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View Full Version : ideas for an unlimited budget


MILSINC
05-30-2007, 04:39 PM
I have a job coming up next spring, and i'd like to give a little background and get some ideas. I will be a one- man crew (as always), and the property is mostly wooded. I will be tearing out all existing landscaping and starting fresh. There will need to be irrigation, lighting, pavers, retaining walls, steps, plants (everything). This is a job that has an unlimited budget, and I will likely be there for half the year.

The ideas I am looking for are things like this:
Are there any cutting edge materials, systems, methods that some of you now swear by, or wish they could use, but nobody seems to have the budget? I am considering doing a gridwork of netafim dripline for all of the irrigation. I will likely use kichler lighting, but would like interesting ideas in using the lighting (i will visit the forum).
What about the Wright stair system? anyone had luck with that at all?

I guess I'm just looking for something aside from the norm. If anyone has any products or methods that always turn out fantastic, i'd like to know more about it.
Honestly, this job would be great for manufacturers to get to show off their product lines, etc. let me know what you think!

bullethead
05-30-2007, 04:47 PM
Unlimited budget - why don't you hire the best landscape architect in town, develop a nice plan, then get the best subs to bid it, then just manage the project (for a healthy fee of course). Then you will have a top notch job performed in a timely fashion by the best in the business (and you will probably make more money off of it and have more time to sell/pursue other projects). Sounds better to me than spending half a year chasing your tail trying to be a jack of all trades. Good luck with it.

MILSINC
05-30-2007, 04:54 PM
I do plan on subing out quite a bit of the job - excavation, lighting, and a water feature. However, there are just certain parts of the job that I can't let anyone else do.. I'm a bit too particular, and I still like to get dirty. Additionally, to sub too much work out (in my area) is nearly unheard of. The area has too little money, and too many landscapers. So, I don't like the idea of inviting too many sharks to dinner. However, the architect idea hadn't yet even occured to me. I have done countless designs, and I did go to college for this. But, I wonder if the architect can truly take it over the top? what's your take on them?

PatriotLandscape
05-30-2007, 07:36 PM
too little money. and too many landscapers? How does that work? What is an unlimited budget anyway? 40k, 150k, 500k?

For an unlimited budget make the stairs interesting with curves not standard steps. and if it is unlimited why are not using natural stone?

For drip systems we use rain bird drip emmitters they are far superior to netafim drip systems and if you are looking for ctting edge that would be one way.

AGLA
05-30-2007, 10:57 PM
Yes! I knew I liked you, Patriot. Finally, someone who uses emmiters instead of netafim.

If the budget is high, it makes sense not to use "user friendly" marketed products and go with natural materials that are traditional and timeless with handcrafted quality. Block systems, concrete paver products, and stair systems are all products invented to use cheaper materials, mass marketing, and training so that anyone can do it. The problem that you may run into is that these materials require knowledge, skills, and experience to produce quality results. ... but, so does project management.

One thing does not add up and don't take this wrongly. It is an honest question and maybe there is a very good explaination. Why would someone with an unlimited budget hire a small one man operation who is not already familiar with and experienced at putting such a project together? Would it not make more sense for the client to seek out a proven designer and/or project manager who has been routinely doing this?

The answer is that that they feel that you are the right man for the job. That could be because they think you are much more experienced and capable or it could be that you are being manipulated into believing that this is your "big chance" to make it big which gets you to value doing the job more than they value having you do it. Beware of this age old trick that is often pulled by builders, developers, real estate people, and other members of the sales professions.

Would this client fit one of those descriptions? Are you doing a lot of work getting information and laying the groundwork to get this job without yet having a contract and deposit?

Maybe none of these are the case here, but for the purpose of discussion for others to be aware of these ploys, it should be talked about even if it does not apply to your situation.

capetan
05-31-2007, 12:34 AM
why don't you act as a general contractor, get an architect, get a plan, get the help you need and get the job done, why do you have to wait until next year, with unlimited funds or close to it, theres no sense in waiting, how much money does waiting pay? and i would definitely get a contract and money before thinking of lighting and irrigation systems, and spending a half a year on project is ridiculous, i would jump on this project asap and get started..... unless you're filled this year, about how big is this project 1 acre more? unless your landscaping a farm i dont think this project should take a half a year :) ........ good luck it sounds like a challenging project

paponte
05-31-2007, 05:44 AM
Unlimited budget? No such thing. :rolleyes:

MILSINC
05-31-2007, 11:22 AM
I take it that I should have been more clear. Not only am I qualified, but quite experienced in managing and installing large, high end landscapes. The real question here was " are there any great, grand, and wonderful new things out there that are revolutionizing the way you do installs". I may or may not already be using them or aware of them, but I am simply trying to be as prepared as possible.
Another point I should make is that the area is saturated with people who call themselves landscapers, but they are simply lawn maintenance crews who say they can do it all. I, on the other hand, do a select grouping of mainenance, but mostly I am a designer and installer of landscaping (fieldstone, flagstone, irrigation, pavers, etc. etc.).
Finally, the budget is no concern to the client. However given the size of the property, there will be a limit as to how much can go into the project, thus capping the cost at whatever that may be.
I am filled this year for work, and the client wants the project done in the spring. He is just moving into the home this month, and is having the interior redone this year. He only wants so much commotion at a time.
He has hired me to do the project because this is the exact type of work that I specialize in. I installed the landscaping for his office, which was about two months solo. I keep my money close, and select number of clients happy.
And, of course I will have a contract. I don't work without a contract and deposit. I have been hired to do the design at an agreed price, and we will get to the contract when a design is agreed upon.
So, again, the real question was not intended to open up a can of worms as to whether i know what I am doing.. The question was intended to bring out things like Rain Bird emitters, (which I do use and have for years). I suppose I will have to revisit this when the design comes a little further along, and I need input on certain areas.

