FlashBack – Blogging From 2012

In 2014, all the rage in the search engine optimization world was short blogs that linked out to other sites to provide a snapshot for readers to follow. The idea was to make your site/blog a resource for expert information. Looking back all I can say, ” What were we thinking.”

Below is the explanation of a week’s worth of blogs you would post each day and then have a follow-up blog on Sunday that revisited each. ” I remember when I met Jason Dowdell for SEO Tool and he told me to stop spamming the internet with blogs. ”

Take a look below and follow the logic to see if you can formulate the same idea as Jason or if you think it has some value. My opinion, that it provides the right value to the right person.

note: this content was originally posted in July 2012 on TheGardenGates.com.

Monday: Fountains

Large and outdoor garden fountains from Campania International have a special place outside. Decorating with cast stone garden fountains adds a special ambiance to an outdoor space, from private courtyards to formal gardens and beyond. Campania makes outdoor garden fountains in all sizes as well as many styles and designs for your outdoor decor. Better Homes & Gardens offers a beautiful slideshow of how to incorporate garden fountains into different outdoor areas.

Source: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/landscaping-projects/water-gardens/outdoor-fountain-ideas/#page=1

Tuesday: Garden Planters

Garden planters are some of the most versatile pieces of outdoor decor to own. They can be moved around and replanted as the seasons and your outdoor needs change. Add a pair of urns planted with topiaries on either side of a front door for an instant facelift. Try adding a number of cast stone planters to a deck or patio for an easy way to add color and greenery if garden space is limited or not available. Garden planters and urns from Campania International come in so many sizes and styles, it’s easy to update your outdoor decor or to create an entire new look. Follow HGTV’s guide to planting a container garden.

Source: http://www.hgtv.com/landscaping/container-essentials/index.html

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Wednesday: Statues

Statues are a great way to add something artistic and special to your outdoor decor. Garden statuary tucked away in a garden or amongst plants adds a unique look and point of interest. Campania International makes hundreds of statues. From religious figures to pets to rustic art and gnomes, cast stone statues are a beautiful and durable way to decorate the outdoors.

Stacey Pierson from Campania International wrote the perfect guide to selecting the right garden statue for your outdoor space on About.com.

Source: http://gardening.about.com/od/gardendesign/a/Ornaments.htm

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Thursday: Garden Benches

Cast stone garden benches are a classic addition to outdoor spaces. From public places to private garden seating, garden benches are a functional way to add to your outdoor decor. Campania International makes garden benches using cast stone, which is an incredibly durable as well as beautiful building material. Cast stone has been used for centuries, so it’s no wonder Campania’s garden benches will last. Choose from traditional benches for an English garden, whimsical garden benches for a fun space or sleek modern cast stone benches to channel inner peace in your outdoor space. Check out Martha Stewart’s ideas for creative outdoor spaces.

Source: http://www.marthastewart.com/274242/creative-outdoor-spaces/@center/276985/outdoor-living

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Friday: Birdbaths

Bird baths are a natural way to attract wild birds to your backyard or outdoor space. Invite the beautiful and natural sounds and sights of birds to enjoy each day. Cast stone bird baths from Campania International are made of extremely durable material and will age naturally over time, adding a beautiful look to your garden, patio or other outdoor space. Campania makes a number of birdbaths in different styles, from simple, zen-like bird baths to traditional American styles. Campania also makes whimsical designs of stone bird baths for that special place in the garden.

Bird baths offer a number of benefits, and Jim Sinclair promotes these benefits of birdbaths for Yahoo Voices.

Source: http://voices.yahoo.com/a-bird-bath-brings-song-joy-yard-560152.html?cat=32

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Saturday: Commentary – Where to Begin When Decorating an Outdoor Area

Adding pieces to your outdoor decor can be somewhat intimidating at first. If you’ve got a blank canvas, where do you start? If you have some pieces already, it’s important to match or at least complement what’s there. Outdoor decor is a fun element that can be added to at your own leisure or as you find the best pieces for your space.

