardscaping package that /has created a peaceful, tranquil environment for the patients. This project consisted of a 16-square block area with multiple buildings and multiple objectives, including emergency rooms, in-patient treatment areas, and Level 1 trauma centers.  The design team was tasked with creating different settings for each environment, while primarily focusing on practicality and creating a relaxing setting in which patients could recover.

Challenges

The site was surcharged with 3’ of native river-sand, which created challenges in only being able to access certain job site areas at certain times.  The site was also very compact due to the size of the project and made access and installation difficult while working around various trades.  Being located in an urban area, existing buildings that were to remain needed visual screening.

Solutions

To create a tranquil atmosphere, contemporary, zen water features were included throughout the property, which featured beautiful black granite, river rocks, and natural wood elements.  To complete installation, RCI had over 80 employees on site at times to meet deadlines.  To screen existing buildings, taller, privacy hedges and fencing with creeping vegetation were implemented. In addition, planting and lighting that did not create any visual barriers were utilized to protect security’s visual on the open courtyards.  Lastly, due to the urban environment, hardy and lower maintenance plants were designed for these urban edges.

Water Features

RCI built seven different water features within the hospital entrance, consisting of a water feature with all granite cladding including a step up fountain with side weirs, a drop down fountain weir waterfall, a 360 degrees walk-by fountain, and a long reflecting pool with Mexican beach pebbles. Two reflected flash meditation pools split by a glass divider also sit indoors with Mexican beach pebbles and black granite walls with seat benches.  RCI’s project scope consisted of installing over 8 acres of sod, over 4 acres of landscape plantings, over 800 trees on the grounds, 20,000 sq-ft of water features, and 1500 linear feet of retaining walls.

To view the complete list of award winners, visit NALP’s website.

Suppliers: Cold Spring Granite, John Deere Landscapes

How to Care for Poinsettias All Year Long

It’s poinsettia season!  Often we think of poinsettias as nice plants to have around the holidays, but with a little care, they can be plants that can thrive in our climate year round.

Where to Keep Them

Poinsettias grow best under tropical conditions, but they can be grown outdoors in our climate as long as they’re shielded from frost and freezing weather.  Place your poinsettias somewhere outside where they’ll receive direct sunlight most of the day.  Have a partly shady yard?  They’ll do fine there as well, as long as it stays warm. Poinsettia  - small

Of course, if you’re receiving a poinsettia in December in the South, it’s probably best to keep it indoors for now.  Select a spot in your home that’s away from any air conditioning or heating vents.  Instead, place it near a bright window where it can receive a lot of sun to nurture those blooms.

Watering Poinsettias

When it comes to watering your poinsettia, you should check the soil surface every few days to see if it’s moist and water it when it begins to dry out.

After watering, allow the soil to thoroughly drain.  This means that you shouldn’t allow pots to sit in water inside of a decorative pot or saucer.

Caring After the Holidays

Poinsettias can and will last beyond the holidays with proper care.  After the holidays or when the temperature is above 60° F, move poinsettias outdoors.  Once outdoors, fertilize poinsettias monthly with a liquid fertilizer made for house plants.

If you would like to force your poinsettias to bloom again for the holidays, you will need to follow these steps:

Beginning October 1, stop fertilizing poinsettias and keep them at temperatures between 70-80°F. Poinsettias bloom in response to short days and long nights, so you will need to provide 14-15 hours of uninterrupted darkness per day. This can be achieved by moving them into a closet or covering them with a box from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. every day. This routine should continue until the bracts color up, usually around Thanksgiving.

By following these steps, you should be able to keep your poinsettias going for many years.

Caring for a Christmas Cactus

Is it too soon to say the holiday season is upon us?  Regardless of whether or not you’re ready to start decorating, you’re likely to come across a Christmas cactus over the next few weeks.  You may even be gifted one, so knowing how to care for this plant – year round – may be useful.

Did you know there’s also a breed known as the Thanksgiving cactus?  The “Christmas cactus” we know today is actually a blend of Schlumbergera truncata – the Thanksgiving cactus – and Schlumbergera russelliana – the Christmas cactus.  They come in a variety of colors, such as red rose, lavender, white, magenta, pale gold, orange, and salmon. 

