The use of color, especially in landscape applications, is increasing dramatically as more landscape architects creatively use concrete to achieve their design goals. One of the most common uses of colored concrete is in hardscape applications such as sidewalks, driveways, fences, and outdoor furniture. Since hardscapes are predominantly designed by the landscape architect, landscape architecture firms are an excellent job source for contractors who wish to secure more colored concrete work. The decision to use concrete as a building material usually starts in the preliminary design stage of a project. By providing the landscape architect with answers to questions and solutions to problems during this early stage of design development, the concrete contractor can function as a consultant, building the kind of relationship that often leads to bid invitations or negotiated contracts.
The Grand Floridian Beach Hotel shows the benefits of teamwork in landscaping. The landscape architect, the color admixture manufacturer, and the concrete contractor worked as a team to create concrete with the mellow look of yesterday. Carrying out the theme of times past, the miles of colored walkways and site walls were placed with great attention to detail. The colored walks were finished in a light broom texture with bands troweled into the edges. A colored concrete cap on top of the walls was precast upside down to produce an irregular surface with stone-like quality. For contractors, the Grand Floridian is a prime example of how becoming an expert in colored concrete and working with landscape design firms and color manufacturers can lead to increases in business and profit.