Thursday, 17 August 2017

National Honey Bee Day Approaches, August 19: This Week’s Industry News

Bayer Feed a Bee Program

Want to keep up with the latest news in lawn care and landscaping? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the green industry.

National Honey Bee Day Approaches, August 19
August 19 is National Honey Bee Day, and Bayer’s Feed a Bee program will be working across the country to plant thousands of wildflowers from New York to California – all in one day. Since 2015, the Feed a Bee initiative has distributed over 3 billion wildflower seeds for pollinator plantings, establishing additional nutrition and habitat sources across the nation. This National Honey Bee Day, Feed a Bee will be celebrating with special planting events to add even more to the pollinator gardens at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New York, North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and the Placer Land Trust’s School Park Community Garden in Auburn, California.

Sponsored by the Bayer Bee Care Program, the $500,000 Feed a Bee initiative launched earlier this year with the goal to facilitate forage plantings or enhancements in every state by the end of 2018. More than 100 organizations have applied for funding to date, including wildlife agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools and universities, homeowners’ associations and more, illustrating the growing interest in pollinator health in the U.S. The three locations participating in National Honey Bee Day are part of the 58 projects that were awarded in the first round of funding alone.

Hunter Industries Announces Executive Promotions
Hunter Industries recently promoted Gene Smith to president of the landscape division. Twenty-one-year Hunter veteran Kevin Gordon moves back to the irrigation division and is promoted to director of marketing, for res-com and golf. He will be responsible for international as well as national markets. Ryan Williams was promoted to senior marketing manager for FX Luminaire. Sales for both irrigation and FX Luminaire will now report directly to Denise Hoover.

Penn State Picks Jon Johnson to Direct Pesticide Education
Penn State Extension recently appointed Jon Johnson, as its director of pesticide education. Johnson received his master’s degree in horticulture, as well as his bachelor’s degree in agronomy at Penn State. He has more than 25 years of experience in turf grass, vegetation management and weed control, most recently from working on the Penn State Roadside Vegetation Management Project.

Tal Coley to Head Government Affairs for AmericanHort
AmericanHort, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, recently hired Tal Coley as director of government affairs based in its Washington, D.C. office. Coley’s first initiative with AmericanHort is Impact Washington (, a two-day summit this September with industry leaders from around the country designed to strategize on mission-critical issues – labor and immigration, horticultural research and innovation, and tax reform – and highlight legislative reforms and concerns with congressional members and their staffs. Prior to AmericanHort, Coley led congressional outreach efforts at Concerned Veterans for America.

Former Senator Kelly Ayotte Joins Caterpillar Board
Caterpillar has elected Kelly Ayotte as a member of the board of directors. Ayotte, is a former U.S. senator representing New Hampshire. She served as New Hampshire’s first female attorney general and, prior to that, she was deputy attorney general and chief of the Homicide Prosecution Unit in New Hampshire. “Kelly brings significant government experience to our board, which will be helpful for Caterpillar as we address a wide range of public policy issues,” said CEO Jim Umpleby. Ayotte joins 13 other members on Caterpillar’s board of directors and will be a member of the Public Policy & Governance Committee of the board.

EAB Spreads on Colorado Front Range
The Colorado State Forest Service confirmed evidence of the invasive tree pest emerald ash borer (EAB) within Lafayette city limits. EAB has also been confirmed in Boulder, Gunbarrel, and Longmont.  “Having a new detection in this area was not unexpected, but certainly highlights the need for Front Range communities to be planning now,” said Keith Wood, CSFS community forestry program manager. Lafayette is estimated to have approximately 22,000 total ash trees, with only about 3 percent of the overall ash population located on City-owned property.  With 97 percent of the ash tree population residing on private property, Lafayette residents are strongly encouraged to assess their trees, be educated on the available options, and make a plan.

Wedgworth’s Inc. Named as the Exclusive Distributor in Florida for Amp Agronomy
GCO, in partnership with Sod Solutions, has announced Wedgworth’s Inc. as the exclusive distributor of Amp Agronomy in the state of Florida. Wedgworth’s, Florida’s largest custom fertilizer dealer, offers users even more solutions for success with the addition of Amp Agronomy’s nutritional line to their existing portfolio of products.

