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View Full Version : My last project as a landscaper


Lite4
07-19-2008, 03:29 AM
I finally took some pics of my very last project I completed as a landscape designer/installer. One hour after all the dirt swept up from this job I turned in my keys, credit card and truck and officially went out on my own to do lighting only. This was a fun project. I will miss it. This is about 3 months after it was installed and no I did not put those Gay looking solar lights there.

cooltype
07-19-2008, 09:39 AM
that looks really good. gives it a real clean look

Clapper&Company
07-19-2008, 09:45 AM
Looks good man

Smokey03
07-19-2008, 06:58 PM
Nice job on the water feature and the stamped concrete.Good to see something other than pavers on this site. Great job.

JFF
07-19-2008, 07:25 PM
That is sweet. Excellent look, I'll bet it is easy to care for.

Nice job.

Lite4
07-19-2008, 07:44 PM
Yeah very easy. It is virtually maintenance free. Thanks for all the nice comments guys. I have seen a lot of really nice work on this forum, so that means a lot coming from you guys.

Lawnworks
07-19-2008, 10:35 PM
I like the rock placement on the waterfall. Do you have any idea what the increase on the power bill would be for running that thing?

Good luck to you on your business.

ANC Stone Creations
07-19-2008, 10:41 PM
I love the type of rock you used, looks like the stuff I get from eastern Washington.
Basalt with lichens adds a nice natural look, as if it had been there for years.

DSLND
07-19-2008, 11:11 PM
I wish more people would do jobs this way.

The natural look in this is what I like most. Anyone can stack some bricks and make a water feature, but that job just looks plain spectacular!

Very Good Work!

-Mitch-

oakwdman
07-20-2008, 12:23 AM
that water feature looks like it was there before the house! One of the best i have ever seen. Awesome job, that is definatley something to be proud of!

Lite4
07-20-2008, 12:55 AM
I like the rock placement on the waterfall. Do you have any idea what the increase on the power bill would be for running that thing?

Good luck to you on your business.

Yeah, probably about 15-20 bucks a month tops. I set a controler to operate it for 2 hours in the morning before they go to work and then it kicks on again at 4:45 p.m. and runs until about 2 a.m.

I have always enjoyed doing water features. I am very picky when choosing stones at the rock yard. I assemble it in my mind with the stones I have chosen at the yard and then take them back and stick them in their preconceived spaces. Most of the time this works pretty well. Who knows, if I can hand pick my projects I may do another one some day for the right client.

Lawnworks
07-20-2008, 07:59 AM
I was under the impression that the waterfall needs to run at all times... otherwise you will have to keep adding water everytime you kick it on.

Hortus
07-20-2008, 09:36 AM
Right on Tim, looks fantastic!! Lovin' the use of different textures, colors and surfaces. Compliments each other nicely.

tthomass
07-20-2008, 10:28 AM
If you are getting projects like this one and have the demand for lighting............why not run two crews? One lighting, one construction.

Lite4
07-20-2008, 10:49 AM
I was under the impression that the waterfall needs to run at all times... otherwise you will have to keep adding water everytime you kick it on.

I believe running the waterfall all the time is mainly for waterfalls with ponds incorportated into them. They leave the falls on constantly so you are always filtering if you are using a skimmer and biofalls. I guess I am not familiar with how that reasoning carries over into a pondless though. The vault for this one is 5' x 6' x 5' deep. It has an autofill valve located about halfway down inside the pump vault so filling it with a hose is unnecessary. It also has plenty of room for recapture of the excess water volume. I actually prefer to turn it off in the heat of the afternoon because it keeps the algae growth down. The hot summer sun dries out and kills it. Besides, why have it running and wasting money when you are at work and not there to see it anyway?

Lite4
07-20-2008, 10:57 AM
If you are getting projects like this one and have the demand for lighting............why not run two crews? One lighting, one construction.

Right now my overhead is so low that I can weather this slow down a little easier and with less stress without having to worry about employees. I am still just very small as I am starting out. Landscaping requires a lot of equipment and expense even if the trucks and equipment are just sitting in the yard.

tthomass
07-20-2008, 11:48 AM
Right now my overhead is so low that I can weather this slow down a little easier and with less stress without having to worry about employees. I am still just very small as I am starting out. Landscaping requires a lot of equipment and expense even if the trucks and equipment are just sitting in the yard.

Certainly right on the equipment. For our size we have a lot of dang equipment.....I often think of other businesses I could run without the expense of the equipment I have.

If things are slowing down though, wouldn't you want to be able to offer both? For marketing you could run it as two businesses but if your landscape business is well known I would use its name to get out that you do lighting also.

Sounds like you may be in the position I am in. You bascially do everything and don't have the ability to step away from a job and let it be run entirely (or close) by someone else and limiting yourself to be able to grow. Wow, I just made myself sound bad. I'm going to pull through this fall and plan to hit spring with a foreman as capable or dang close to me. Pull myself out of the field here and there as I want/need.

Omaha Lawnguy
07-20-2008, 01:33 PM
Sounds like you may be in the position I am in. You bascially do everything and don't have the ability to step away from a job and let it be run entirely (or close) by someone else and limiting yourself to be able to grow.