First, look at any outdoor decor you already own and want to keep or incorporate into the look. Also, notice the color and style of flag stones, pavers or any other stone work around the area. If you have a stone or paved patio, walkway or driveway, what color and style are these elements?

How large is the area you are working with? Is it a sprawling lawn suitable for a massive fountain or hidden nook in the corner of the garden, perfect for a statue to take up residence? Outdoor living areas such as patios, decks and porches are the best places for cast stone planters and urns. Areas around a pool also look nice with container gardens. Measure how far apart you want the planters to be and how many will work in the space. Don’t create a wall of planters; just add a few here and there for some nice color or greenery.

What types of plants do you plan on planting in your cast stone planters or urns? Do you want to swap them out seasonally or put small trees or topiaries in them for year round? This will help determine the size of planters as well as the outdoor space.

Are there any places out in the garden or path that would benefit from a stone garden bench? We tend to focus on outdoor living areas for entertaining and relaxing, but finding a special place to sit and think or read can be nice as well. Garden benches are often nice accents to both front and back yards.

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Sunday: Recap

Campania International produces the best in cast stone outdoor decor for the garden and outdoor spaces around the home. Each cast stone piece from Campania International can be dyed or stained for a custom look in any of the multiple finishes they offer. From mossy, classic colors to earthy, rustic patinas, Campania is the leader in everything cast stone.

  • Cast Stone Products:
  • Garden Fountains
  • Garden Planters and Urns
  • Statues
  • Garden Benches
  • Birdbaths

The addition of outdoor decor such as garden fountains, planters, and urns, statues, garden benches, birdbaths or any combination of these will immediately enhance the look of your outdoor space. Create anything from mysterious secret gardens to Eastern inspired spaces for inner peace and everything in between. Campania International offers such a variety of versatile, beautiful and practical pieces that there is something for each space. Decorate decks, courtyards, entranceways, patios, yards, balconies and more with these inspiring collections of cast stone wonders. Make your outdoor decor as unique as you are with a custom combination of urns, statues and more to create the backyard of your dreams.

Garden Fountains and Wall Fountains for the Home

The Garden Gates carries the best selection in garden fountains, wall fountains and backyard fountains for all types of outdoor spaces. Turn your outdoor area into a relaxing retreat with outdoor wall fountains to hear the soothing sound of trickling water or turn a circular driveway into a grand entrance with a majestic yard fountain for everyone to see.

Outdoor wall fountains and backyard fountains from The Garden Gates’ collection of garden fountains from Campania International make beautiful and cheerful additions outside the home. Looking for charming tabletop backyard fountains for small spaces? Our small garden fountain collection has pieces for small patios, balconies or side yards in need of a water feature. Just because your space is small doesn’t mean it can’t benefit from the wonderful and natural element of water.

Campania International Andalusia Wall Fountain
Campania International Andalusia Wall Fountain

Yard fountains from The Garden Gates look stunning in large gardens and sprawling lawns. A large backyard fountain from Campania International is an easy solution to a large empty space. Both you and your guests will enjoy the trickle of water and a visually pleasing garden fountain as the perfect setting to an evening of dining al fresco or simply catching up in your outdoor living space.

Campania International is the leader in garden fountains. From their stunning designs to their expert craftsmanship, these backyard fountains and outdoor yard fountains will blow you away. Choose from rustic nature-themed garden fountains, relaxing zen wall fountains or classic European yard fountains. There are so many designs of backyard fountains and wall fountains from The Garden Gates’ selection by Campania International, there is something for all tastes and all spaces.

The Garden Gates’ garden fountains are outdoor decor pieces to enjoy for many years. The classic styling of the multi-tiered backyard fountains, as well as the useful sizes of the outdoor wall fountains, are intended to provide enjoyment for a very long time. All of the wall fountains and yard fountains by Campania International come in a number of finishes and patinas to match your outdoor decor or to create something special and new.