Arborjet Announces New National Sales Manager for Retail and Indoor Growing Markets
Arborjet Inc. has announced that Mark Andrews has been appointed national sales manager for the retail and indoor growing markets. In this newly created role, Andrews will be responsible for developing and growing retail sales channel business and encouraging profitable revenue for the company’s line of horticulture products. Andrews brings a dedicated career of business development and retail channel experience to the company. Prior to his role at Arborjet, he spent 22 years with ITT working in the Innovation Lab as Global Director of Sales, and was also Global Sales Manager at Xylem, Inc.

Durante Rentals Listed on the 2017 Inc. 5000
Westchester-based Durante Rentals, with eight locations in the New York Tri-State area, has been selected to Inc. Magazine’s exclusive list of 5000 of America’s fastest-growing private companies – The Inc. 5000. After five straight years on the list, Durante Rentals is now a member of the prestigious Inc. 5000 Honor Roll.

VOLT Products Win PIA 2017 Award
VOLT has been awarded the 2017 Architectural SSL (Solid-State Lighting) Product Innovation Award (PIA) for our ShadowMaster and Coachman. These products were evaluated by a distinguished panel of 14 designers and lighting specialists skilled in product evaluation. The SSL PIA prgram awards manufacturers based on attributes, qualities, functionality, and/or performance beyond industry standards.

General Equipment Appoints New Vice President of Sales
General Equipment Company, manufacturers of light duty construction equipment, has announced Randy Dahl has joined their company as vice president of sales where he will have responsibility for the development and coordination of sales and marketing for national and independent accounts. He will also oversee long term sales strategy development as well as General Equipment’s sales representative organizations for North America. Prior to joining General Equipment, he served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Poly-Tex, Inc.

Read last week’s industry news roundup: RYAN Turf To Launch National Aerate Your Lawn Day

The post National Honey Bee Day Approaches, August 19: This Week’s Industry News appeared first on Turf.

from Mix ID 8230377

How Do I Value My Business?

How Do I Value My Business?

Understanding the value of your business is a key component of the exit planning process because it defines the business that you will be exiting at some point. It is the beginning step in determining how to preserve and enhance the value until the planned or unplanned need to transition the ownership of the business.

Few topics are as poorly understood as business valuation. Despite common misperceptions, it is a complex topic that cannot be boiled down to simplistic formulas or rules of thumbs.

One often hears green industry business owners talk in terms of business valuation in terms of multiples of revenue or cash flow. In these scenarios, cash flows may mean several different things:

  • EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization)
  • Free cash flows (EBITDA less capital expenditures)
  • Seller’s discretionary income (EBITDA plus the seller’s compensation and perks, which have been expensed through the business).

While it is absolutely true that offers for the purchase of a business, especially a recurring revenue business like lawn care and some lawn maintenance businesses, may be made in the form of a price per dollar of revenue, that offer is actually the result of the buyer’s analysis and evaluation of the cash flow they can expect to generate from the acquisition.

In evaluating the cash flow that a buyer expects to generate from an acquisition, there are many factors to consider, including:

  • The size of the business
  • Historical profitability
  • Record of growth
  • Extent and condition of vehicles and equipment
  • Service pricing
  • Customer retention patterns
  • Type of customer (residential, commercial, governmental)
  • Revenue mix (recurring vs. nonrecurring)
  • Customer concentrations
  • The strength of the management team and employees
  • The importance of the owner/seller’s involvement in the business to its ongoing success
  • The age of the business
  • The geographic territory served
  • The competitive environment.

These factors will affect how the buyer evaluates the business and the risk associated with the buyer’s ability to achieve the expected cash flows from the business. The greater the perceived risk, the higher the discount rate or risk factor that seller will use in evaluating the cash flows and the lower the multiple of cash flow it will be willing to pay.

Some illustrations of this concept are as follows:

  • A landscape services company with an aging fleet may receive a lower multiple than one with a newer fleet because the buyer will factor into its assessment of cash flows the need to update the fleet.
  • A landscape company with a greater percentage of construction revenue will usually command a lower multiple because its revenue will be largely nonrecurring.
  • A lawn care company with pricing lower than the market and lower than that charged by the buyer will usually receive a lower multiple.
  • A lawn care company with a small number of relatively high-dollar commercial accounts will usually command a lower multiple than a similarly sized company with a large number of small-dollar residential customers because of the risks associated with the concentration. Losing one or two large customers may undermine the value of the potential acquisition.
  • A company that has higher margins because it pays below-market compensation and benefits will command a lower multiple than one that pays similarly to the potential buyer.

