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Garden Wall Pricing

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by gwarren, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. gwarren

    gwarren LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2

    I just started my business last year and im still working out estimating issues. I am not sure how to price garden walls. And would appreciate any feedback. I will give as much detail as possible.
    I already priced the job but would like to know how far off i am to what i actually should be charging. It is 3 small walls.

    I am using nursery stone, 4" high x 12" long, that costs $3 a peice.
    There are 3 walls:
    1) 27 linear feet. We are putting in 2 stones (8" high total) on the right side of bed that slopes down 24 inches. The wall with go from 2 stones high down to 6 stones high at the other end. Est total: 128 stones.
    2) small 4x4 bed. At 2 stones high it will need about 16 stones.
    3)around a tree that will need 28 stones.

    We will also be putting in crushed stone for support, topsoil and mulch in all beds. We priced as follows:

    192 stones(2 pallets) upcharge $1 per stone = $4 per: $768
    2 yards mulch at cost: $50
    Crushed stone at cost: $25
    1 yard topsoil at cost: $25
    6 hours labor ($100 per hour for 2 men): $600

    Total: $1468
    - material: $628
    Profit: $840

    Im not sure if the labor time is accurate. I think it might take longer as ive never done this before and its just the 2 of us. My partner has many times so he will be guiding me the whole time, he has never priced these types of jobs before. At this price we will make enough profit that im not worried if it takes a little longer.

    Can someone critique this for me. Dont hold back, blast as many holes in the plan as needed. I really need to learn the pricing on these types of jobs as my partner is relying on me to kinda run the business and he is the expert on the installations and services.

    hanks in advance!
  2. LandscapePro

    LandscapePro LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138


    In the "if it were me" catagory.......

    I'd be marking up the materials at least 30%. (Cost divided by .70)

    Also I don't see any equipment charges for the compactor you'll need for your base material.

    I always make sure to "estimate on the high side" and explain this to the customer. It's always better to finish the project "not taking quite as much money as we talked about" instead of ".....errrrr ummmm we're gonna need a bit more money to finish this."

    hope this helps

    La. Landscape Contractor #2576
  3. hortiscape

    hortiscape LawnSite Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 30

    By stone, do you mean natural stone? if so,what is the site like?, wet, gravel, clay ect. That will determine how much stone you need for the base. Only use ledge stone and not round or pea stone. The round stone moves and the blasted stone will pack and stay in place. You did not include any drainage stone for behind the wall. You may need to install 4"perf. drainage pipe for drainage behind wall with 24" height, if the soil has poor drainage. Remember it is frost which moves walls, there should be no water holding capacity in the backfill for at least 3' behind wall. You can add topsoil for planting beds, but not until you have used a filter to keep from contamininating your drainage. It seems you underestimated your stone, You need to have foundation runs. You also seem low on you topsoil amounts, drainage stone, pipe, fabric, labor.
    This seems to me to be only the beginning since you have never even done a wall yourself, your buddy ,if he is capable will also be teaching you which takes time away from the project. Did you account for this. Also you really need to be sure your buddy does good work if this is gonna have your name on it. Remember good work grows your businesses future, poor, improperly installed and ugly walls shrink your business future.
  4. gwarren

    gwarren LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2

    I appreciate the replies.

    Hortiscape, The stone wall is going to be a Keystone wall system,
    http://www.countyconservation.com/Source/Prod/keystone_frame.htm about halfway down the page it is "GARDEN WALLS (NURSERY STONE)". It is a curved interlocking type stone, not a mortar wall or anything like that.

    With this type of wall(I could be wrong) but I dont beleive it needs drainage since the wall itself has gaps to let the bed drain naturally, its not a solid wall. Also there is an existing mulch bed that we are installing the majority of the stone aroun d, plus 2 other small similiar areas.

    Now that im taking a better look and reading more i think you may be right on the not enough topsoil but that is relatively cheap and the labor time. Im willing to not make a fortune on this job in exchange for learning and a portfolio.

    My buddy is actually my business partner so his name will be on this job also:)
    He does do good work though. Every job (although its only been lawncutting, mulch jobs and yard cleanups/trimming jobs) we have done this far(its only him and I) the customers always say we do quality work and we have not had negative feedback yet. I have not done this type of job with him yet but from everything other job we have done together he does excellent work.

    Thanks again, and more insight on this project is welcomed. I want to learn all I can, pavers and walls seem to be an area id like to get into more. Anyone know if they offer courses at vocational schools for this?
  5. jamo1911

    jamo1911 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    Hey man,
    Well, I think you are a little on the inexpensive side there. When you say 2 stones high are you taking into account setting one below grade? Also I don't see any stone dust or sand in the estimate. Don't screw this up. If customers are happy they will tell you - if they are unhappy they will tell everyone.
    Here's my two cents

    1 - 27 foot wall, figure at 1500 should come with a cap for that price. I try to use the big stones wherever I can. I think it looks nicer.
    2 - 4x4 bed wall, 648
    3 - Around tree I’ll figure 648 again since you did not say how big you will actually make it. Don't do if so close as to have to dig into roots.

    Mulch - on the cheap side charge $80/ yard
    Item, included in wall price
    Dust, included in wall price
    Topsoil, get like 60 a yard for that
    Labor, who are you paying 50/hr for?

    Good luck man and figure 2 days
  6. bigandy

    bigandy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    The people I worked for last year charged $24 a sq.ft. to build with keystone gardenwall blocks. (I think it sounds expensive but people payed it) They were the variety that only costs about $1.50 a block, and that included typical prep work, blocks, base, backfill, and labor. You would have to adjust for your block price, and for easy figuring one block is 1/3 of a square foot so you figured your number of blocks and multiply by 8 to get a price.

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