While referred to as a “cactus,” these plants aren’t actually from deserts – they’re from Brazil.  According to the Louisiana Ag Center, these plants are epiphytes – meaning that they get their moisture and nutrients from the air and rain, spending their lives perched in trees.  Knowing these living conditions will help you to keep your holiday cactus thriving all year long.

Caring for a Holiday Cactus

When you take your holiday cactus home, place it in front of a window but not near a heat source.  You’ll actually want your cactus to stay cooler, especially at night, but to still have access to sunlight during the day.

During the first few days, you may notice your plant is losing some of its flower buds.  Avoid the temptation to overwater it and instead, just make sure the soil remains moist. When blooming, you can expect your flowers to last about a week, with the plant producing consistent blooms for two to three weeks.

Care for Spring

You can continue to care for your holiday cactus well into Spring. Keep the soil moist and fertilize with a slow-release formula.  If your plant seems to be outgrowing its pot, transfer it to a slightly larger pot, but remember: these plants once grew in the nooks of trees in Brazil, so they’re used to confined spaces.

Encouraging Their Blooms

Beginning in September of next year, you can prepare your holiday cactus for its blooming season.  These plants’ blooms are triggered by dark nights of more than 12 hours and chilly temperatures below 65 degrees, according to the Louisiana Ag center.  To create this atmosphere, you can place your plant outside in the Fall, as long as the temperature doesn’t dip below 40 degrees.  Make sure your plant is hidden from any street lights or landscaping lights, so it receives the most darkness possible.

In a few weeks, you should begin to see buds forming.  When they’re about an eighth-inch long, move the plant inside to its previous location.  Congratulate yourself on extending the life of your gifted plant, and get ready to enjoy its beauty all over again!

RCI’s Latest Project Brings Impressive, Modern Display to 162-Year Old Park

At New Orleans Botanical Garden, a brand new 1,000-square-foot green wall is wowing guests as they enter. The new Arrival Garden and Event Court, which features the living wall, fountain, landscaped garden, and benches, is the latest project added to RCI’s portfolio.

Construction began on the project in May, as part of ongoing renovations in New Orleans’ 162 year-old City Park.  Because the Botanical Garden is only 13 acres, officials decided on a design that emphasized the vertical over the horizontal.  The result?  A jaw-dropping space that is wowing guests.

RCI served as the general contractor for the project, self-performing the plant installation, the irrigation and structure of the living wall, the mechanical functionality of the fountain, and the construction of the benches.  Zach Broussard, Project Manager, of CARBO Landscape Architecture in Baton Rouge, La., designed the wall, and Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply provided the irrigation materials.   RCI also assisted CARBO with the design of the fountain from the ground up, including the concrete, plumbing, mechanical, and granite cladding.  Archways on either side of the living wall now allow guests to enter the garden via two different paths.

The L-shaped living wall, whose walls extend 74-feet and 31-feet long, are packed with approximately 5,000 plants.  When selecting plants for the living wall, priority was given to plants that could withstand New Orleans’ heat and humidity and that could be changed out easily with the seasons.  Some of the plants selected include Mondo grass, Mexican heather, Silverdust Dusty Miller Maritima, Compact Sprenger Asparagus Fern, Ruellia Dwarf White, and a stream of annuals for impactful color.  RCI began planting the selections into the 302 living wall modules in May of 2016.

RCI also assisted in the design of the fountain from the ground up, including the concrete, plumbing, mechanical, and granite cladding.

After months of planning and construction, the living wall and fountain are adding new life to the Botanical Garden’s entryway.  Be sure to stop by and enjoy RCI’s latest project.

How to use mums in your Fall landscape

With Fall officially here, the Chrysanthemum or “mum” is dotting front porches and business entryways everywhere you look.  This colorful, flowering plant comes in a variety of colors, and we have the top tips for using all shades of them in your landscape.

Planting Mums in Containers

While mums look great in a container by themselves, if you want your Fall landscape to turn heads, couple them with other great Fall plants, like ornamental cabbage, asters, or flowering kale.  When planting in containers, look for plants of varying heights, like a tall purple fountain grass, golden mum, and a sweet potato vine to spill over the container’s edge.