Some buyers will evaluate the business based solely on how it performs on a stand-alone basis, while others will evaluate it based on how it expects to integrate the acquired operations into its own.

These factors partially account for the wide range of business valuations. In the lawn and landscape industry, the majority of transactions have been somewhere in the range of two to five times cash flow. That is a pretty wide range and some transactions fall outside that range, particularly on the low end. It takes a very strong business to command a multiple at the high end of that range.

Ultimately, the market will value a business for sale. After all, fair market value is defined as “the price at which a property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller when the former is not under any compulsion to buy, and the latter is not under any compulsion to sell, and both parties have reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.”

It is often desirable in the exit planning process, however, to obtain a business valuation or market assessment. The purpose of such a valuation is to estimate how the market will value the business when the time comes to sell. (There are other reasons to obtain a business valuation and the purpose of the valuation is important to communicate to the “valuator.”) Competent business valuations can be prepared by a variety of professionals, including business appraisers and some CPAs and business brokers.

The business valuation process should also help a business owner understand the value drivers of his or her business. In other words, what characteristics of his or her particular business tend to increase the value (or multiple) assigned to the business and what characteristics tend to decrease the value or multiple. Understanding those value drivers will enable the business owner to develop a plan to preserve and increase the value of the business over time.

The post How Do I Value My Business? appeared first on Turf.

from Mix ID 8230377

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

What’s In My Truck: Ruppert Landscape

Scott Sindall, Ruppert Landscape

As a field manager at Ruppert Landscape, Scott Sindall is responsible for the success of several landscape maintenance projects in the Forestville, Maryland, area, on top of other key tasks like hiring and training his crews, project planning and communication with clients. With his 2016 Ford F-450 Super Duty, Sindall is able to get around the area to oversee projects and transport necessities. Big enough to carry plant material in the truck bed and powerful enough to haul the trailer of equipment (which includes mowers, leaf vacuums, push blowers, two-cycle equipment and a variety of tools), the truck also seats six and features a custom aluminum dump body. Sindall says his branded vehicle serves as one of the branch’s primary marketing tools and that in a well-maintained state it has the power to “speak volumes” about Ruppert’s image and standards. We recently caught up with Sindall to find out more about his vehicle and how it helps him get the job done right.

Communication is so important — when appropriate. I carry my work phone (a Galaxy S7), work tablet (Galaxy Tab A), as well as my personal iPhone 7 Plus in order to communicate with my customers, crew and co-workers. But we have a zero distractions policy, so I only use these when the truck is parked.

I always keep my truck clean inside and out because not only am I representing myself, I’m also representing my branch and the Ruppert company. I also work much better in an organized environment.

Our fleet vehicles are branded and kept to a very high standard. This enhances our image, increases efficiency, helps us maintain employee morale and elevates pride in our company.

Our fleet vehicles are equipped with DriveCam. It records eight seconds prior to and four seconds after an event to determine how and why it may have occurred. An event is any driving irregularity that triggers a recording — it can be anything from sudden braking to hopping a curb or taking a turn too quickly. Events are reviewed daily and drivers are coached on safe and proper driving methods. This helps foster good driving habits and prevent accidents before they happen.

The Essentials

My Day-Timer — It helps me keep track of everything at my different jobsites.

My Galaxy Tablet — I use this to review maps and job details with my crew as well as take pictures and detailed notes for my clients.

Coffee — Getting up early in the morning means coffee is essential. I report to the shop at 5:45 a.m., and my crew and I leave the yard for our first jobsite at 6:05 a.m.

A full water cooler — It’s important to stay hydrated, especially on those hot summer days.

Extra ear plugs, safety glasses, work gloves and rain suits — These always seem to get lost or broken so I always keep extra on hand.

We also keep pink princess sunglasses in the truck for anyone who forgets their own that day! — We like to look out for each other and have an eye for fashion.

My North Face Backpack — I keep my job binder, training manual, tablet and all other necessities in it.

