Business is blooming

June 2020

Outdoor Environments Group brings imagination into existence.

We caught up with Chad Bruick, founder and CEO of Outdoor Environments Group, and found out he doesn’t just want to create beautiful outdoor spaces (spoiler alert: every OEG space we saw was gorgeous). Bruick instead strives to cultivate relationships and memories, but his breathtaking backdrops are definitely a bonus.

Landscaping and life are relatable. There is the hardscape, the resolute layers that provide a foundation, the nuanced parts that grow and change—they need nourishment, but will continue to evolve. The tricky part is balancing intuition with practicality, seeing the beauty in the hard and the soft, especially in the combinations they can create together. Chad Bruick understands this integration and uses it to create stunning spaces for his clients.

Bruick started Outdoor Environments Group in 2007 with only four employees, and now—in it thirteenth year—it has grown into a full service landscape architecture and construction company that employs a talented group of 75 individuals, ranging from landscape architects, certified horticulturists, irrigation specialists and technicians, to skilled craftsmen and a construction crew. “This is an incredible team and they make everything that we do possible,” says Bruick. OEG takes pride in its projects, surveying every space to find its true potential from the onset. They source only the highest quality materials and plants. And they collaborate with their clients from an idea’s inception, and then well beyond the final product, keeping their work healthy and thriving for years to come.

“I have always had a passion for the outdoors and design and business”, says Bruick. A Fort Wayne native, he studied horticulture and design at Vincennes University. After moving to Indianapolis, he was able to harness his creativity, along with a green thumb and knack for business, to form OEG, and the passion continues to grow and set the company apart from others in the field.

The thing is, Chad doesn’t want to just draw up a landscape plan or put in a pool and patio, he aspires to match the space with the stories it will tell. “We want to create a comprehensive space that basically becomes the catalyst for personal relationships and interactions for years to come. We build these great outdoor spaces with pools, and terraces, and landings, and all these things that create a special environment. And because of that people have birthday parties there, they have weddings there, they have events there. This is where they have their family gatherings and where they make memories. That is really what excites us.”

Originally, the business was focused on landscape design and architecture, as well as construction. “We didn’t initially do maintenance of landscaping, but as we began to complete fairly comprehensive projects, our customers began asking that we maintain what we had installed,” says Bruick. “We take care of these spaces for our customers year after year.” And many times, for new owners if a property sells.

Providing maintenance is another hallmark that distinguishes OEG, and this service has stoked personal relationships and longevity with many clients. It is at the root of OEG’s business philosophy. “So many people think once they are done building something, they have crossed the finish line and it’s over with. Our philosophy is that once we complete [the construction of] a project and done it well we haven’t established the finish line, but we are just at the starting point,” Bruick explains.

Bruick says the main thrust of his work is in Indianapolis, Carmel, and Zionsville, but a fair amount is scattered throughout the state, and OEG has even done projects in Michigan and Illinois. Seventy percent of their work is residential, with the other thirty percent coming from commercial clients such as restaurants and offices, as well as multi-family residential developments. While many of the projects are for outdoor leisure spaces, Bruick’s tea seeks out the extraordinary to make each space special. They have taken their work inside when necessary to build living walls, fireplaces, and even a unique dining table for large groups at Four Day Ray Brewery in Fishers. It is not a surprise, of course, that Bruick is most excited about the conversations that will happen around that table.

Swimming pool construction and maintenance is another sought after service of OEG. From infinity pools looking to Geist Reservoir to rooftop pools gazing over the skyline, OEG knows the importance and tranquility water holds for everyone, and they also find the fun in creating playful spaces for families and friends to enjoy.

Another popular movement right now is productive gardens, harkening back to the Victory Gardens of the World War era, and Bruick is happy to incorporate those into the repertoire. “People are having a greater interest in gardening once again, and want to be more connected to where their food comes from.” He doesn’t want anyone to be shy about including vegetables and fruit into everyday scenery either. “We do a lot of pear trees and apple trees in our landscapes. We will incorporate asparagus and cabbages into the landscapes so they are more that just something to look at, but they are an experience as well.”

The company has grown tremendously in the past thirteen years, and Bruick wants to pursue that trajectory, but says, “I see us continuing to grow as a company, not only in size but also in ability and skills. I don’t measure growth just by the numbers…but also by the caliber of work we are able to produce.” As a business owner, he is savvy to the objective that one must grow first in quality, skill, and customer service, knowing that growth in size and numbers will follow. In addition to the caliber and quality of his work, Bruick also prioritizes his community. In 2019, his team lent a hand at the new Isaiah House in Indianapolis, a mission that provides transitional housing for men reentering society. OEG also partnered with the Indianapolis Colts to Crete a spectacular space for IPS School 56 last summer. “The Colts were doing an outdoor playground, but the school wanted an outdoor classroom, too,” explains Bruick. “That was a really fun project to do. Our staff, and also our vendors and strategic partners, really worked to make it happen.”

Bruick has harmonized a variety of elements in a wide range of landscape projects he hopes to sustain for years to come. His greatest desire for those spaces, though, is that they will create endless opportunities for memories to blossom.