I'm in that same boat, didn't think I could afford to hire anyone this year. By the time I realized I had to there was no experienced workers left. Now things are quite slower and I'm not sure what to do with the 2 college kids I hired. They go back to school in a month anways, but what about the meantime. I had considered using temps. Maybe that is the way I should've gone. Next year I'll look for experienced help early.

Lawnworks
07-20-2008, 02:03 PM
I believe running the waterfall all the time is mainly for waterfalls with ponds incorportated into them. They leave the falls on constantly so you are always filtering if you are using a skimmer and biofalls. I guess I am not familiar with how that reasoning carries over into a pondless though. The vault for this one is 5' x 6' x 5' deep. It has an autofill valve located about halfway down inside the pump vault so filling it with a hose is unnecessary. It also has plenty of room for recapture of the excess water volume. I actually prefer to turn it off in the heat of the afternoon because it keeps the algae growth down. The hot summer sun dries out and kills it. Besides, why have it running and wasting money when you are at work and not there to see it anyway?

Cool... I want to build one for my house, but I have heard the horror stories of the gigantic power bill. One of my guys who used to be a foreman for a water-fall construction company said I could not cut it off during the night... sounds like if I go pondless it will be possible to only run it during the day and save on the power bill.

bjlawnman
07-20-2008, 02:19 PM
Are those tiger eye trees in the backround?

ANC Stone Creations
07-20-2008, 04:49 PM
You don't really have to worry about leaving the streams and falls running without fish.

ANC Stone Creations
07-20-2008, 05:04 PM
What type of filteration system are you using on the pondless and pond applications?

You guys should check out filtrific @ berkeysupply.com

There products are like no others as well as there customer service.

ANC Stone Creations
07-20-2008, 05:09 PM
Oh, did I mention they offer free shipping in the usa.

Lite4
07-20-2008, 05:11 PM
Are those tiger eye trees in the backround?

Affirmative. Tiger's eye Sumac. Very pretty accent shrub in the summer when they start to get a little pinkish red on the yellow.

Lite4
07-20-2008, 05:14 PM
If things are slowing down though, wouldn't you want to be able to offer both? For marketing you could run it as two businesses but if your landscape business is well known I would use its name to get out that you do lighting also.

The landscape company was not my own. I did all the design for the company and was over the residential and light commercial division. I had 2 crews and would work in the field with them. I was the brains, they were the braun, so to speak.

Lite4
07-20-2008, 05:21 PM
What type of filteration system are you using on the pondless and pond applications?

You guys should check out filtrific @ berkeysupply.com

There products are like no others as well as there customer service.

I designed and created my own system for pondless features. Works every bit as well as the consumer varieties, but mine only cost about 40 bucks per feature. I also do the outlet on my water features a bit different than most, but it also makes them look a lot more natural. I got tired of paying ridiculous prices for something so simple on the pondless side and I don't like the look of the biofalls outlets. They just look wrong.

klkanders
07-20-2008, 05:29 PM
Hey Tim,
Nice looking job as always and I wish you the best of luck on the lighting only! Seeing your demo's and work tho I know you will do fine.
I predict you will not be able to stay away from landscaping entirely especially the water features. :)
So did you have another truck already or is the cycle your only transportation? :)

Take Care,
Keith

ANC Stone Creations
07-20-2008, 05:50 PM
I would like to check out the system you are building.

What are you using for the filter?

Is it easy to access?

Lite4
07-20-2008, 06:03 PM
Hey Tim,
Nice looking job as always and I wish you the best of luck on the lighting only! Seeing your demo's and work tho I know you will do fine.
I predict you will not be able to stay away from landscaping entirely especially the water features. :)
So did you have another truck already or is the cycle your only transportation? :)

Take Care,
Keith

No the cycle is just something I am kicking around for running around or estimates only to save some gas. I have a 2001 Dodge Dakota Sport, Quad cab for construction and installations. I am a little worried about my image to potential customers with the cycle. I think they will get it, with the logos on the cargo pull trailer behind it and all, but 1st impressions are the lasting ones and I would hate to lose a job over it. I am just going to have to be careful about approaching it right.
It will be hard to stay away from water features. I would probably do it if the job was right and they were willing to pay well for it.

Lite4
07-20-2008, 06:06 PM
I would like to check out the system you are building.

What are you using for the filter?

Is it easy to access?

I will see if I can dig up my spec drawing for it. Access is extremely easy. In a pondless system, the stratified gravel sizes and layers do the bulk of the filtering from leaves and debris.

Omaha Lawnguy
07-21-2008, 09:48 AM
I'd be very interested in seeing your lower priced set up. I agree I think (from the pictures) that your outlets look completely natural.

Are there 3 seperate outlets on this feature? Looks like a couple pooling areas near the top left and center, and 1 outlet on the right w/o a pooling area.

mverick
07-21-2008, 10:07 AM
Looks really great. We do a lot of this with the stamped concrete.