The post What’s In My Truck: Ruppert Landscape appeared first on Turf.

from Mix ID 8230377

Story Of A Landscape: Waterfall Provides Big Finish For Multi-Year Project

Deck and chair, waterfall background

James Godbold admits the job that won Hill’N Dale Landscaping two awards from the Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association may be the grand finale for this client.

Although the team might still be called in to do what he calls “a few little additions,” he explains that over more than a decade they’d re-landscaped the front and side yards of the property and installed a multi-zone irrigation system before taking on the backyard.


Photo: Hill’N Dale Landscaping

“The backyard has been on ongoing design/build effort because they were doing other things,” Godbold says. “For awhile it got put on the back burner, but we are finally finished.”

And, what a finish it is. While the job includes a flagstone patio, stone walkways and steps and an award-winning lighting system (the other recognition came for construction), the piece de resistance is a massive waterfall with five different outflows that when operating at full strength recycles a full 600 gallons per minute into the property’s existing pond.

In many ways, the waterfall was the project’s driving force. Godbold explains the clients have lived on the 20-plus-acre property for several years and both they and he felt the existing waterfall wasn’t quite right.

In progress

Photo: Hill’N Dale Landscaping

The waterfall was also a driving force in sizing the finished design. Godbold explains that the clients have a screened-in porch on one side of the house and a deck on the other side, and they wanted to be able to see it from both locations. They also wanted a dock at the pond from which to enjoy it.

“We basically laid it out with five different falls, and where you sit depends on what you see,” he says. “Now that the plants are growing up, it masks some things, but it gives different perspectives on it.”


Photo: Hill’N Dale Landscaping

After tearing out the old waterfall, his team spent a lot of thought determining the best way to build the new waterfall, which is run by a three-inch pump and a valve system that controls how much water comes out of each of the five pipes at any given time.

“It sounds complicated, but it’s not,” he says. “It took some thought, but it’s a fairly simple system. The big challenge was trying to get the correct number of gallons-per-minute.”

Not surprisingly, both the waterflow and the lighting system are controlled from the house.

Night lighting paver steps

Photo: Hill’N Dale Landscaping

All the stone for the job – boulders, stone steps and flagstones – is Ontario limestone. Godbold says some of the boulders in the waterfall are as large as five tons, and one of the biggest challenges he faced with the job was getting the equipment back to build it.

“There was only one way in and that was driving between the pond and the house to get the equipment in,” he says. “We then had to work our way backwards off the site. We really made a roadway, but the logistics were one of the bigger challenges.”

Waterfall night lighting

Photo: Hill’N Dale Landscaping

The job also required partially draining the pond – which also provides water for the 15-zone irrigation system – for the placement of additional boulders and lighting. A carpenter who regularly works for the clients built the wooden dock.

Godbold describes himself as a big fan of lighting, which may help explain the lighting award for this project, and the fact that he personally loves to look at the waterfall when it’s lit. The job incorporates three different styles: downlights, up lights and path lights, plus the underwater lights in the pond.

Waterfall night lighting

Photo: Hill’N Dale Landscaping

“I wanted it to not look too busy, but also to be safe,” says Godbold. “With the stone steps, we wanted to make sure they could see the step grades for safety purposes at night. You’ll see they’re fairly bright because we wanted to reduce the shadowing of the grade changes.”

He adds that the wrong light in the wrong place can make things harder to see and less safe.

The flagstone patio and walkways are also replacements for what was there. Godbold says the new construction features larger flagstones with butt joints to eliminate as much as possible gaps between the stones.

Landscaped home

Photo: Hill’N Dale Landscaping

The plantings for the project are all chosen for the Zone 4 location.

“It’s a mix of about 60 percent shrubs and 40 percent perennials and grasses,” he says. “We like to use a lot of ornamental grasses and a lot of mass plantings. We wanted a mix of spring, summer and fall color, with a bit of winter interest.”

Work on the project extended for more than a calendar year, Godbold says.

“We started in July of one year and finished up in August of the following year,” he says. “But, that’s sort of deceiving because we don’t work from mid-November to mid-April because of the snow and the cold. It really gave us a full season.”

Waterfall details

Photo: Hill’N Dale Landscaping

Most of that time, Hill’N Dale had no more than four people at the site simply because of logistical issues. A larger crew completed the plantings.

Along with the lighting, Godbold says he’s quite pleased with the way the entire project came together. And, as with any other job, the team learned a few things.

