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advice on tear out and install

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by LHLawns, Jul 13, 2004.

  1. LHLawns

    LHLawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    Hey ya'll,
    I've been at the maintenance and light landscaping side of the business for five years now. I've been itching to get into the landscape install side of the business and I've got my first opportunity. One of my clients wants to tear everything out and start over. I am fairly sure about how to price and accomplish the tear out, but I am a bit nervous about the landscape design part and the actual install. I've been to several nurseries around and the sheer volume of different kinds of plants seems daunting. So, how did you guys do your first install? Design yourself, copy another home or photo, pay someone, etc? I am open to any advice. I have attached some pics of the house. FYI, the beds are 12 ft. at the widest and 7 ft. at the narrowest. The area gets full morning sun and afternoon shade. I am located in zone 6, also the customer wants something low maintenance. Thanks for any help in advance.

    Attached Files:

  2. LHLawns

    LHLawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    if anyone can tell me how to post the pics so everyone can see them i will

    Attached Files:

  3. LHLawns

    LHLawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    hopefully this will work

  4. LHLawns

    LHLawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    here is another view

  5. LHLawns

    LHLawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    the last one to hopefully tie it together

  6. SouthernFried

    SouthernFried LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 273

    First...get rid of that tree right next to the house. Its' root system will screw up the foundation...it should not be that close.

    As far as plant material and design. I don't know your area of the country well, I'm in zone 9 with extremely alkaline soil...so, the plants I use prolly will be nothing like what you need.

    When I first started doing landscapes here in Texas, the first thing I did, was get Neil Sperry's landscaping for Texas book. He is sorta the "guru" of Texas Gardening. That book was invaluable, and it really didn't take me long to figure stuff out. It was full of advice for plants, as well as designs.

    Ask around, and find the best landscaping book for your part of the country.

    I would also suggest looking at commercial properties, and figuring out what plants they use. They usually plant the most hardy and least maintenance stuff because they have to take care of it afterwards, and generally, they know what they are doing.

    I know exactly what I would do with that house if it was in Texas. And even in an area I'm not familiar with plants...I would prolly design it the same, but use different plant material appropriate for that climate.

    Find a good book, and learn...and you'll be amazed how much ahead of the game you are from most competitors. Every property I bid on, I can tell them exactly what plants they have, how they grown, what care they need, etc...Give me confidence and shows the customer that I actually know what I'm talking about.

    Good luck
  7. SouthernFried

    SouthernFried LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 273

    Oh, and find a COMMERCIAL nursery. They have the plants that commercial installers use. Most local nurseries carry every type of fru-fru plant imagineable, from house plants to orchids.

    Every year here, the local nurseries carry gazillions of Azaleas when they are blooming...and people buy them by the dozens.

    Problem is, Azaleas don't grow worth a damn in our Alkaline soil, they need acidic soil. So after about 2 yrs, the damn things yellow and die and I'm cutting them out constantantly. Same thing with Photinia Frazers (red tips). Everyone around here has tall Photinia hedges, and the most common landscaping question I get is..."why do my Photinias have spots and are yellowing?"


    Anyway, a good commercial nursery will be invaluable to you. Tho, they may not like answering a lotta questions...they expect you to know what your doing. Just tell them you want to look at their stock for a job, and walk around. Those plants are prolly the ones you want to use. Take your book, and Identify them.

    Have fun man!
  8. Lawn Dog2001

    Lawn Dog2001 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,027

    I dont know much about your climate, but it looks like a fun and profitable project if you bid it right. It looks like there are dwarf alberta spruce trees on both sides of the front entrance way. I like that, only they are overgrown. A good idea would be to install two new ones. They would be younger, healthier and have a lot better shape to them. Along the outside I think a row of evenly spaced out ornamental grasses would be nice. I really like varigated sweet flag. They only get to be about 10" tall so they are perfect for use as your first row in a new landscape.

    I dont really know your zone, but your options are limitless on the rest of your plantings. It looks like the landscape that is there was a pretty professional job before it got overgrown. Take some notes on plant spacing from the landscape thats there.

    Also with the color of the brick on the house, i think some strategicly place boulders would be really nice. Also I would use the dyed double shredded choclate mulch to cover the beds. That color would look very nice with that house.

    Just a few obsevations. I good garden center will be able to give you some great ideas on different plantings. Make sure not to underbid! Without even thinking about it I know i would be over 3 grand for the project. Hope any of that helped.
  9. LHLawns

    LHLawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    Thanks for the suggestions. Does anyone know a good landscape design book for zone 6?
  10. qualitylandscaping

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,581

    It looks like evergreens are in there now. If they like evergreens, try something like this..

    We did this job about a month ago

    picture 47362.jpg

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