Pairing them with pumpkins

Pair pumpkins alongside your mums to combine two mainstays of Fall into one cheerful design.  If you’re feeling extra creative, you can create a “mumkin” by coring the pumpkin and placing the mum – plastic pot and all – inside of it.  Be sure to drill a drainage hole into the pumpkin.  While this design is great, it won’t last for very long, so make your mumkin right before trick-or-treaters or other visitors stop by.

Care for mums through the winter

With a little extra care, the mum doesn’t need to be exclusive to Fall.  The LSU Ag Center has the following tips to care for your mums into next year:

  • Before planting mums in the ground, properly prepare your landscaped bed’s aeration and drainage by adding pine bark or other organic matter.  Plant your mums about two feet apart, giving them room to spread out, and in an area that receives full to partial sun.
  • After planting, apply slow-release fertilizer to the bed.  Lightly water it in.
  • Keep the soil moist – but not wet – through winter.
  • Don’t be afraid to prune the mums several times from now until midspring.
  • Continue mulching to protect them from frost or cold.

With these tips, your Fall mums can also decorate your landscaping in late Spring and hopefully next Fall too!

A Culture Built on Safety

Working in the green industry, employees are surrounded by risk every day.  From heavy machinery to chemical applications, the environment and tools they use require complete focus and attention to detail.

“Safety isn’t just a part of our culture; It is our culture,” says Jerry Bounds, RCI’s Safety Manager.   “We ingrain in each employee that everyone is responsible for everyone’s safety.”

Safety

RCI’s focus on safety is evident in the number of training exercises they perform, including: new hire safety orientation for all employees, OSHA-10 construction training, weekly safety meetings, and site-specific training before RCI begins any new project.  Bounds reviews any new projects before a team is deployed and assesses the type of training they’ll need, such as Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) training, confined space training, or specific equipment training.  Every week, Bounds relays a safety topic to managers that they then cover with their teams.  “By having weekly safety meetings, we keep safety top-of-mind,” he says.  Bounds selects topics that are relevant, timely, and specific to the jobs they’re currently working on.

For example, one client’s swimming pool required confined space training before any work could be done.  To repair the pool, Bounds assessed that an employee would need to enter a small tunnel around the perimeter of the pool, which only had one point of entry and exit.  A space like this presented both physical and atmospheric hazards that needed to be addressed before performing any work.  To train the team, Bounds utilized a pulley system that could extract the employee in an emergency and had the team practice doing so in a safe environment before beginning.

“By having someone on staff who’s dedicated to safety, we’re able to identify potential problems before they occur and also fully address any ones that do,” says Bounds.  This includes following up with the employee involved to understand what happened and making any necessary changes to prevent it from happening in the future.

As RCI continues to grow its service offerings, they’ll expand their safety training to reflect the new skills and equipment that comes along with it.  “We’ve elevated our safety training, awareness, and site inspections and will no doubt continue to do so as RCI continues to grow.”

Bounds has 25 years of experience in the safety industry and is a certified OSHA outreach instructor and member of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

Help Those in Need: Donate to RCI’s “Flood Drive”

RCI is partnering with Ochsner Health System to help those affected by recent flooding. To help, please consider donating new household items, cleaning supplies, non-perishable food items, or new clothing.Louisiana-Flood-Drive Specifically, these are the items they’re requesting:

  • Household items – NEW towels, sheets, pillows, air mattresses, comforters, box fans
  • Cleaning Supplies – Bleach, mops, sponges, laundry detergent
  • Non-perishables – Powerade/Gatorade, canned fruit & veggies, pasta, oatmeal, grits, rice, beans, coffee, nuts, trail mix, beef jerky, canned meat/tuna
  • Clothing – NEW socks, undershirts, underwear, & bras (sports bras are preferred) of all shapes and sizes

Donations can be dropped off at RCI’s Slidell office during business hours by Sept. 15, 2016.

Four Ways to Care for Houseplants While You’re Away

Vacationing should be a worry-free experience, but if you have indoor plants to care for, ensuring they survive your absence may be on your mind.  By taking a few precautions, your plants cannot only survive – but thrive – while you’re away.

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Before your trip, inspect your plant.  Are there any dead leaves or flowers you can prune?  Pruning your plant will help it to require less sunlight and water while you’re away.   Do this the day before you leave and give your plant a good, thorough soaking.