“Particularly with the waterfall, you learn little tricks along the way so that you know how to do things better the next time,” he says. “These are not cookie-cutter jobs; each one is custom and everything is not installed in the same way.

“When we analyze things after any job, we’re always trying to figure out how to do something better or quicker,” Godbold concludes. “Here, we learned a few new tricks for the water feature installation, and a couple good ideas for the lighting.”

Waterfall night lighting

Photo: Hill’N Dale Landscaping


Photo: Hill’N Dale Landscaping

The post Story Of A Landscape: Waterfall Provides Big Finish For Multi-Year Project appeared first on Turf.

from Mix ID 8230377

Using Retaining Walls To Transform A Landscape

Fortified Beauty

From the sky, a well-designed landscape can seem almost flat. Sure, you can see the patterns of the pavers, the shapes of the different-colored stones, and the touches of green and color from flowering plants. It’s obvious if a backyard has seating areas and a pool, or a water feature. And of course lighting is visible at night. But overall, the scene is one dimensional.

Thank goodness the bird’s eye view isn’t the way most of us take in a landscaping project, for we would miss a lot.

The elevations, the rises and dips, the high and low points — those are all visible to the naked eye from lower levels. And that three-dimensional aspect that comes alive when walking around a property is exactly the effect landscape designers want when choosing to install walls — not just retaining walls for function, such as erosion control, but seating walls and boundaries to create living areas in a backyard oasis.

Techo-Bloc, used in the two larger walls above, play a large role in determining how installation is performed.

Jen Kloter, who is on the design team at Bahler Brothers Inc. based in Connecticut, achieved this goal with the project she designed for the Baltazar property in Wilbraham, Massachusetts. From high above, you can see the different levels of the property. But until you view the expanse at different angles, you don’t see all that Kloter had to contend with.

Kloter says it was obvious from the start that they would need to include retaining walls in the backyard design, and many of the elevations evolved as they were building, as the site was still under construction when they got started. All in all, the walls built on the property totaled more than 2,300 square feet, with the tallest wall being 10 feet tall and about 210 feet long.

“The pool design was a driver for what we ended up working with,” Kloter says. “The pool had revisions also — they moved it and it became bigger. The height of all the walls depended on where the pool was going to end up, so we worked backward from there.”

The project started with the two outer walls that include the playscape — the flat area that provides lawn space for the owners’ children to play. Then they worked around the house counter-clockwise, Kloter says, noting that there’s another retaining wall around the front, and grading and landscaping work was done out front as well.

“The next thing that drove where those walls needed to be was the vanishing edge of the pool and how to transition the patio areas,” she says.

Since the pool and patio were built on fill — the homeowner works in construction, Kloter says, so there was access to fill whenever it was needed — they had to discover where the native grade was and then install the two walls with engineered segmented retaining wall (SRW) with geo-grid behind them. Everything was built to an engineer’s specifications.

Toll Landscape went for a West Coast look with Unilock products for a model home at The Reserve in Holmdel, New Jersey. Natural stones were used around beds in the front.

Material choices matter

While most material choices were made based on aesthetics for the pool and patio area, the structural integrity of the bottom two retaining walls — because they wouldn’t be seen from the patio — was more important, Kloter says, noting they used Techo-Bloc for the lower two retaining walls. “That is our go-to block for when we’re doing a large wall, especially if it’s not going to be viewed or doesn’t need to be decorative,” Kloter said. “They’re super structural.”

Initially the design called for building the 10-foot wall below the pool, and then installing a fence, per local regulations that call for fencing around pools. However, they didn’t want to risk blocking the view. They discovered they could bury the 10-foot wall so only 4 feet was exposed, then install another 6-foot wall as a safety measure. “No one can climb that and fall into the pool,” she says.

For the other areas of the backyard, the homeowners were keen on using natural stone. Kloter says while she tried to talk them into a concrete product, they wanted the stonework to match what was already there on the house. So Kloter found a stonemason to work with her crew, but Bahler handled all the prep, backfill and quality control.

“In the Northeast, we have a lot of natural stone that we can get, a lot of different looks. A lot is native to our area or nearby, such as Pennsylvania,” she says. “I also lived in Oregon and they have the opposite problem — you couldn’t get SRW blocks, so we had to build everything out of stone. It’s a much different look.