Henry
06-01-2007, 06:59 AM
I'll need a $100k retainer to get the creative juices flowing.

Stillwater
06-05-2007, 01:47 AM
Unlimited budget? No such thing. :rolleyes:

Ah... You might be takeing the term Unlimited budget literally. But in reality I could also say that several of my regular customers have mind blowing crazy money where their pockets are so deep they can only be measured with quantum physics and when it comes to landscapeing their is no govener on me or my billing.

Stillwater
06-05-2007, 02:01 AM
I have a job coming up next spring, and i'd like to give a little background and get some ideas. I will be a one- man crew (as always), and the property is mostly wooded. I will be tearing out all existing landscaping and starting fresh. There will need to be irrigation, lighting, pavers, retaining walls, steps, plants (everything). This is a job that has an unlimited budget, and I will likely be there for half the year.

The ideas I am looking for are things like this:
Are there any cutting edge materials, systems, methods that some of you now swear by, or wish they could use, but nobody seems to have the budget? I am considering doing a gridwork of netafim dripline for all of the irrigation. I will likely use kichler lighting, but would like interesting ideas in using the lighting (i will visit the forum).
What about the Wright stair system? anyone had luck with that at all?

I guess I'm just looking for something aside from the norm. If anyone has any products or methods that always turn out fantastic, i'd like to know more about it.
Honestly, this job would be great for manufacturers to get to show off their product lines, etc. let me know what you think!


I know this is not the info you want but I will say it anyway, you may already know this but takeing a job like this being solo is dangerious for a dozen reasons, One reason alone is that it could damage your current customer base if you have one.

sheshovel
06-05-2007, 04:36 AM
Unlimited budget? No such thing. :rolleyes:

I agree with that statement!

sheshovel
06-05-2007, 04:46 AM
I know this is not the info you want but I will say it anyway, you may already know this but takeing a job like this being solo is dangerious for a dozen reasons, One reason alone is that it could damage your current customer base if you have one.


Not dangerous at all, I do it all the time very close to how he does it.
ALGA, I do not use netafim either. I don't use normal emmitors anymore either. I prefer Dial-A-Flow Shrubblers for all my drip irrigation installations. They are fully adjustable and cleanable, they water the whole rootball not just one side of the plant and they adapt well to the plants future growth. Regular drip emmitors have to be added to when the plantings get larger and I have seen them put in so close to the new plants that they end up being grown over by the root ball.
I punch Shrubblers in directly on top of the .007 dripline and pin the line down where I want it to be throughout the plantings.. I only use 1/4'' distributor line when absolutely necessary. I have found this eliminates many future drip irrigation problems.

NCLCRB #1370
06-05-2007, 02:53 PM
Hire out subs man and still make the money. Just remember that we are not here for a long time, just a good time!

Humble Earth Mover
06-05-2007, 04:09 PM
I would go with curved masonry walls & real stone veneer with flamed sill stock caps. For the flat work, go with Montauk Slate if wet laid, or high end travertine if dry laid. Stay away from pavers.

mrusk
06-05-2007, 09:54 PM
I would go with curved masonry walls & real stone veneer with flamed sill stock caps. For the flat work, go with Montauk Slate if wet laid, or high end travertine if dry laid. Stay away from pavers.


I am dry laying some Montauk Bluestone on a job i am doing. It is the absoulte most gorgous stuff i have ever worked with.

phototropic1
06-05-2007, 10:20 PM
Hire out subs man and still make the money. Just remember that we are not here for a long time, just a good time!

I agree, but a good time means different things to all of us. Personally, I enjoy the entire process of a project, from planning down to digging a trench with a shovel. If I was simply making the money, I'd be bored stiff (although I have no aversion to making some. :) ) Milsinc might feel the same way.

I concur with the others that advise using natural products for walks and walls. Natural stone is where it's at in my book!

mcclureandson
06-06-2007, 06:46 AM
Seems fishy to me...I can't imagine a one-man operation doing even a small (5-6K) install efficiently. Having an 'unlimited' budget is one thing - but nobody with that kind of money wants to pay for the hassle and inconvenience of having a 1-2 month job take half a year...why should they? If you're actually doing some of the work (as you said...you enjoy every aspect from the planning to digging a trench with a shovel) then I don't understand how you keep any clients on these 'large' installs. "Hey Bob...how's that 80k landscape install going over at your million dollar house?" "Fine...I can see the company owner/laborer/irrigation tech/water feature expert/lighting expert/poolboy hand-digging for the valve boxes...three more months and it'll look great!" I agree with what others have said...1) meet with client 2) get plans from LA 3) set up budget/contract and draw schedule 4) line up subs 5) supervise and stay away from the shovels! I starting growing my business and making alot more money once I realized the best use of my time is in my truck/office and/or on the phone and jobsite supervising...I'm grossing 60k/monthly now with a small crew...(22-30% net) something you can't do alone. Good luck with the project.