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Why am I so darn Picky, Help

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by big valley, May 11, 2004.

  1. big valley

    big valley LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    I cant seem to give accurate estimates on landscaping. A job that I think should take 10 hrs will take 14 to complete. Am I being to picky. I am proud of my work and so are the home owners. I'm pretty good at choosing my plants and mulch for the job, usually real close. It seems to be my labor hrs that I lose money on. I make my crew stay till the job is right I was wondering if my install procedure should be modified some.
    I sometimes remove the clay and rocky soil around the footing af new homes and add good top soil. the soil that is there would probally work but I just want to be sure, I also dig down below the sidewalk aroun 3-4 in and install plants, then mulch up to sidewalk level. I thought about using 4in metal edging and not remove the extra soil. Is this too much detail I t hasnt been too bad BUT i AM AFRAID i MAY GET A LARGE COMMERCIAL JOB AND REALLY LOSE MY SHIRT. Help would be appreciated thanks
  2. Ice_Gargoylle

    Ice_Gargoylle LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 60

    some people insist on adding pulv. topsoil. but you can get away will tilling in peat moss, since most shrubs can take it. i dont know how the soil is there, but here is all clay so peat helps alot. as far as the sidewalks go, a good edge will do just fine, no need to remove the dirt. you dont want water to pool anywhere.

    till in 1 BIG bag of peat for every...60 or so sq.ft. it will fluff up the crap soil and give you a good 6-10 inches of good soil.

    imo adding topsoil where the grade is good is a waste of time and manpower. its heavy, takes forever, and really doesnt help anything.
  3. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    I would agree with I_G on just about everything. What I disagree on is the peat moss.

    Unless you are planting acidic soil loving shrubs and perennials, there really is no need to do that. If you really have clay soils, what you are doing is creating a large clay "bowl" where water will sit, even if you ammend the soil with peat.

    If you are concerned about the clay being compacted, till it, and till into the yard if at all possible. But I wouldn't add peat.

    Also, if you are consistently going 14 hours on what you bid as a 10 hour job, then start bidding them as a 14 hour job! It's not rocket science. Keep track of how long it takes to do certain things. It sounds silly and a waste of time, but keep a stopwatch with you. Start it when you begin planting a tree, stop it when you are finished. Write down how long it took and what size it was. Do that for each size of plant, and you should soon realize you are (should be) consistent on how long it takes to do certain tasks. Keep those numbers as records, they will help with future quotes/bids/estimates.

  4. Ice_Gargoylle

    Ice_Gargoylle LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 60

    felix elaborated on the peat moss...the north, west, and east sides of indianapolis are solid clay...thats where we use the peat..bagged peat. if you dont have this problem then use organic compost..the black black stuff. its light, easy to use, but its a pain to clean up so mind the mess.
  5. big valley

    big valley LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    Thanks! Ice , & D. I think that I would save money on labor by going with the 4 inch metal edging and not worry about removing the existing soil. Are ther any other suggestions from any one?

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