Kloter says it’s important to be aware of the differences between using engineered SRW or natural stone, because the shape and weight can affect installation tremendously.

“Say you’re building a 5-foot-high wall. If it’s out of SRW, it would be a single block wide or deep going up, usually with pins connecting them block to block and probably some geo-grid going some distance into the backfill behind the wall. All of that works together as a system.

“When working with stone, there’s no interlocking, so sometimes there’s slippage,” Kloter continues. “In order for a stone wall to be stable, you have to have really big pieces or the base of your wall needs to be 3 or 4 feet deep — you’re dealing with an incredibly large amount of stone. You can still use geo-grid, can still backfill, but the base of the stone wall is basically a big pyramid, going broad at the bottom.”

As for cost, Kloter estimates that natural stone accounts for 30 to 40 percent more than engineered SRW. On the Massachusetts project, because the Techo-Bloc they used was very basic, the natural stone probably ran more like 40 to 50 percent higher.

Ken Munroe, senior landscape supervisor for Toll Landscape in New Jersey, worked on the backyard of the model home for a new development called The Reserve in Holmdel, New Jersey, with designers Mark Culichia, president of Toll Landscape, and Matt Moonan, vice president, as well as Tony Manganello, landscape supervisor. Munroe says they were tasked with bringing a more West Coast feel to the East Coast.

“Some of the walls are very linear and a different look than we’d typically use in New Jersey,” he says. “We wanted to appeal to a millennial buyer, a city kid, who is used to that kind of look.”

In order to achieve this, the design included a lot of straight lines and dark colors, using Unilock products for the flooring as well as the company’s Lineo dimensional wall for the walls, made of smooth block.

Munroe says the aesthetics dictated the materials used, so it would blend seamlessly with the overall look of the house. Though in the front yard, natural stone was used to match the stone veneer — called Pinnacle Stone — on the house itself.

The younger buyer looks for a sleeker product more so than an older buyer, Munroe says. Someone in his or her 20s and 30s usually wants a more contemporary look compared with other buyers.

Manganello says he thinks there’s a mix to what people go for when it comes to materials. “I think it comes down to personal preference of the homeowner,” he says. “When you show them different homes we’ve done, some like contemporary or the more natural, almost tumbled look that’s been engineered to look old. I haven’t seen anything to show we’re going more engineered over natural stone. Even in older communities, senior communities, there’s a mix.”

Creating living areas

The homeowners of the Massachusetts home Kloter worked on both come from big families. “When family comes over, they needed every speck of space, however I needed to create intimate areas because they are a husband, wife and two children when it’s just them.”

Keeping the uses of the backyard in mind — for entertaining larger groups or when it’s just the home’s usual residents, is important when considering what to include in the landscape design.

“I tried to use the walls and curves of the walls to create little nooks and crannies and still leave some open spaces when more people will be over,” Kloter says.

While she prefers to use concrete products for features such as fire pits, fireplaces, outdoor kitchens and sitting walls, when it comes to water features, Kloter says they will start incorporating natural stone and use boulders, river rocks and gravel — a mix of materials.

Munroe says it’s important to talk to a homeowner about their outdoor lifestyle. “[Find out] what they want to use the outdoor spot for,” he says. “It’s no longer just a spot for a grill.”

Munroe says the design at the Holmdel model home called for walls for a water feature and seating, and to form the base of a pavilion that houses entertaining items such as a pizza oven, refrigeration, a wine cooler and kegerator.

In addition to those elevated surfaces, planting beds were a key part of the aesthetic look they wanted to achieve.

“We’re always looking for ways to break up hardscape with softscape,” Munroe says. “You’ll always find little pockets of flowers, [such as in the] pillars above the water or fire pits. It breaks it up and offers some color.”

Installing raised planting beds along the house is another key design element Toll likes to employ, Manganello says. “We’re always going to try to avoid pavers right up against the house, break up the siding and pavers with plantings,” Munroe added.

Another feature that comes into play when building walls or planting beds is lighting. Munroe estimates that $25,000 to $30,000 of lighting was installed in the model home project to show off different architectural features of the house. Lighting was also included in the pavilion and inside the walls, under every cap and inside the pool. “All of the trees and plant material are highlighted with landscape lighting, too,” he says.

Keeping drainage in mind

While the aesthetics of any type of wall are the fun part of design, the function must also come into play and drive how, where and what is installed.