If you’re leaving for a longer stay and your plants require a lot of watering and humidity, consider using your bathtub.  First, clean your pots of any pesticides or chemicals and make sure that they have a hole drilled in the bottom.  Next, fill the tub with an inch of water at room temperature.  Lastly, place your water-loving plants into the tub.  While you’re away, they’ll soak up the water through their roots when needed.

Feeling crafty?  You can make your own water-wicking system for plants in ceramic or plastic containers.  First, purchase wicking cord or 100% cotton cord from a garden center.  Next, run one end of the cord from a container filled with water to your plant.  Water WickingThen, use a pencil to insert the cord close to your plant’s roots.  Lastly, elevate your container with water so that it’s above your plant but still close to it.  Your plant will draw water from the container along the cord and to its roots, as needed.

Be sure to test the water-wicking method a few days before you leave to make sure yours is working.

If you opt to have a neighbor water your plants, be sure to leave detailed instructions.  Some of your plants may like only to be misted while others will take water every day.   You may even want to have a walk-through with your plant sitter before you leave.

What other methods have you used to care for your plants while you’re away?

Design-Build team brings new life to growing number of spaces

For RCI’s Design-Build team, every day is a chance to bring new, beautiful landscapes to life.Design_Build_2 Design_Build_1

Design-Build refers to RCI’s ability to take a project from design to construction, a service not found everywhere.  Instead of clients hiring both a designer and a landscape firm, RCI brings both services under the same roof, streamlining the design process for clients and ensuring their vision comes to life for years to come.

If you’re wondering if Design-Build could be for your company, it probably is.  Design-Build clients tend to be as varied as the scope of their projects.  To date, RCI has completed projects for hotels, resorts, property managers, hospitals, offices, and parks and recreational facilities.

Because of the depth of knowledge at RCI, Design-Build projects have ranged from landscape enhancements, to custom swimming pools, to the creation of elegant courtyards and more.

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“Each project presents its own unique set of challenges and opportunities,” says Sr. Landscape Architect, Gene Peters.  “Our goal is to always exceed client expectations, which has resulted in a lot of clients maintaining their relationship with RCI through maintenance and additional projects.”

Whether you’re envisioning something completely new for your outdoor space or need an enhancement to a current one, RCI’s Design-Build team is ready to design and construct it for you.

Join RCI at the American Heart Association Heart Walk

RCI is forming a team for this year’s Heart Walk to benefit the American Heart Association.

The Heart Walk is the organization’s premiere event for raising funds to save lives from the country’s #1 and # 5 killers – heart disease and stroke.  This year’s walk is Saturday Oct. 1 in Gulfport, MS at Jones Beach Park on Beach Boulevard. HeartWalk

If you would like to participate, please register under our team “RCI” on this website.

Feel free to bring your children or significant others – registration isn’t required for them.

  • What: American Heart Association Heart Walk
  • Date: Sat. Oct. 1
  • Time: Walk begins at 9:00 a.m., Festivities beforehand begin at 7:30 a.m.
  • Cost: Free
  • Fundraising: While not necessary to participate, walkers are eligible for a Heart Walk t-shirt once they have raised at least $100
  • Distance: The walk route is 3.1 miles long

Plants That Beat the Heat: Louisiana Super Plants

By Senior Horiculturist Russell Harris

Have you ever planted something, only to find out that it didn’t survive in Louisiana’s heat?

The Louisiana Super Plants Program, which was developed by the LSU AgCenter, identifies and promotes plants that perform exceptionally well in Louisiana.  Plants that receive the title of “Louisiana Super Plants” can be either newly developed or older varieties of plants that have performed well for at least two years in rigorous university evaluations and have a proven track record under both north and south Louisiana growing conditions.  To earn the title, “Louisiana Super Plants” must prove hardy across the entire state of Louisiana.

Ready to add this year’s winners to your garden?  Read on for tips.

Evolution salvia is a smaller growing S. farinacea species that’s available in violet and white flower colors.  Commonly called mealycup sage, it will reach a height of 14-16 inches in the landscape.  Flower spikes are 4-6 inches long. When planting, space 16-18 inches apart in the garden.  These plants need full sun to perform best.

evolution purple

Photos are courtesy of LSU AgCenter.

