“Twenty years ago, we might have budgets for outdoor living at 10 percent to 15 percent of a total project. Now, we are seeing outdoor space approach as much as 40 percent,” says Franco D’Ascanio, president of Coastal Source in Marathon, Fla.
And he should know… D’Ascanio is not only the president of Coastal Source, makers of high-end landscape lighting and outdoor audio systems, he also runs the parent company, a family-owned design/build firm called D’Asign Source. The company has been specializing in high-end, complex residential construction, outdoor audio and outdoor lighting since the late 1970s. It operates out of a 25,000-square-foot showroom in the Florida Keys.
“We are a true design/build firm, which means we are architects, engineers, landscape architects and interior designers,” says Franco D’Ascanio, president. “We are the general contractor, we are the integrator, and we are the landscaper. We basically turnkey estate properties and resorts. We could not find outdoor components of all types that would hold up to coastal conditions.”
And it is that experience that enables the company to offer advice to integrators on how to form relationships with landscape architects and landscape contractors, a key constituency for succeeding in outdoor projects.
From that need, Coastal Source was born, bringing its patented heavy-duty, corrosion-proof low-voltage landscape lighting system and outdoor audio system to the custom integration channel for the first time back in 2013.
“There’s a lot of revenue there,” says D’Ascanio in reference to outdoor projects. “And obviously integrators want to earn more revenue. So taking your same interior system customers and building outdoor entertainment systems that are safe to walk and live based on outdoor lighting and control is a great way to get more revenue from the same customer.”
Create 'Special Features' for Outdoor Living
In terms of building relationships with outdoor contractors, D’Ascanio notes, “We are fortunate to have all those trades in-house. Our landscape architects, architects and interior designers play a hand in the products we develop. They are very influential on jobs. Even interior designers can be influential on jobs that include outdoor audio and outdoor lighting.”
He says integrators will find typically that landscape architects are “very good at planning for the whole site but rarely do they get into the detail of the outdoor audio or outdoor lighting. So you can be reliable resource for them to make them look good. They are really looking for those special features for their clients to make their jobs standout. So a good partnership is a win-win situation.”