Explore The Garden Gates yard fountains and wall fountains for your new garden fountain or outdoor wall fountain. Our experienced architects and designers are happy to assist with the decision-making process and to hear about the space for the garden fountain. For more information, please call 1-877-780-6699 or email info@thegardengates.com.

4 Legged Furry Friends

Chad Everett Harris’ Office Mates on Firestone hard at work

Our four legged friends make The Garden Gates a little more exciting everyday. Let me introduce our friends.

Cecil – The Rhodesian Ridgeback is my oldest son’s Aiden Everett Harris‘ dog that was his college buddy and now is Shadow’s fulltime playmate.

Shadow- American Staffordshire Terrier is our rescue that Ashton Kendall Harris found one evening in our neighborhood running along Short street just a block away from our home on Plum Street.

George- King George. He is a King Charles Cavalier that is my wife, Beth Kendall Harris office dogs baby ( that is a mouth full).

Our dogs are pretty special, but everyone say that too.

Monday Morning Recovery

Mondays can be hard days to get motivated for the workweek much less get motivated for the world. I started back to training twice per day mainly to get my blood flowing in the morning and make better use of my time. See, I am a time freak. I hate wasting time on useless things- TV, Eating, Sleeping.

Today was simple easy and effortless. Low Heart Rate, High Cadence and Easy Calories. I use the MyZone HeartRate system in our gym and it make it super easy to track effort/calories/time on the 65in TV in the gym.

Chad Everett Harris Cycling Program

Chad recommends the Concept 2 bike for training and you can find it for sale here. ( Chad Harris does not receive any compensation for the link to Rogue Fitness, it is to make it easy to purchase )

Beautiful Planters


Elegant and decorative stone planters from The Garden Gates are the ultimate in outdoor decoration. Large outdoor planters and cast stone planters of all sizes by Campania International are high quality products and favored by both The Garden Gates’ customers and our landscape architects. Campania International’s expert workmanship and visually stunning designs goes into each stone planter created for long lasting and durable outdoor decoration.

Campania International Berwind Planter
The Berwind Planter is part of the Newport Mansions Collection by Campania International.

The Garden Gates is proud to be a premiere retailer of Campania International’s beautiful products, and we stand behind these large outdoor planters and stone planters of all shapes and sizes. From stone planters as small as 7” high to large outdoor planters and urns 40” tall, The Garden Gates’ selection of stone planters is one to see. Explore over 150 cast stone planters to find the perfect one or set for your outdoor area.

Campania International produces stone planters and large outdoor planters made out of cast stone, which is a material dating back to castle building in the medieval times. Today, cast stone is used in the building of bridges and skyscrapers and is a excellent material for outdoor decoration. Cast stone looks just like cut stone but is much easier to create various shapes and stained for beautiful outdoor decoration.

Stone planters in The Garden Gates’ collection come in shapes for everything from small patios to vast estates and everything in between.  Choose from long rectangular flower boxes, sweet basket weave stone planters, massive square planters and stunning urns perfect for topping stone pedestals. If you are looking to fit a certain motif in outdoor decoration or to transform an old look into something special, these stone planters and large outdoor planters will do just the trick. Incorporating stone planters into your permanent outdoor decoration is functional and attractive way to accessorize an outdoor space.

Try placing stone planters or large outdoor planters along a thick walkway or ledge overlooking a beautiful lawn for a classic way to bring colorful flowers into the backyard. Two topiaries planted in interesting urns on either side of a front door will turn any entrance from dull to grand. With the easy addition of stone planters around the outside of the home, you can elevate the look for year round use. Plant annuals in large outdoor planters for seasonal color in your outdoor decoration or plant perennial shrubs or trees for something to enjoy season after season. Many of the stone planters from Campania International are extremely durable large outdoor planters for outdoor decoration.

