From mowing to landscaping?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by matt spinniken, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. matt spinniken

    matt spinniken LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    Lately i have been thinking about offering some light landscaping, but im not sure if i have the know how. How much knowledge and experience did most of you guys have when you got started?
  2. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    I had worked for a landscaper for a year and had studied eveything I could get my hands on before I started in it. I also took a few basic classes that I soon discovered I knew more than they were teaching.
  3. 4seasonslandscape

    4seasonslandscape Banned
    Messages: 6

    You really should get some experience with landscaping before you start offering your landscaping services. There are tons of mowing companies that consider themselfs to be landscape companies because they think that because they plant a fewplants and such that they are a landscaping company. If you gain the knowledge to do it propertly and correctly then by all means expand and grow your bussiness into offering landscaping services, just my$.02
  4. TheLawnBarber

    TheLawnBarber LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 539

    Just start off slow with simple jobs edgings, plantings, small burmes etc. I like to start the hard way, starting from nowhere, just get more satisfaction.
  5. garth1967

    garth1967 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 640

    i had no experience ....well except for my own place.i turfed and paved my place.after my first full season of mowing i needed to find a way to earn money and i had offers from my regs for extra work and as the lawn barber said i just started off slow and took my time .i would have to say i probabaly lost money on initial jobs but now its my best money earner *aussieflag* ,good luck
  6. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,209

    Matt- as mentioned above, try to start off with some small projects and go from there. When I was starting out, I just tried to read and learn as much as I could. I also took horticulture classes at night for a long time (one or two classes a semester) Learned a lot and made some good friends in the business.
    Sometimes I do wish I had worked for someone else to get the experience, because I have made a lot of mistakes and a lot of trial and error. Looking back on my first foundation planting or walkway I installed....what a disaster, makes me cringe:hammerhead: Above all, you have a great resource right here...wish I had lawnsite when I started!
  7. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    I started off with no experience....I think there is even a post on here on how to properly plant a tree! When I first started off, I would do jobs for very little profit, and I would explain to the homeowner that I had never done this before. I am still learning...a lot! The things I know now....would have helped me a year ago. Just start off with small landscape projects, try to learn as much as you can about every plant you put in the ground.

    I would have loved...and still would love to gain some experience working for a landscaping crew...unfortunately I did not have the money to allow me to work at a lower pay scale while I learned!
  8. Joe65

    Joe65 LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Messages: 93

    i took alot of pics of landscape (done by others)designs in neighborhoods i was cutting in.....than on rainy day went to a few wholesale (deal only with contractors) nurseries and asked alot of questions regarding different plant, specimans, ect....guys there were really helpful allowed me to remove a few tags which allowed me to study different plants and care needed......within 2 seasons i'm spending alot of money with this particular nursery which was willing to help out the new guy....know your market and whats popular and will sustain in your area.... i shot from the hip in the beginning and now i am pretty confident with any of my installs.......also make sure you get to know different supply yards as far as mulch, stone, around, meet people, establish work relationship with suppliers helps....
  9. GardnerLandscaping

    GardnerLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 310

    Same here on not having the luxury of working for someone else on a low pay scale to learn more.

    I have found there tends to be a lot of knowledge at the nurseries. I can walk around for hours at a nursery trying to remember names of plants, what they look like, and what conditions they grow in. Then, I spend a lot of time with Google to find more information about the plants.

    Then, there is the techniques, tools, and how to properly plant for it to live. Google is very helpful here. Books are also very helpful.

    Then, there is design. Hard to teach creativity and art skills at a college, but you can pick up a lot by just learning the principles of design, especially in regards to landscape design. I find giving myself time to really go over all the elements in my head and getting face-time with the clients to discuss is very important. I mow late in the day with the yard I'm doing a lot of landscaping so I get a chance to talk to the client to get her opinion on things. Fortunately, the lot is well-shaded to cut down on the sweat.

    Then there are hardscapes, drainage, and irrigation. Books and more books. Google is more likely to give you bad advice here, which is even worse when the client tries to cut corners on a project by getting the same advice with Google and nitpick material costs.
  10. matt spinniken

    matt spinniken LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    Thanks a lot for the great info. I really wish i had the time to go back to school or work on another crew, but reading your replies I feel a little more confident. I will just do small landscape jobs where i can get them, and hold off on advertising landscape install services. Ive had an apartment complex ask me to draw up some designs for five different areas (not a small job) Im thinking about subbing most of this work, and hopefully helping out where i can to learn a little. again thanks

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