 

evolution white

 

Serenita angelonias are the smaller growing version of Serena angelonias. The raspberry color flowers of Serenita raspberry are unique to the seeded type angelonias.  Plant angelonias in full sun. They prefer drier landscape beds and less fertilizer than other warm season bedding plants.  Height in the landscape will be 12-14 inches.  Space plants a foot apart on center.

serenita

Photos are courtesy of LSU AgCenter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Schiller’s Delight viburnum is a great native shrub and would be a terrific replacement for the typical green foundation shrubs, like boxwoods, yaupons and Indian hawthorns. This viburun is a Walter’s viburnum (V. obovatum). Plants can be nicely maintained at 3-4 feet tall and do well in full sun, part sun and part shade.  An abundance of white flower clusters cover the plant canopy in April. Plants prefer acid soil.

Mrs. Schiller’s

Photos are courtesy of LSU AgCenter.

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to grow one of these plants or try another Louisiana Super Plant, look for the Louisiana Super Plant logo at your local garden center.

LSU logo

 

 

 

 

Second Annual RCI Summer Picnic Recap

RCI held its Second Annual Summer Picnic on Friday, July 29 at their new Brownsvillage Road location in Slidell.  With over 400 attendees, employees and vendors got to mix and mingle for an afternoon.

See our RCI Summer Picnic album

See our RCI Summer Picnic album

This year’s picnic featured a shrimp boil and barbecue (sponsored by United Rentals and John Deere), a snowball truck (sponsored by Chris Doyle Plants), and an extensive raffle of gifts and prizes like Yeti ice chests from Keeling Company.

We’d like to thank the picnic committee for organizing the day’s activities and all of our sponsors for their contribution to making the picnic a success.

RCI Hires New Addition to Landscape Design

RCI is proud to announce a recent addition to its team of landscape professionals.  Tim Michell has joined RCI as a Landscape Designer.  He will primarily assist clients with enhancements to their current landscapes, as they continue to grow their outdoor spaces.

“I’m thrilled to be working for RCI, who has such an outstanding reputation in the industry,” says Michell.  “I look forward to working with RCI’s vast array of clients, listening to their ideas and goals, and using my experience to create lasting solutions to their landscaping needs.”

Tim Michell

Tim Michell

A growing number of clients were requesting enhancements to their current landscapes, creating the need for Michell’s position.  Now, clients will have a dedicated person to meet with them, survey their site, and formulate designs and estimates.

“Tim will be a great asset to RCI and to our clients. Tim will be responsible for meeting with clients and proactively addressing enhancement opportunities throughout their properties,” says Kendall Lentz, Sr. Estimator.

Born in Philadelphia, Pa., Michell has lived most of his life in Slidell, La.  He is a graduate of LSU with a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture.  He enjoys sports, working out, and spending time with friends and family.  He’s engaged to be married this October.

Customers interested in landscape enhancements can reach Tim Michell at tmichell@rotoloconsultants.com.

Life on Top: RCI Once Again Ranks as Top Workplace in New Orleans

Rotolo Consultants is proud to announce the company has once again been named a Top Workplace in New Orleans, according to Nola.com and The Times Picayune.

This year, RCI placed sixth in the mid-size company division, advancing from fourteenth in the small company division in 2015. TWP_New_Orleans_Portrait_2016_AW

Numerous initiatives propelled the advancement, says RCI President Keith Rotolo, including the construction of a new office facility at corporate, continued aggressive growth, an increase in staff, a publicly stated goal to acquire other companies, and a continued investment in infrastructure including vehicles, equipment and software.

“Employee satisfaction and growth are key components of RCI’s goals and mission. Management and I are focused on providing a stable work environment that is pleasant and energetic while also providing a company that over the long term will continue to provide increasing opportunities for career growth and advancement,” says Rotolo.  “My hope is that people working for RCI see this company as the best place to work, if the green industry is their chosen career field.”

In addition, RCI also won the Direction award, which is given to a company that is on the path of success and growth, according to its employees.

“I feel like RCI still retains a ‘family’ feel despite how big we’ve become,” Rotolo says.  “We don’t lack for our challenges to improve in areas, but relative to our industry and our competitors, RCI does an outstanding job.”

To rank participating companies, a random sampling of employees receive a survey assessing their satisfaction with their workplace.  Surveys are then reviewed by a third party, who ranks the companies according to their responses.

