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Tips, tricks, and tools

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by D Felix, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,898

    OK, time for everyone to tell their secrets!:)

    What kinds of things have you learned over the years that save you time (and therefore earn you more money)? What tools are the best you have found?

    Let's see where this goes....

    I'll start:

    Silky saws! http://www.silkysaws.com, you can also buy them from Sherills. They are the best saws I have found, extremely sharp and smooth cutting. Very fast, just make sure you know where BOTH hands are!

    Duro-rakes or similiar knock-offs. They help to spread mulch smoothly (I'll get to that in a minute). A.M. Leonard sells their own version, as well as the true Duro-rake.

    Keep a chain-saw tool in all trucks. You never know when you will need one. It's best if you have two, one with a screwdriver head, another with a Torx....

    Know how to sharpen (correctly) your own saw chain.

    Know how to replace recoil ropes.

    Replace recoil ropes on a yearly basis. We've had two ropes break on us so far this season. Fortunately, neither cost us a lot of time, but very well could have if we had been in a different location. We've decided to replace them every winter now....

    Organize your hand tools that ride around in the back of your trucks. I'll try to post a pic of our solution to this sometime soon.

    Tip-and-pours work great for keeping smaller quantities of chemicals in the truck.

    Wrap ornamental grasses with duct tape before cutting them down. Saves a lot of clean-up time. Oh, and even though this thread has already been hashed out, we've found that a chainsaw (using the top side of the bar) works better than hedge shears for cutting down the grasses and cutting back liriope.

    And perhaps my biggest tip of all: when raking mulch, keep the rake vertical when smoothing. You should basically be "brushing" the mulch around, which achieves a smoother finish. Kinda hard to describe, but try it a while, you'll see what I mean. It's easier with a Duro-rake than a traditional "bow" type rake.... The object is to get the tines of the rake parallel to the ground, which keeps the tines from digging into the mulch. When in this position, they knock off the imperfections and fill in the holes.

    I know there's more, but I can't think of any right now.

    What's everyone else got?????????

    Acute Cut likes this.
  2. Lawn Made Easy

    Lawn Made Easy LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Posts: 7

    Good infomation Dan, a lot of helpful hints.
  3. Doster's L & L

    Doster's L & L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 616

    did you mean to keep your rake tines perpendicular instead of parallel to the mulch? I think that's what you meant. Anyhow, i have my rake tines pointed up (perpendicular) from the mulch.

    I'm still learning about landscaping, so i don't have much to share with you all on this thread. Sorry.
  4. hole in one lco

    hole in one lco LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,793

    In this business if you make a mistake you can pay for it for a long time. You can cut your hand off real fast. I see to many people filling there equipment while smocking a cig too.
  5. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 621

    Tips for pavers and retaining walls.

    use a mixture of portland cement and concrete sand and screed it out to lay your base course on

    always use geo-textile behind the face of the wall

    always use the "not-perfect" units on the base course

    overlay your paver edge and use flexible conduit and a sharpie to mark curved edges

    move pavers only one time

    use the best diamond blade you can afford

    use the right sand at the proper depth for the setting bed

    set elevations as soon as you get to the job site

    use tape to mark your elevation marks so you do not loose them

    buy the bast laser transit you can afford

    invest in a magnesium or aluminum screed boards

    create, maintain and actively promote a good web site

    hammer you vendors for leads

    get ICPI certified

    read a good paver installation how-to book



    our web site
    Acute Cut likes this.
  6. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Posts: 4,205

    I've seen toooo many people that don't even finish rake a mulch job.Shameful.
    You actually use a chain saw to cut back liriope?
    I do like the duct tape idea,I'm going to try that if I remember it..........
    Extra trimmer spools that are pre wound for reloading in the "field."
    I'm a little slow right now..............

    TREEGODFATHER LawnSite Member
    Posts: 203

    Learning how to distinguish a potential customer from a window shopper takes experience.

    When they call, listen to what they say. Their words will usually give you a few clues about where they are.

    If they're "shopping around" I usually tell them to call someone else. I'm not going to be the cheapest.

    If they're still interested, I know I've probably got a new client.

    Referrals are ususally going to be customers.

    If they've called a bunch of people in the Yellow's, they're window shopping.

    Phrases like "not sure what we're going to do yet" usually mean they're wasting your time.

    I'm sure you guys can add a whole bunch to this post, so feel free to add.
  8. Fescue Farmer

    Fescue Farmer LawnSite Member
    Posts: 202

    After smoothing mulch with rake or pitch fork - use a short nap painting roller on a long, telescoping handle for a "smooth as glass look" :) Customers love it and neighbors get interested $$$
  9. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,898

    The rake tines should be parallel to the ground. Meaning the handle is nearly vertical. This allows you to rake very small amounts of mulch around which allows for a smoother finish.

    And, yes, we've used a chainsaw to cut back liriope, though not extensively yet. I just figured it out this spring.:) Works much better than hedge shears, and since we don't mow, we don't normally have a weedeater or push mower on the truck....

  10. EagleLandscape

    EagleLandscape LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Garland, Texas
    Posts: 4,347

    D Felix, would u post a pic of your rig?

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