Help please with planting bed install.

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Navig8r, Jul 22, 2003.

  1. Navig8r

    Navig8r LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 477

    I am giving an estimate on installing 2 planting beds for a mowing customer of mine...... the beds will be approx 12'x 9' each.. located on either side of the driveway at the street.

    I will rent a sod cutter to remove the sod ($65.00 if full day rental), and I have a tiller available to me at no charge, but would like to be able to give a few bucks to it's owner for it's use
    Good top soil in this property is non-existant, so I will mix in some top soil and peat when tilling.

    I have figured the following.......
    Cut sod, remove sod and rocks / debris; till soil, including spreading top soil and peat..... (~4 man hours total.)

    Spread mulch (approx 3 yds) (~1.5 man hours)

    Plant the following:
    2 Sand Cherries (2 gallon)
    4 Holly (2 gallon)
    4 bunches of grass
    6 dwarf japanese Junipers (1 gal.)
    (This is total plantings for both beds) ~3.5-4.0 man hours

    I also figure time for layout with customer, final edging, cleanup, and pick up of plants will be ~3.5 hrs.

    My Costs are as follows:

    All plants: $440.00
    Peat: $53.00
    Mulch: $130.00 delivered to site.
    Sod Cutter rental: $65.00

    I do not yet have a cost for top soil....

    My figure at this point is a price for the customer of $1300.00
    I have included a small mark-up on all materials, and my best guess at labor.

    This does not include the topsoil (obviously, since I have not priced it yet)

    Tear me up guys..... am I even close?:confused:

    Thanks for readin this long post, and thanks in advance for any help!
  2. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    If the plants and material costs are what you paid for it, then i would double that price and charge $65 per man hour. plus a delivery and freight charge for picking up plants and getting supplies together.

    $1376 for materials
    $487.50 for labor
    $50 equipment/supplies/freight charge
    plus topsoil

    I would charge $2,000

    If your material costs include your markup then the total would be:
  3. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Posts: 1,647

    I would be at the higher end. Aroung the $2,000.00
    And would use larger than 1 gal plants.

    I add compost to what your doing and treflan before mulching.
  4. Navig8r

    Navig8r LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 477

    Thanks for the help guys....... The costs listed were just that..... costs to me for the plants, including tax only.

    Only using the 1 gal. for the dwarf junipers..... have not found larger in this variety.

    Again thanks for the help..... really appreciate it...... did a smaller install, but similar recently, and really scre**d up the $$$..... oops... live and learn, I guess.
  5. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    where are u buying your plants? looks like not more than $130 worth of shrubbery, if that. and 18 tiny shrubs shouldnt take you more than an hour to plant. so what you are doing is tearing up grass, and creating two islands, one on each side of the driveway? im not trying to be a smart -----, but, why all the unecesary expenses? sodcutter rental? delivery of 3 yds of mulch? rototiller? im baffled. sounds like a tiny, but profitable little job, id hate to cut into the profits with all the un needed extras.
  6. Navig8r

    Navig8r LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 477


    I see your point on the "unnecessary extras" cutting into profits.......
    I appreciate your input... that's why I posted here.
    This property has HARD, compacted soil..... cr@ppy!
    I figure sod-cutter will cost me 65.00 MAX.. 45.00 if I return it at half day....... Will save me a lot of time from doing it manually.

    Also figure if I don't rototill, to break up the soil.... survival of the plantings may be in question........Customer waters the lawn, and it runs off, big-time (aeration already figured for Fall)

    As to why on the mulch delivery....... I figured area to use 2+ yds...... am I an ----- and figured this wrong????? A small amt. of extra is OK, as customer has other mulched areas that could be "touched up"

    It doesn't pay for me to not have it delivered... delivery= 30.00
    3 yds, delivered, w/tax.... $130.00

    As far as plant costs.... I have not had a lot of time to shop around, and I don't have too many good sources in my area anyway, but my total plant costs for what I listed would be $440.00........
    I have one other nursery to shop..... I figure if I can get the plants for less... more profit, but at least I had a starting point.

    Again, I appreciate your input, really, and I don't think you're tryin to be a smart a--. Thanks for taking the time to read, and respond!
  7. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Posts: 1,647

    I think you would be fine with just 2 yards of mulch.

    Sod cutting is easy and you get rid of the that top layer where most seeds are. Spading it your ripping it and all other kinds of things and leaving some soil behind, where weed seeds might be. That's not to say that we don't spade cut the turf for a bed install. I prefer a sod cutter.

    Rototilling........Great.........add amendments to the lower soil. Why not add some the topsoil while your tototilling and add the rest, till again.

    As for the source of where your buying plants. Myself I have a great local nursery. Great quality, some items I can for a little less. So what I am saying is. Buy from a source that consistently has top quality nursery stock.
  8. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    what would i do differently? first off, youre at about 220 sq ft total=2 yds of mulch. also the beds, i could cut out my shape, and tear it up with a hoe(its not a girl, its a tool) , spray with roundup. some guys plant the same day, i wait a few days. add topsoil to raise bed to desired hieght. dig plant holes 3 times the size of rootballs(the plants are small anyway), put good soil in the holes, put in your shrubbery, mulch, get in get out, get on with your life. 2 yds of mulch can be carried in a regular pickup, so can the soil. save delivery fees, put them back in your pocket. 2 yds mulch=$25. 3 yds soil=$66. shrubbery=$150 tops. cost of materials around $250, labor time (for installing materials and shrubbery, and prep) 5 hrs tops. dont know how far u have to travel for materials, but entire job should take 8 hrs tops with one man. opinions vary, hope this helps
  9. Navig8r

    Navig8r LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 477

    Bobby..... you gettin mulch for $12.50 / yd????? or was that 25.00 / yd? I know I can get red cedar mulch for 30.00 + tax/yd... maybe $27.00, but not 25.00 and certainly not 12.50.

    As for the tilling and prep.. GLAN hit it right on the head for what I had figured on doing.... do not need to raise bed, in fact, in this case, there is a SLIGHT rise in the are where one bed is going to be that I want to level off.......

    I do appreciate the input on the mulch amt.... I was afraid of falling short, so I figured / estimated 3 yds...... If customer OK's job, I will start with 2, then I can get more if I need it.... jobsite is VERY close to a supplier.

    Last bed I did in conditions like this, I cut my edge, then used a mattock to pull up sod.... what a pain in the @$$!
    No thanks!, I'll use the cutter, figuring the cost into the estimate, and I'll only put forth 1/3 the effort for 1/2 the time.

    I had figured 2 yds of topsoil, to be used to ammend the current soil, not to build up, MY COST is $35./yd....

    I think, actually, I know, I have more shopping around to do for pricing.
  10. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Posts: 1,647

    Here's a trick for making small beds or making them larger.

    Use an edger to cut your bed line. Also to run lines for spading. Nice alternative if a sod cutter not available or the area to small for the cutter.

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