Russel’s Tips: Tips for Choosing Quality Bedding Plants

In spring, if you’re like me, you get the urge to plant colorful flowers in your landscape. Choosing what bedding plants to grow can sometimes be challenging, especially when you go to a garden center and see row after colorful row of beautiful bedding plants such as Begonias, Impatiens, Petunias and Salvias. Regardless of which bedding plants you choose, try not to focus on the bright showy flowers. Instead, look at the foliage and the root systems. Quality annuals should be somewhat compact in size, fill out the pot and have multiple growing points. Taller, wispier plants are more likely to fall over and have stems that will break when planted. Also, the height and wispiness are the result of being grown without adequate light, being grown too quickly by pushing their growth with fertilizers or they were held too long without adequate nutrition. After finding plants with good foliage, check out the root systems. Healthy annuals will have bright white roots. With few exceptions, brown or yellow roots are dead, dying or diseased. Roots should also reach the edge of the pot, but not wrap tightly around the root ball. If you use these tips you should have an easier time making your bedding plant selections.

Russel’s Tips: Poinsettia Care During and After the Holidays



Contrary to popular belief, Poinsettias are tropical plants native to Mexico. The Ecke family which immigrated to California from Germany in the early 1900s is responsible for the popularity of Poinsettias and monopolized their production, because they discovered how to control their blooming cycle and marketed them between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the early 1990s, through university research, the secret to making Poinsettias bloom was revealed to the public allowing others to produce them commercially. Today the Ecke family still produces 70% of the Poinsettias grown in the US and 50% of the Poinsettias grown in the world. If you have a Poinsettia and would like to keep it all year, it will require a little knowledge of their care.

Poinsettias grow best under tropical conditions, but can be grown outdoors in our climate as long as they are protected from frost and freezing weather. Poinsettias need direct sun most of the day, but will tolerate partial shade. Indoors Poinsettias should be kept away from AC/heating vents and placed near a bright window. Check the soil surface in the pot every few days to see if it is moist and water it when it begins to dry out. After watering, allow the soil to thoroughly drain and do not allow pots to sit in water inside of a decorative pot cover or saucer as this will kill them. After the holidays or when the weather is above 60° F, move Poinsettias outdoors. Once outdoors, fertilize Poinsettias monthly with a liquid fertilizer made for house plants. If you would like to force your poinsettias to bloom again for the holidays you will need to follow these steps. Beginning October 1st , stop fertilizing Poinsettias and keep them at temperatures between 70-80°F. Poinsettias bloom in response to short days and long nights, so you will need to provide 14-15 hours of uninterrupted darkness per day. This can be achieved by moving them into a closet or covering them with a box from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. every day. This routine should continue until the bracts color up, usually about Thanksgiving. By following these steps you should be able to keep your Poinsettias going for many years.

Russell’s Tips: Considerations for Poolside Garden and Courtyard Plant Selection

In small spaces people have more intimate relationships with their surroundings and details stand out that would otherwise be lost in larger spaces. Selecting the right plant for the right place is crucial to designing small landscapes that have big impacts.

In poolside plantings and courtyards, trees and shrubs can quickly overgrow small spaces. Choosing plant varieties with compact, narrow spreading and vertical growth habits help solve these problems. Pool maintenance can be reduced by selecting evergreen species because they drop fewer leaves than deciduous species. Also larger leaves are easier to remove from pools than smaller ones. Choose trees and shrubs with long blooming periods rather than ones that bloom repeatedly and produce many flowers, fruits, seed pods or cones that need to be picked up when they drop. Plants with fragrant flowers or flowers that produce a lot of pollen should be avoided, because they attract bees and other insects. In place of flowering plants, plants with interesting leaves or bark with different textures and colors can be used. Plants with (read more link that directs to the news section of website) thorns, spines or sharp edges may injure people and should be avoided in close quarters. If pools and courtyards are going to be used year round, avoid tropical and cold sensitive plants that will look poor during winter. Areas around pools are often wet, so choose plants that do well in wet areas. Chlorinated water from pools does not generally pose a problem for poolside plants; however water from saltwater pools can injure plants, so only salt tolerant species should be planted around them. If bed space is limited, container plantings can be used and have the added benefit of being movable. Grouping containers of different sizes and heights together can have the same effect as an in-ground landscape. In very narrow spaces where there is no room for shrubs, green screens covered with vines provide the same effect as hedges and green screens can also be used to soften the appearance of walls. No matter how small of a space you have to work with, a skilled landscape architect can turn that space into a cozy retreat or pool side oasis.

