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little help on HUGE INSTALL

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Scag52inch, Mar 20, 2005.

  1. Scag52inch

    Scag52inch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    Got a call the other day from that im good friends with. He owns a local nursery. He gave up on running a landscaping crew last year because he said it was too much headache. He told me he had a job for me and gave me the customers name and number. I met with the customer and took a look at the plans that a designer had come up with. WOW! Huge install! Trees and shrubs everywhere!! Normally I wouldnt have the manpower or time to do this kind of job but the guy is flexible and told me I could do it in sections. Anyways my questions are this...

    The home is about 1 year old and there is grass planted up to the house. I will have to remove it... normally i use round up and till when its dead but ill probably rent a sodcutter for this job. Does a sobcutter do good in SHALE soil?

    Are there any other tips or advice anyone can offer for such a big job?

    thanks for any help
  2. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    Call a few landscape companys and get a price from them for installing
    Then Sub it out to them. You can make some money and the client will get a top notch job.

  3. Scag52inch

    Scag52inch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    thanks for the reply. I thought about taking that route but since the guy is flexible I think I will attempt the install. I told the guy if i were to do it I would do it one section at a time...example concentrate on front first then work on sides then back. Guy seemed really cool with the idea. I will ,though, explain to him again that I will be doing it this way. This seems like a great opportunity to learn more about the landscaping side of the business which is where I would like to be full time in the future. Another good reason to piece-work the project is that if the guy isn't happy with the work I do he can call someone else to finish it. I feel like I can handle it if I piece work it just removing the sod is the scariest part because I dont know how sodcutters do in rocky soil.
  4. o-so-n-so

    o-so-n-so LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,218

    Don't make the curves to sharp on the beds, Don't plant to close to the house, don't plant plants to close together, don't plant plants to deep, plant plants in the proper place (sun-shade-soil), don't use to much of the same "look" plants (different texture foliage, color contrast and horizontal and vertical height where needed), add to the overall beauty of the home.
    Communicate with the customer at all times.
  5. WhohasHelios?

    WhohasHelios? LawnSite Member
    Messages: 233

    To answer your main question, yes sod cutters do fine in shade soil. I have been using the new four wheel drive cutters lately and they are MUCH nicer to work with than the old three wheeler Ryans they even have a REVERSE GEAR!!! But either will get the job done.

    As for general tips on the install, it sounds like you have plans to follow so that helps out alot.

    I assume you have alot of maintenance experience, though I could be wrong. Always look at things from the perspective of maintenance when installing. Often times ppl install landscapes that look great for the first year, but a few years later they are awful to maintain, trees too close, poor sub grades, not scarifying root balls etc etc etc

    As for the guy being relaxed about timing, that is great though I would also be a little concerned about neighbours noticing that the job is taking a long time without knowing the reason why...Not a huge concern, but something to take into consideration nonetheless. What people see and what is actually happening are different things, but people DO notice which company it is that is making all the noise in the area first thing in the morning..

    Good luck,

  6. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    Hey WhohasHelios !

    He said SHALE not shade there is a Big Difference

    SHALE is stone and may damage the equipment.

    Scag52inch :

    Doing this job in phases would be a good idea.

    Get a contract on each phase and a third down on each
    Collect the balance on compleation of each phase.
    Then start the next one with a different contract and another third etc...

    The foundation plantings should be 2' off of the house and at least 4' apart.

    Trees should be at least 10-12' off of the house.
    The sod when cut with a spade shovel along the 4' line at the house could be
    skimmed out by hand. With the SHALE the skimming could go easy if the grass was installed as sod.If it was seed it may be more difficult.
    Be careful not to plant the trees too deep

    This web site will help you plant and mulch correctly.

    Visit this site to calculate the amount of mulch needed

  7. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    Make sure you call your utility line markers before you start any excavating. Even a sod cutter will slice the TV cable line the way the utilities don't bury very well.
    One phone call will save you a lot of grief and possible expense.
  8. WhohasHelios?

    WhohasHelios? LawnSite Member
    Messages: 233

    So true!! Sorry for the mistake..The rest of the post still applies though ;)

    Wow..You guys have to worrry about hitting utilities with a sod cutter??
  9. Kate Butler

    Kate Butler LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 640

    I got a phone line AND a dog fence in one - the installer had laid it on top of ledge and thrown a couple of shovels of dirt over it and not told the homeowner that it wasn't really underground. It was just one of those things - the DigSafe technician told me the lines were close to the surface, but not how close (I suppose because the ledge didn't appear to be aboveground). Unless you have some very sophisticated equipment, you can't ever be completely sure what's underground until you're there.
  10. WhohasHelios?

    WhohasHelios? LawnSite Member
    Messages: 233

    Fair enough..I have just never encountered ANY utilities of any sort less than a foot deep...But I guess it really depends on the area too..

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