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View Full Version : what would be the best garden center setup???


swing blade
05-25-2003, 11:12 AM
Ok I am seriously thinking about purchasing some land and starting a garden center to work my landscaping biz out of. What i want to know is how much land do you think I would need, what things should I have on site; things like mulch, gravel, topsoil, a good supply of water, etc. I work mainly for small commercial businesses and medium to high end residential in the 250k to 800k range. The customers want an instant garden where they do not have to wait for things to grow to look good. I do a lot of shrubs and trees, so i do not know how much space i should alot for them. I am thinking probably 2 greenhouses for the flowers and such. I am also thinking of a barn/office in the 30*60*16 size. I have 2 bobcats 2 dumps and a pickup that I want garaged. I also have some trailers ( 3 ) and a tractor with loader. let me know if you guys can think of any ideas, or even describe your dream site.

Thanks

swing blade

LA LAWNS
05-25-2003, 01:30 PM
the bigger the better. check into buying land with the option of purchasing additional adjoining acerage later down the road. I dont own any land but this seems logical to me...LA LAWNS

fblandscape
05-25-2003, 04:48 PM
What services do you offer? Do you want to make your own mulch, or screen your own loam? Do you want to get into custom soil blends? If so, those things all take a lot of room to do because of the various piles, room for machinery, etc. Do you spray? If so you are going to want to plumb your building with a couple of probably 3 - 4" diameter water lines for easy tank filling. Do you want to be involved with firewood? That takes room as well. Excavation? You're definately going to want areas with different amounts of light for plants with different requirements. Probably a facility to store pesticides. Some form of meeting room for your crews, and a sales area for customers. Also if you're really wanting to get into this, a demonstration garden or two that you can use to showcase your work.

Basically, what services do you want to offer, and to what extent do you want to offer them?

Sean Adams
05-25-2003, 04:53 PM
I know this has been discussed in the past at this site, and I'm almost positive there were some great conversations with a lot of "do's" and "dont's"... check the search feature.

I like fblandscape's idea about a display area to show your work, especially if you are looking to generate sales for your installation business.

I do know that if you are planning on putting this in an area with upper-end homeowners, you should definitely have bagged mulch and soil. Sounds funny but I know a guy who sells so much of this stuff bagged because there are more "do it yourself" types than before. They, for some reason prefer to buy 20 bags of mulch to put in their SUV than have a dump come and drop how ever many yards thery need.

Good money maker...small and simple, but still good money.

BSDeality
05-25-2003, 06:11 PM
There's a garden center I visit thats sitting on about an acre of land and he's got probably 5 greenhouses plus a shop/barn. It's a little cramped, but he does pretty well. He doesn't do mulch/soil/gravel though.

Sean Adam's has it dead on, I finished up a home owners putting green this spring and i needed some playground sand for the sand trap. I went down to a mulch place who said they had bagged sand, (i didn't have a trailer/dump to just take bulk). I went down to pick it up and it was like $3.50/bag for 50# bags. I needed 36 of them, so it was $126 plus tax. I said i'd have to think about it. I went home and built a homemade insert for my trailer out of some 2x4's and a 8x8 tarp with a ratchet strap to hold it inside. I went back to the place and took 1/2 yd of sand (about 36 bags) home for $21.

Most people (consumers) don't even think about the HUUUUGE price difference there is between bulk and bagged.

Good luck.

NCSULandscaper
05-25-2003, 06:51 PM
I am about to start a field nursery where i can grow all of my own B&B trees and shrubs. I have about 2 acres worth of field and guestimate i can get about 1000 shrubs or trees to the acre. All i want to grow is the trees and shrubs that i use the most in my landscape installs. I already have my water source and truck access to the fields so its ready to go.

Clay
05-25-2003, 06:55 PM
http://www.avalawnlandscaping.com/

Give Erich a call... He is nearby and can give you all the lowdown you will need...

Good Luck, Clay

kris
05-25-2003, 07:08 PM
We have over 20 acres ... 4 acres of covered greenhouses. A large construction shop.
The greenhouse/garden center is run completely separate. That portion sells just about everything you could think of.

Down at the construction shop we have our 6 offices and a construction display area (also under a portion of a covered greenhouse) we built last fall. In our yard for construction we keep our own supply of loam, sand, crushed stone, boulders couple other sizes of rainbow rock, mulch that we buy in at 150 yards per time and an irrigated area for shrubs that we order in weekly for the upcoming jobs.

NNJLandman
05-25-2003, 09:10 PM
I work at a garden center owned by a Landscaper. He has shrubs, full size trees, all sorts of trees, perennials, mulch, stone, pavers, soil.....a bunch of things. This is great cuz come time to do design for a customer for a landscape hardscape job they can come on down and talk with him and pick out everything he can lay everything out and if they don't like something he can change it right there, order things, everything. Its a perfect setup and then of course he can sell the stuff to other contractors which he does and other citizens. Any type of material you use on a job you want to try to have at your center.

If you have any questions, pm me.

fblandscape
05-25-2003, 09:23 PM
Do you have a designer? That is a skill which is really good to have. Because even if you don't sell the install to the people, you can still sell the design, or set your nursery apart from the others in the area by being able to offer the ability to design for your customers.

swing blade
05-25-2003, 10:49 PM
thank you all for the advice. there seems to be a lot of info here om this subject. I am going to keep researching it and determine exactly what services we will end up doing before i decide. i am thinking that 3-5 acres sounds about right. I will keep you all informed.

thanks again
swing blade

Mike Bradbury
05-26-2003, 01:34 AM
Originally posted by BSDeality
There's a garden center I visit thats sitting on about an acre of land and he's got probably 5 greenhouses plus a shop/barn. It's a little cramped, but he does pretty well. He doesn't do mulch/soil/gravel though.

Sean Adam's has it dead on, I finished up a home owners putting green this spring and i needed some playground sand for the sand trap. I went down to a mulch place who said they had bagged sand, (i didn't have a trailer/dump to just take bulk). I went down to pick it up and it was like $3.50/bag for 50# bags. I needed 36 of them, so it was $126 plus tax. I said i'd have to think about it. I went home and built a homemade insert for my trailer out of some 2x4's and a 8x8 tarp with a ratchet strap to hold it inside. I went back to the place and took 1/2 yd of sand (about 36 bags) home for $21.

Most people (consumers) don't even think about the HUUUUGE price difference there is between bulk and bagged.



Good luck.


Bagged cyprus is the same per yard bagged or bulk here.

JTHutch
05-27-2003, 05:55 PM
I don't know how any garden center can compete with the walmarts and Home Depots on bagged mulch. They only mark up the cypress mulch by a penny a bag. It's hard to compete when if you loose one bag (it rips or hit it with something) it takes 300 bags to make up the loss of that one bag. It's just to bring in customers for them. In fact that is were I buy my cypress mulch I can get it cheaper there than my wholsaler. But I can't buy in large quantities due to space restrictions.