Rotolo Consultants has been named to the LM150



LM’s listing of the industry’s top 150 revenue-generating firms includes individual company figures. Check out an analysis of this data, the top 25 leaders in client mix and profit centers and the 74 companies that grew 10 percent or more from 2013.



See the full list here.

RCI Featured in New Orleans City Business



Editor’s note: This series of profiles takes a look at the fastest-growing companies in the New Orleans area in terms of revenue growth over the past three years.

In 1978, Joe Rotolo bought his uncle’s nursery in Slidell and his brothers soon joined him. Over the years, Rotolo Consultants Inc. has turned the small landscaping business into one of the fastest-growing in the area in terms of revenue.

A significant move last season to expand its scope of services led to a bump in revenue. RCI saw large growth in the biggest chunk of its company, the maintenance division that maintains highways, multifamily complexes, commercial properties and high-end resorts.
That division has doubled in size over the past three years, said Joe Rotolo, the company’s leader for the past 27 years. His brother, Keith, took over as president in January.

RCI also has secured multimillion dollar contracts to maintain major properties in the past few years, including the new University Medical Center and Veteran’s Affairs hospital complex and the Golden Nugget Casino in Lake Charles.

That $16 million project included building an 8,000-square-foot pool, a lazy river, multiple spas and 40,000 square feet of sidewalks. RCI then signed a multi-year contract to maintain the property.

“We saw a void in the market in certain trades (such as) high-end finishings, concrete work and the ability of one company to come in and take over multiple divisions on the project,” Rotolo said.

“We’ll replace five or six specialty subcontractors. We’re able to control the schedule. The developers and owners like that. That has been our biggest strategy and something we’ve been working over the last 10 years go implement.”

The company’s maintenance division in Memphis has also doubled in the past two years thanks to a multi-year contract to maintain city medians and lots, he said.

With most of its work in Louisiana and Mississippi, RCI has also seen its employee base grow from 185 to 415 full-time workers this year. It increased its vehicle fleet and built a mechanic shop on its new 10-acre facility, where equipment and warehousing is consolidated.

Rotolo anticipates $15 million in maintenance work this year and is focusing on growing that division in the coming years.

He credits “multiple 20-year employees” and other longtime workers for the success. “That allows us to deliver a consistent product, which is very important,” he said.


See the article at New Orleans Business [subscription required]

Russell’s Tips: Did you know that right now is the best time to plant spring flowering trees for spring color?



Winter is the best time of year to plant trees in the landscape because they are not actively growing and require less care to establish. Three spring flowering trees you should consider adding to your landscape are the Taiwan Flowering Cherry, the Chinese Fringe Tree and the Two-Winged Silverbell.

The Taiwan Flowering Cherry (Prunus campanulata) is a beautiful tree with neon pink flowers and is an excellent cherry tree for Southern gardens because it tolerates heat better than other cherries and does not require long periods of cold weather to bloom reliably. When given proper care this tree is fast growing and will reach a maximum size of 25 feet by 25 feet.

In contrast to the bold color of the Taiwan Flowering Cherry Tree, the Chinese Fringe Tree (Chionanthus retusus) has delicate fragrant white flowers suitable for any landscape. In addition to spring flowers, the Chinese Fringe Tree also provides nice fall color. Chinese Fringe Trees are moderate growing trees that are wider than they are tall. They mature to a height of 15 to 20 feet tall by 20 to 25 feet wide.

If you like the bright white flowers of the Dogwood, you will love the Two-Winged Silverbell (Halesia diptera). This native tree has white bell shaped flowers that hang like little umbrellas from their branches. The flowers of this tree develop into interesting seed pods from which this tree gets its common name. Silverbells grow to be 30 feet tall and wide.

All three of these trees grow best in well-drained soils in full sun, but will tolerate shade. If you plant one of these trees now, you will be rewarded with many years of spring color.