We do open pit fireplaces though. I'm not big on the outdoor fireplaces unless they are done large and with hand laid brick.

mverick
07-21-2008, 10:38 AM
I finally took some pics of my very last project I completed as a landscape designer/installer. One hour after all the dirt swept up from this job I turned in my keys, credit card and truck and officially went out on my own to do lighting only. This was a fun project. I will miss it. This is about 3 months after it was installed and no I did not put those Gay looking solar lights there.

Oh,

How did you get the concrete back there? Pumper? Poured all at once or in sections? Walls stacked on concrete pad?

We've been having problems with concrete setting up to fast. Never had the problem before and it's from one plant only. Looking at using ******ants which I've never used before.

We use bobcats with concrete buckets and a couple of Concrete buggies. But we stamp paterns and it takes longer for the stamping.

Fast set up cost me 2 pours at the same place. With color around $8000 total loss with labor. I've gotta start using ******ants. Can't do that again. lol..

Lite4
07-21-2008, 10:58 AM
Oh,

How did you get the concrete back there? Pumper? Poured all at once or in sections? Walls stacked on concrete pad?

We've been having problems with concrete setting up to fast. Never had the problem before and it's from one plant only. Looking at using ******ants which I've never used before.

We use bobcats with concrete buckets and a couple of Concrete buggies. But we stamp paterns and it takes longer for the stamping.

Fast set up cost me 2 pours at the same place. With color around $8000 total loss with labor. I've gotta start using ******ants. Can't do that again. lol..

We used a pump truck and stretched it over the top of the house. By the time we were ready for mud, we had too much of the landscape in place and couldn't get a machine in there any more.
We extened the concrete back under the wall. It is 6" thick on that part of it. We set it on the concrete because not only does it give it a clean look but wow, talk about fast base prep.

Lite4
07-21-2008, 11:01 AM
I'd be very interested in seeing your lower priced set up. I agree I think (from the pictures) that your outlets look completely natural.

Are there 3 seperate outlets on this feature? Looks like a couple pooling areas near the top left and center, and 1 outlet on the right w/o a pooling area.

You are exactly right. 2 outlets are like you said, "pooling" type areas in the middle and on the left. The large boulder on the right sitting up high is core drilled and constitutes the 3rd outlet. I will draw up a couple of quick diagrams and post them up here later for you.

Lite4
07-21-2008, 01:08 PM
OK, here is a quick drawing in a PDF for you. I am sorry, I forgot to scale it. The pump vaults will range from 3' - 6' deep depending on pumping volume needed and recovery area needed, so base this drawing on about a 4-5' deep wet well.
The waterfall top outlet is pretty self explanatory. The start basin is really just about a 2' deep hole that is lined and filled with 1"-2" smooth stones. The water just fills from the bottom and spills out over the rocks very smoothly, unlike a lot I have seen with pipes dead ending under rocks and shooting water out in an unnatural way. Hope this helps, let me know if you have any Qs.

Lite4
07-26-2008, 06:59 PM
Omaha lawnguy,
Did you have any Qs about the drawings for the wet well setup or waterfall outlets?

allinearth
07-26-2008, 10:00 PM
I have wanted to find a way to calculate how large the basin needs to be. I can calculate the water in the stream, and the reservoir at the bottom but does anyone know how to calculate how much room the stone will take up? I have set up pondless systems similar to firefly and they work quite well. I put a small auto fill in a 10" valve box and put it in the basin.

MarcusLndscp
07-27-2008, 07:34 PM
Firefly
What is a bulkhead fitting????
Thanks in advance
Marcus

ANC Stone Creations
07-27-2008, 09:00 PM
The rock will take up 80%, so for example a 6' x 6' x 3' = 108 x 7.48 = 807.84 gallons x .2 = 161.57 gallons.

The volume you will have is 20% because rock will take up 80%.

Hope this helps you.

ANC Stone Creations
07-27-2008, 09:12 PM
When I build pondless features, I line the bottom with 12" plastic culvert pipe to give me more volume of water.

I do not recommend using an auto-fill valve for a couple of reasons.

1) They sometimes malfunction thus causing your customer a huge water bill and flood the neighborhood. ( I have seen it happen )
2) How do you tell if the water feature has a leak with an auto-fill valve?

Lite4
07-28-2008, 02:04 AM
ANC- Your calculations on the rock are very static. If you use 12" + river cobble in the base of your vault the spaces between the rocks are larger thus giving you a much greater capacity than with the straight medium sized river rock you are calculating for.
On the autofill issue. You just simply are using the wrong autofill valve. Do not use the ones that resemble a toilet fill. You must use a fixed valve like the Hudson. Nearly every single "toilet bowl" type autofill I have used has failed. On the contrary though, every hudson valve I have installed (nearly 70 or more) has performed flawlessly to date. Going on 5 years + on the hudsons. You really need to try them. Besides, what does a burned up pump cost from all your water evaporating?
To answer your questions on the autofill:
1. the majority of people here are on pressurized irrigation and it is all covered in their HOA dues for unlimited supply. Besides you are not going to have a catastrophe if you use the right valve.
2. To check if you have a leak, you would check it just like a pond. First turn off the ball valve that controls the autofill. Take the lid off and check static waterlevel over a 24-48 hour period. Pretty elementary stuff.