Outdoor decoration is an important part to any home. It will increase curb appeal and enhance your own experience when spending time outside. Just as you would try to make the inside of your home comfortable and beautifully decorated, stone planters will add special touches to outdoor areas – create an inviting front entrance or porch, add color to a pool area, allow plants to live on patios or balconies where they otherwise would not grow, and accent outdoor seating and dining areas. The many uses for stone planters in outdoor decoration is realized when you explore The Garden Gates’ large outdoor planters and much more we have to offer. When planning for a specific outdoor space or outdoor decoration, let The Garden Gates’ team of designers and architects assist you in getting the right sizes, shapes and colors to transform your outdoor area into the yard of your dreams.
For more information, please call 1-877-780-6699 or email info@thegardengates.com.  

Mindset of Improvement

Flashback to 2010, Chad Everett Harris from The Garden Gates( I am that guy- writing in the third person) was writing articles, speaking at events across the country, and pushing the pedal to the floor building The Garden Gates retail business. Fast forward to 2019, things are a lot different. I, spend most of my days working on a complicated project that could be the next great thing, if I fail, it will be another expensive education.

Checkout my thought for 2010.

After all the topics that we have focused on over the year, they all speak to a mindset of constant improvement. Marketing, customer retention, branding and online efforts all represent your commitment to building a better business.

What commitments have you invested in your personal improvement as it relates to your business? Each and everyone one of us is clear about our strong attributes but what are you doing to improve your weakest attributes. Are you even aware of the importance of making this your top priority? Some experts believe that we should only focus on our strong points, I believe that strengthening our weakness makes us better operators.

Personal development does need to come from that TV program on at 2am in the morning or doesn’t require you to take up meditation( but it may help). Personal improvement can come in many different aspects which often result in greater self confidence. Brushing up on the latest technical information on industry products and processes will increase your ability to educate your clients. All these efforts will create personal development skills that grow your business.

Here is a start-

  1. What are the things you enjoy the most about your job? Most likely that are your strongest skills. For this exercise lets say its your ability to communicate/sell/present to customers( these are my bestqualities)
  • What are other skills are you contain that are strong but not your best. Again for this exercise lets say they are you ability to manage people- can you lead them into a fireand convince them they are not burning? ( this is another skill ofmine)
  • What is the skill you weakest skill or attribute? Let’s say its avoiding conflict.(again mine) Do you avoid these situation, does it make you uncomfortable to be in these situations?

Thinking about these strengths and weakness what are you doing to improve your weakest attribute? Consider openly talking colleagues and staff about what they consider their best qualities as well as their weakest. Openly discuss everything, basically putting it all on the table. By talking about what your best/worse skills you are making yourself aware of these attributes. Take 15 minutes a week, that is , to work on your weakness. It might require you to put yourself in uncomfortable situations on purpose, use different approaches to become more comfortable with your weakness.

Ironically, this will force you to repeating this process over and over which keeps you in a constant state of improvement.

Garden Tour | Sydney & Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

Sydney & Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park is a must see when visiting New Orleans. The garden is filled with mature plant material and Oaks trees that will leave you speechless.

Dynamite Garden in New Orleans + A Quick Lesson on Flower Planting

New Orleans is such a unique place and is full of lush gardens. Today, I give you a mini tour of my personal garden at home. We live in Uptown New Orleans on Plum Street, and I love my garden between the street and sidewalk because it is always blooming.

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Time. Value. Money

TVM-itʼs really that simple

How much Time do you have- What Value do you delivery-How much Money does it return.

Discovering what products or service you sell the most is not really the question, the true question is what product or service do I sell that requires the least about of time- creates the most value for the customer and returns the greatest profit for the business. Itʼs that simple.