YMCA expanding, with swimming pool, at Federal City in Algiers – The Times-Picayune



“The Algiers Development District board awarded the expansion contract to C.D.W. Services, a Metairie limited liability corporation. The 25-yard-long pool, which will be 4 feet at its deepest, will include areas for children to wade and adults to swim laps. Rotolo Consultants Inc. of Slidell, which has built other YMCA pools, was given the Federal City contract, Arnold said.”

Read the full article here.

Rotolo Consultants Inc. – Creating Exceptional Outdoor Environments for 35 Years – US Builders Review



“Over the years, the family business has grown from a small operation to a residential then later commercial landscaping business. Today the company features three divisions, including landscape construction, hardscape and pools, and a maintenance division of commercial client properties. RCI has become the preferred contractor for casinos in the two states and receives a lot of repeat business from clients.”

Read the full article here.

Questions & Answers (June 27, 2014) – Lawn & Landscape



Keith Rotolo: We had this group over the course of about three years with local laborers we hired. Out of that group, there were three of them that were just really good, solid workers, young guys. We moved them up quickly to supervisors, and two of them actually are managers now. One is 25. His market is $850,000. That has set a different tone with a lot of the guys, the guys coming in, because they see this guy. ‘OK, I’m not stuck behind a push mower forever. There is an opportunity here.’”

Read the full article here.

Until next year – Lawn & Landscape



“During the first day of the GIE+EXPO, Editor Chuck Bowen moderated Lawn & Landscape’s third-annual Power Panel, a candid discussion of the greatest challenges and opportunities facing the landscape industry. Below is a wrap-up of the discussion. We’ll cover more topics from the panel in future issues of L&L.

Every year during the show, I ask a group of smart and vocal contractors to sit down and give me some insight into what’s on their minds. This year, the panel included:

Keith Rotolo, Rotolo Consultants, Inc., New Orleans


Read the full article here.

Local Family Business Grows Far Beyond Its Borders, Continues Thriving Outward – Getrue.com



“The company is still based in Slidell, but is successfully pursuing regional expansion, and now they have offices in Memphis, TN; Jackson, MS; Biloxi, MS; and Baton Rouge, LA. Looking forward to Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Mobile, RCI has consistently grown throughout its existence and has no plans on stopping. Regardless of that success the Rotolos have never forgotten their roots, or the philosophy that got them to where they are.”

Read the full article here.

Tips from the top: Joe Rotolo, president, Rotolo Consultants – Lawn & Landscape



“The company is still based in Slidell, but is successfully pursuing regional expansion, and now they have offices in Memphis, TN; Jackson, MS; Biloxi, MS; and Baton Rouge, LA. Looking forward to Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Mobile, RCI has consistently grown throughout its existence and has no plans on stopping. Regardless of that success the Rotolos have never forgotten their roots, or the philosophy that got them to where they are.”

Read the full article here.

Hancock Bank to dedicate Lighthouse Park October 4th – Hancock Bank



“Grace & Hebert Architects of Baton Rouge was the lead architectural firm for the park project. Roy Anderson Corp was the primary contractor; Rotolo Consultants, Inc., of Slidell, LA, was the subcontractor. Landscape architect Joey Furr worked with WaterPlay to create a unique fountain design that sets off the lush indigenous plants and trees in the park and the strong architectural statements of Hancock’s restored corporate building.”

Read the full article here.

Crescent Park – City of New Orleans



“Crescent Park is landscaped with native plantings, most of which are grown regionally. Landis Construction and subcontractor Rotolo Consultants will continue to maintain Crescent Park’s landscaping for the next two years. This Spring, seasonal plantings will be installed.”

Read the full article here.

RCI just completed the Reinventing the Crescent project this month!



This Crescent Park was designed to connect our community to the spectacular Riverfront and create an environment for locals and tourists to interact with one another and enjoy the City of New Orleans. Reinventing the Crescent consists of six miles of unused industrial space along the Mississippi River transformed into a design that will increase tourism, create jobs, and improve the overall quality of life within the community. RCI was extremely excited to be involved in this project. RCI installed the landscape and irrigation, 1.5 mile pervious walking path, site furnishings, skate deterrent groves, concrete benches, dog station and bike racks.

To learn more about The Making of “Reinventing the Crescent” visit http://www.reinventingthecrescent.org or our Project Gallery