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do any of you landscape solo?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Lance L, Nov 11, 2003.

  1. Lance L

    Lance L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 330

    do any of you do landscaping by yourself? i was just curious ive always held out on it because i dont think i could get much done in a decent amount of time by myself. i mean besides mulching beds and maybe adding a flower bed but what about a complete makeover, new beds for the front of a house with edging and all...

    anyone pull stuff like that off by yourself?

    i keep getting told to just dive in and get started... not that i really know where to start haha ive only done one small bed... well was 50 ft long and about 4 ft deep...
  2. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Posts: 1,878

    Look at my post in this section called "Recent Job". I have some pics of my latest landscaping job. Kind of relevent to your question, because I did most of it by myself. I had a helper ( yeah, helper...right!) but he stood around doing nothing. Let him go the first day. I had actual help for four hours on this job, from a friend. The other guy did maybe 2 hours worth of work. Unloading mostly. So, yes, you can do much alone, with less stress than working with a helpless helper. Don't get me wrong, I would have rather had good help, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

  3. blafleur

    blafleur LawnSite Member
    Posts: 229

    I do design/installs only, and work by myself 95% of the time. I do it part time, and I dont want the headache of trying to keep a crew busy full time, and dealing with personnel issues.

    There is a niche for mostly smaller residential work that most large companies cant do cost effieciently, that you can alone. I dont take on large estates, and dont do large trees (larger than 45 gallon). But other than that, there are very few residential jobs I cant handle (I also am in the DFW area). During my busy times (spring and fall) I will hire some of my fireman coworkers to help me if I get behind. I pay them well but they are good hands, and I trust them. It is a selling point that you the contact person, also does the work, not dropping a crew who dont speak english by.

    If you havent done much installation work, starting out with the things you talked about is a good way to go. Once you learn the tricks and become more efficient, the larger jobs wont be so intimidating. Get a good source for your materials, learn what plants work well here, look at landscapes to get the feel for the design, and as you were told, jump in. If you are going to be doing this as a primary source of income, you would probably have to go into on a larger scale.

    Good luck,
  4. newleaflandscape

    newleaflandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 348

    I started on my own. I did everything from retaining walls to ponds to simple landscape installs. The key to doing it by yourself is equipment. I now have guys helping me, but the only reason was that I couldnt keep up with all the work. When I say equipment I mean excavators, dingos, skids, one man augers. Instead of spending the money on help spend it on equipment. Even if you rent the equipment it is cheaper to rent it, then it is to pay some lazy piece of crap to help you, not to mention what you save on liability insurance, workmans comp, fica fuda and all that stuff. My first year I had one guy help me with moving stuff like big boulders or trees I couldnt possibly do by myself. He probly helped me about twice a month. I paid him under the table. But yes it is extremely easy to get it done on your own. I swear sometimes too that you will get more done on your own then if you have one helper, simply because there is no conversation. Conversation slows productivity. Actually I was able to do a twenty thousand dollar landscape install completly by myself in 16 days. Something I remind my current workers of quite often. If you are motivated and a hard worker you should have no problem.
  5. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    I do 95% of my installs by myself from the small flower beds to new home installs. Ive got the right equipment that takes place of several employees and i can do a new house install by myself in a day and a half.
  6. lost mountain

    lost mountain LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    Not trying to be arrogant here but let me ask a question: Am I going to get the following done in 2.5 days by myself?

    11 Lady Banks Rose - 5 gal.
    3 Siberian Iris - 1 gal.
    5 Magnolia grandiflora - 'Little Gem' - 30 gal.
    10 Spirea - 'Goldmound' - 3 gal.
    16 Loropetalum chinense - 3 gal.
    3 Magnolia grandiflora - 'MGTIG' - 30 gal.
    36 Daylily - 'Happy Returns' - 1 gal.
    1 Butterfly Bush - 3 gal.
    5 Snowhill Hydrangea - 'Annabelle' - 3 gal.
    11 Euonymus fortunei - ' Emerald Gaiety' - 2 gal.
    7 Hybrid Rhododendron - 'Roseum Elegans' - 7 gal.
    11 Encore Azalea - 'Autumn Empress' - 3 gal.
    5 Variegated Hosta -''Francee' - 1 gal.
    5 Variegated Hosta -''Antioch' - 1 gal.
    5 Variegated Hosta - 'Frances Williams' - 1 gal.
    15 Indian Azalea - 'George Tabor' - 7 gal.
    7 Indian Azalea - 'Formosa' - 7 gal.
    5 Pachysandra per flat/18
    5 Variegated Vinca major per flat/18
    7 Canadian Hemlock 6-7' B+B
    25 Soil Conditoner per 2 cubic ft. bag
    5 Peat Moss per bale
    1 Sand per ton
    1 Gravel - #57. per ton
    Planting Labor
    Treework (4 trees removed)
    7 6X6 timbers, rebar, spikes, labor
  7. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Posts: 1,878

    Sure. Rent an auger for the planting, and it will save you plenty of time.
  8. lost mountain

    lost mountain LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    Rent an auger! You'll be done by lunch! :p No way. It took a crew of 4 (not counting myself) 2 full days w/o auger. The 0.5 day was me alone on the timber work and some additional odds and ends.
  9. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Posts: 1,878

    Sorry, was looking at planting only.
  10. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    I have done many smaller installs by myself. Not a problem. Although I do prefer a helper if all he does is set plants, cleanup, bring the mulch, etc. I have a retired guy who works with me on this kind of stuff when the college kids are unavailable.

    We do about 5 large stone installs a year....and those I will not even think of doing myself. Usually I have 2 or 3 grunts and me for a stone job.

    But yes you can do installs solo. If you dont have a 2 wheeled dolly, get one....I have one that comes apart and acts like a cart with a handle.....save alot of strenuous carrying of material.

    As mentioned above, use equipment to help you

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