Here are some steps to understand TVM( time, value,money) products or services.If you are using POS systems, Estimating Software or spreadsheets- use the data you collect to determine the following:

  1. Top 10 selling products
  2. Top 10 most profitable
  3. Space require to sell each product ( sq.footage)
  4. Inventory turns per product ( number of times you turn the product in ayear)

The data collected will help you determine what products are selling. I realize this in elementary but this exercise should be performed over and over to make sure you are focused on results and not using the dart board mentality (DBM)- The DBM is hoping you make a bullseye every time you throw that dart. Itʼs easier to be consistence in reaching the bullseye with research about customer behavior not wild throws at thewall.

Once you have determined what sells the most with the least amount of effect, its time to deliver the message to the customer through marketing.

Experimental – Change Everything

Today is a great day for change. Changing the way you work. Changing the way think about your profession. Changing the way the green industry is perceived. The days of thinking or running your business like your predecessor is exactly that- a thing of the past and its about time to Change.

Today get out our list of goals, limitations, customers, products/services and how we are at a competitive advantage from my last article and its time to change everything.

Class Starts Now

( get out your notes and get ready to add a few more)

-Change your goals-

In your list of goals, do you include become a virtual garden center?     Did you list- become an online resource for gardening in mycommunity?

Or was your list more like this.

  1. Be the best garden center in town,USA
  2. Build a newshed
  3. Hired a manager- so I can take more timeoff.

Those are all goals that have there place on a list but in order to find your place in the future maybe follow the list below.

Change your list to something more like this

  1. Create local awareness of myproduct/service
  2. Contribute to my community withoutfail
  3. Become the resource for gardeningknowledge
  4. Build my brand to compete against all that stand in mypath
  5. Change the way I dobusiness

-Change your limitations

If your list contained items like lack of resources, knowledge or skills make sure to scratch those right out. Your list should contain little to nothing by now. You have committed to building a better business and your commitment has all but erased your limitations. When you are committed to change- nothing stands in your way.  Yes-lack of funds, skills or knowledge makes things changeling but thatʼs what makes ustick…

-Change your customer

Today your customer might engage with you at the counter during checkout, in the isle while selecting merchandise or on the phone. Today- change the way customers  interact with your business. Blogging, Social Media, Youtube  and such interaction are  at your finger tips and they reach several customers at the same time. Usetechnology

to the fullest. Iphones make customer communication effortless with mms, email and web capabilities at your finger tips. The future of your customer base use technology every minute of everyday- so should you.

-Change your Product /Service

A pansy will always be a pansy but your own Smartphone App about what pansies you have in stock might not be to far fetched 5 years from today. The moral of the story is change the way you think about your products and services. Jot down what would make you stand out and then get to googling because with a few clicks of the mouse you may just stumble upon the next great thing.

-Change your competitive advantage

Since you can not compete on price( nor should you) develop a program or service that is unique to your business. Make your standards are unobtainable by your competitors and make it your niche. Make your product or service about quality not quantity/price.

Make sure that is has marketability in the future rather than a onehitwonder.     It is very rewarding to have a long lasting product/service that is profitable because in the end, this is about earningprofits.

Change is difficult but it is necessary in our industry to survive. As technology continues to develop and people are all consumed with the chaos of life, changing your businesses mentality is essential to future success.

For more information about this article, contact Chad E. Harris

follow him @ www.twitter.com/chadeharris

friend him @ www.facebook.com/ceverettharris

read about him @ chadeverettharris.com

Jackson Square Tour

Jackson Square in New Orleans in located along the Mississippi river banks in the French Quarter. It was the birthplace of Louisiana in 1803, a National Historic Park, and the American Planning Association designated Jackson Square as one of America’s Great Public Spaces.

Jackson Square is surrounded by history dating back to early 1700 when the St. Louis Cathedral was built, is flanked by the oldest continuous rental apartments in the United States, and home of the French Quarter Festival.

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YouTube https://goo.gl/hlHFXZ

Music from Epidemic Sound https://goo.gl/0nUo2V