1st large scale install, advise greatly appreciated. PICS

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Premier landscaping south, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. Premier landscaping south

    Premier landscaping south LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    He are a couple of pics from a property that I am currently estimating. Owner has had a professional design completed.

    I have been taking care of the lawn and maintenance for the last month. Great customer and I believe she is leaning towards me for completing the landscape design she has.

    Pics are start of the clean up I have done to prep the beds for install. She was very happy with the work. I have been supplied with the design work and plant list.

    I will have to transplant about 10 Azalea's. to the side of the house.

    Remove 2 Myrtle's in second pic.

    New Mulch installed. What would be the best way to measure the beds for mulch estimate? My first instinct tells me about 35-40 yards. I am used to working with smaller scale beds that are more "square" than these are. Note: mulch will end at the front bumper of the car in the first pic. I will get a better angle second pic because it is slightly larger than the pic shows.

    Natural edge on beds($1.25 per foot). No plastic or metal edge.

    My situation: Just started full time business, so my schedule is not jam packed. In other words, I will have plenty of time to complete job if hired. I know where I stand and want to give her a fair price. I do not want to try to make a killing on the job due to the fact that I need experience and if I overbid the job then I have gained no experience and no profit. More work is in her plans after the front is done(Backyard Landscape).

    Please don't get me wrong. I am not looking for a free estimate from anybody. Just some sound advise and heads up instruction from experienced professionals would be great. Maybe I can put together some bits and pieces to help myself through this.

    I am looking at a total of 90 Plants, grass, shrubs and a few small trees.

    Premier lawn Care and Landscapes.:usflag:

    1st install.jpg

    1st install2.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
  2. pls8xx

    pls8xx LawnSite Member
    Messages: 64

    If you do construction as well as design, sooner or later, you will be on site and need to determine the area of some irregular multi-sided shape. All that fancy software back at the office won't be any help, the contractor wants to call for the concrete, sod, or mulch, now not tomorrow.

    What follows is how I make these calculations using a tape, pad and pen, and a hand calculator. I'm just going to cover the "how" not the "why". If you want to know the "why", take an asprin, and go start with the term "double meridian distance".

    On the graphic below I show a 5 sided shape on a grid. Each of the corners has been asigned a consecutive number around the shape.

    Next the coordinates are found for each corner from the grid, shown on the graphic in blue.


    Using the form shown below, enter the corner numbers and coordinates. This is set up for a right handed person. If you are a lefty, you will want to reverse all of the columns so that the corner numbers are on the right side of the page.

    The last value of the third column is duplicated and entered above the first number of this column. What was the first value of the column is duplicated and entered below the last one as shown in the graphic.


    Two fingers of the left hand are slightly spread and placed on the form, shown as a shaded area, such that the fingers point to the top value in column 3 and the second one down. The first value of column 2 lies between the fingers.

    The right hand is free to do a short calulation of these three numbers with a hand calculator. Starting with the upper value of column 3, subtract the lower value and multiply the result by the value in column 2. This is shown on a slant in brown on the graphic. The result is entered in column 4.

    The fingers are moved down one row and the operation is repeated. Note that some of the values are positive, some negative.

    All of the values of column 4 are then totaled and divided by 2 to get the area which may be expressed as either a positive or negative number.

    Does it work? Look back to the first graphic. There are three full shaded squares and six half squares that add up to 6 square units.

    The only difference in a 20 sided shape is the number of rows of data.
  3. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,369

  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    If you want to keep it simple to get approximate areas, there are three basic things you can do.

    Anything that is rectangular is simply length x width = SF
    Anything that you can approximate into a triangle with one of the corners being 90 degrees is length x width divide by 2 = SF
    Most areas you can more or less divide into those two shapes.

    For areas that are oddly shaped, I lay a 100' tape down the longest part of it and then use another tape to measure the width at even intervals (like every 10') being careful to try to measure at 90 degrees to the tape. Then you add all of the widths, divide by the number of measurements (giving you average width) and multiply that by the length = SF.

    Another thing I do for rough estimates is to measure the length and then try to eyeball the width that looks like the average width, measure that part and multiply it by the length = SF. It is not extremely precise, but that depends on what you need.
  5. pls8xx

    pls8xx LawnSite Member
    Messages: 64

    I live in an area where a lot of contractors do some very rough estimating of quantities. This opens the door for me to sell my service of construction review. By taking a close look at quantities built versus plan and contract terms I average saving the client 3 to 5 % of the project cost. For a couple of hours of my time ($300), the client often cuts his payment by $1000 on a $20,000 job. The client is happy, the contractor not so much.
  6. Premier landscaping south

    Premier landscaping south LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    You really have given me something to wrap my brain around my friend:confused:. I have been doing my best to "get" what you have presented. I will have to spend some time to study. Math has never been my strong point, although I do like a challenge. Thank you for your effort to respond to my thread:clapping:. Everything I can learn will improve my job site skills.

  7. Premier landscaping south

    Premier landscaping south LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    Thanks for the information AGLA. Triangulation is something I have not used yet. 100' tape methoed sounds good to me also.

    Thanks for enlightening me today. Sometimes it just takes a little of common sense passed along to really help me out.

    Thank you for your time.

  8. Premier landscaping south

    Premier landscaping south LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    Another question..........Certain mark up on each plant equals labor cost or number of hours to take to do the job. Since I have not much experience doing this large of install it will be a tall order to accurately determine how many hours it will take to plant all of them. So I thought that a average mark up per plant would be an alternative.

    Questions, comments, or criticism's are appreciated.

  9. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    I don't want to hijack the thread by changing the subject but I am curious about how exactly does your service work. You sound like a 3rd, party dictating to the contractor his materiel needs.

    say on clean fill for a grade change for a paver driveway, your extremely detailed measurements call for 50 yards, But mine call for 60 yards on contract because I want 60 yards on site. I need to account for compaction and the fills moisture % is unknown to me. you swoop in,change it and I only get 50 yards, but in reality I need 56 yards because of a high moisture content. Now I have to shut down to send a guy out to get six yards of fill but before I do that I need to get the contract amended. So instead of a small 4 yard pile of extra fill sitting off to the side I got 7 guys a skid steer and a excavator standing around costing me money so how exactly do you factor yourself in realistically speaking. Are you meeting with the client and reviewing all bids and helping the customer choose a contractor or are you after the fact.
  10. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    You need to know the condition of the soil so you can account for the soil amendment and a basic idea of how much waist you will generate and need to dispose of. But significant mark up, for example 2xs the plant cost or 2x's plant cost + 15% + the disposal + amendment or more is only really justified if you are warranting the plant for X amount of time. So basically you are charging for the plant, soil amendment and disposal the installation of that plant plus a replacement plant and labor for in the future in the event you need to be a stand up guy and honor your warranty. Now on a large job with a massive amount of planting this method will most likely not fly for cost reasons all you bids will be shredded and laughed at, for example you need to plant 15 Paper Bark Maples "your" cost is 799 each x2 + 15% + soil amendment + disposal of the large amount of waist. the total for just the trees without amendment and disposal and the 15% is 23,970 that prices you into bankruptcy because no one would pay that. So you fall back to your work history and use your best judgment as to how long it will take you and use you perman hr. labor rate + material and give the customer what ever limited warranty your wholesaler gives you if any. What ever you do Be careful because you can totally screw yourself, and be very careful if you inflate the charge to cover yourself to much over compensating can harm you down the road as well. I recommend you work this with your perman hour labor rate + materials until you get a few of these under your belt and you then can start bid billing. Want a solid answer from your area? ask the nursry that sells the plants what they charge to install them and take it from their

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