Today His Name is on the Door
DPG Pavers and Design, LLC is the latest venture for two California business owners
David Paul Garcia is an entrepreneur at heart. He discovered a love for carpentry at age 12 while working with a family member in the construction industry. By the time he reached 18, he was a seasoned journeyman carpenter. Ready to venture out on his own, he established a fence and deck company. Later, he partnered with a landscaping firm to round out his suite of services—adding woodworking to a landscaping practice is an inviting selling point for clients. The partnership allowed Dave to develop his skills in landscape design and construction practices, and his passion for design began.
Fast forward decades later and, after owning several successful landscaping companies, Dave decided he wanted a business with his name on the door. “I’ve always branded everyone else. I’ve been a partner with others and worked on some really great projects, but I knew in 2016 it was time to start my own thing,” he says.
DPG Pavers and Design, LLC was born—the DPG representing the first initials in David’s full name. Although his prior firms won many accolades with features on HGTV’s “Curb Appeal,” Planet Green’s “Renovation Nation” and a Gold Medal at the prestigious San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, they don’t compare with this venture. “Previous companies never had my name on the door. Now it’s my reputation that I’m working to brand, and it is an exciting new chapter for me.”
Exciting is right—DPG Pavers and Design is not only an award-winning landscape design-build company specializing in residential outdoor lifestyle transformations, the company recently launched an e-commerce arm. Clients can now select their outdoor living furnishings from a carefully curated inventory Dave and his wife, Susie Garcia, hand-picked. “We’re offering items that are unique, hard-to-find pieces. It’s an artisan approach to landscape décor,” Susie says.
Dave isn’t the only entrepreneur in the family. Susie met Dave while he was owner at a prior firm. Already a partner in life, she has joined him as business partner, too, in the role of DPG Pavers and Design’s Chief Operating Officer. A success in her own right, Susie’s background is in the health and wellness industry. Not only is she an award-winning registered dietitian, she is an international bestselling author, motivational speaker, and has been featured on ABC, CBS and FOX affiliates and NPR affiliate radio.
Their combined experience is a recipe for continued success for the pair. She says, “We value our referrals, and I do a lot of networking in my role. We place high priority on referrals because we understand that if a client or subcontractor recommends us, it is a reflection on them.” And to Dave and Susie, taking care of those referrals has led to long-term relationships with numerous contractors, property managers and homeowners alike.
Dave’s passion is found in designing outdoor living. “In California, your landscape functions as additional rooms in your house because we have such great weather.” The weather may be gorgeous in the Golden State, but a water crisis created problems for homeowners. Susie says, “Many stopped watering their lawn. When these clients engaged our team, we transformed their dead and barren landscapes into a beautiful, drought-tolerant and lush outdoor living space.” Most of DPG Pavers and Design projects are residential, nearly 75%. The firm also has notable public clients like the University of San Francisco, Fuller Enterprises and Epicurious Garden in Berkeley.
“When you hear the word landscape, many people think plants and trees, but the term describes anything outside,” Susie explains. “Hardscape aspects include pavers, walls, synthetic lawns, outdoor kitchens, etc.” Dave and the design team enjoy designing the hardscape elements because they believe the carefully curated elements instantly elevate any landscape design. The intricate 30,000-square-foot interlocking paver stones installed at the University of San Francisco is a great example of how a hardscape project can transform a space.
The details are found in a complete design, which means Dave often educates his clients on how weaving together both hardscape and soft-scape elements to achieve a beautiful design is truly an art.
He says, “We get into the client’s head. We want to design according to their wish list, so we talk about their ideal landscape. We advise them, customize a design and act like a partner instead of just a service provider.” This attention to detail and catering to the client is evident as the firm recently swept the local awards in all three landscape design categories from the San Francisco Bay Area National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).
A Problem-Solving Powerhouse
Dave’s ability to problem-solve is one of his greatest assets. A case in point is a residential project in Mill Valley, California, which presented some serious design challenges. “Located on a severe hillside, this three-story home had the wrong size drainage pipe in the plans. The pipe was already installed, so it would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to correct. Instead, I installed huge boulders to slow the water flow and placed piping along the house to reroute water into a culvert, propelling it into the stormwater system.” Dave continues, “If we hadn’t been creative with our design, the water would have drained directly into a neighbor’s yard, potentially creating a major liability issue.”
Dave emphasizes that at DPG Pavers and Design, every client is important. “I’ll look over designs, and if I don’t like them and if the details are off, I’ll be quick to fix them,” he says. Susie adds, “Dave has a phenomenal talent of understanding construction and what is and is not possible. He’s able to educate his clients in a way that is truly a gift.”
Susie is proud of the innovative solutions her partner develops. “I think there are people that may have a great education in landscape design but don’t have the depth of knowledge Dave has on how to construct the design. Sometimes a plan looks feasible on paper, but it takes real hands-on experience to identify potential problems at the early stages and beyond.”
With more than 4,000 landscape projects completed in his career, it’s no wonder Dave understands best practices in construction—and especially what works specifically in the San Francisco Bay area.
All Creatives Welcome
Dave isn’t the only person in the company that has inspired ideas. When hiring staff, he looks for those who express passion about what they do. “I act like a talent scout and first seek out those I’ve enjoyed working with prior to joining our team.” And, this tactic has paid off. The team at DPG Pavers and Design includes a dynamic mix of seasoned professionals working alongside those only beginning their careers. “It’s a great environment to bounce ideas off one another and learn. Everyone’s ideas are equally respected,” Dave says. Although a young company, the firm touts many years of individual experience.
“We’re very fortunate to keep our talent with us as there is a severe labor shortage in California,” Susie adds. “We are blessed to have loyal people, and I think it’s because we do our best to take care of them.”
DPG Pavers and Design’s culture is based on treating staff like family. “We care about our people and it shows,” Susie says. “They are our biggest investment.” Agreeing, Dave states, “We want to be there for staff in their time of need, and we are.” The way DPG Pavers and Design treats staff is a result of company culture, which extends to include supporting local community efforts, as well.
Investing Time and Expertise
In 2017, DPG Pavers and Design participated in a historic renovation of a house in Brentwood, California, with general contractor Carey Brothers Remodeling. Participating in this pro-bono project for a local veteran was a no-brainer for Susie and Dave. “The 604 Second Street project was really special to us because it gave us a way to give back to the community and to also include our favorite vendors in the project and get them additional exposure in Brentwood,” Susie says.
Homeowner Mike McClellan remarks on the work, “The paver walkway and driveway they created is stunning and watching the installation progress was impressive.”
DPG Pavers and Design staff also gives the gift of their free time to local charities. Namely, working with the Art for Life Foundation. The Founder and a current client, Anthony Knutson, established the nonprofit to work with children with fatal diseases, recognizing healing goes beyond curing the body. At many children’s hospitals, the foundation offers arts programs to help guide patients through recovery. “For example, there is a hospice facility in Oakland where Anthony encourages parents who have lost children to make ceramic tiles to display as encouragement to others,” Susie says. “It’s very touching and is a great organization to support.”
Dave has personally experienced how losing a child can impact a family. “I had a nephew pass away from a heart abnormality at 30 days old, so what this organization is doing for families hits home. It’s really special.”
According to Dave and Susie, giving back is what drives them. For Dave, it’s primarily found in creating an environment where people can relax and unwind from the challenges of daily routines. “I’ve heard from clients that our designs create joy for them,” he says. And to Dave, it’s important to provide beautiful outdoor spaces that are a respite for clients. “Ultimately, your home is your sanctuary. Whatever you invest in achieving it is totally worth it, and we’re happy to help make each client’s dreams come true.”