“We always have to think about drainage,” Kloter says. “Water can be such a huge enemy — especially frozen water and what happens when it thaws. If it’s not installed properly, it will cause all kinds of problems.”

Kloter says Bahler Brothers tries to avoid any future warranty issues by building correctly from the get-go. For example, while standards from the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute say retaining walls need a pipe that exits on either end and every 40 feet, “we take that a step further and we install 3 feet of stone behind the walls, so there’s very little water even getting to the pipe then.”

She also explains that it’s recommended that a heavy compactor not get within 3 feet of the face of the wall, so anytime you have a wall, you’ll likely have soil there, but you can only compact it with a small compactor. Kloter says they try to bring in stone and run a small compactor over it, so it’s compacted well enough when they drop the retaining wall stones into place. Then, once they are past that 3-foot zone, they can run a big compactor over it.

Jen Kloter, who designed the Baltazar property in Massachusetts, used raised elements to create seating areas and other living spaces.

Future maintenance

One service that not all landscape design companies get involved with is the future of their installations years down the road. Bahler now has a division that does hardscape cleaning and maintenance. As a business that has been around for 30 years, Kloter says there are a lot of hardscapes in the ground with Bahler’s name on them. Customers are coming back and saying that the installations still look wonderful, they’re just a little grimy and need cleaning up.

“It’s a fairly new division for us,” she says, “but it’s gaining popularity. It’s been really good for us.”

The post Using Retaining Walls To Transform A Landscape appeared first on Turf.

from Mix ID 8230377

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Best Time To Invest In Business Software

The Best Time To Invest In Business Software

As your company grows and customer base expands, it might be time to consider investing in software for managing the customer base and your employees. Schedules, services, invoicing and account balances can become less time consuming with the use of business software. This LawnSite member wants to know if there is a point where getting software at your business is so crucial that the investment can’t be put off any longer.

GSO LAWNEN4CER: What’s the magic number of customers before needing software? I’m getting to the point where I can’t keep track of who’s been serviced and who’s up next for service. I have some customers who want their lawn cut on certain days. I need some suggestions.

anrwhr1212: If you know what software is and you have to ask that question, I think you can benefit from software now. We are a husband and wife team. My wife runs the office work, and I handle customer relations and stuff in the field. We decided to go with Service Autopilot last year, and we could not run our business without it now. We recommend it to anyone. It was a game changer for us. We only have 42 accounts right now but some are weekly, some biweekly. It helps when anyone asks for extra work with the next service, keeping track of accounts receivable and so much more. It’s awesome. A business friend who owns a multimillion-dollar-a-year lawn care business once told me no matter how big you are, you need software. Now that we have it, I know it’s true, because it’s never too early to start. If you start now, optimize your time, it will give you plenty more time to focus on growing and customer service. You won’t regret it.

JLSLLC: Sounds like you’re ready for software now or some sort of spreadsheet. Either way, keep us updated. I use a large calendar from Staples on my wall in my office. No real complaints if you keep up with it. There are much better ways than mine. Just a suggestion.

Steve5389: I use Yardbook and I have about 25 customers. One thing I like is that you can set jobs as recurring. Set your jobs as complete each day, and when you click on the customer’s name, it will tell you when their last service was. The honest answer is one customer. It is so much harder to transfer everything over to a system when you think you need it than to just start with one.

13Razorbackfan: I use Microsoft Outlook to schedule, keep a separate ledger for jobs done that day along with the amount and if they paid, and then I keep a separate accounting ledger. It’s kind of old fashioned, but works for me. I then invoice out using a Microsoft Publisher invoice template for the people who I invoice monthly. People who pay cash, I write out a receipt from my receipt book. It might sound like a lot but it takes me 10 minutes to do every day when I get home and maybe 30 minutes to send out invoices at the end of the month.

Darryl G: I just use a day planner for scheduling and QuickBooks for invoicing. It works for my solo operation with 25 to 30 mowing customers and 50 or so overall that I work for in any given year. I did a free 30-day trial a few years ago – I forget which software but it was one of the popular ones. My issue with it was that it seemed like I was spending more time and effort adjusting for weather delays and missing accounts missed of running out of time in a day than it was worth. It has no way of knowing everything I consider when shuffling my schedule. I was left with the feeling that it might be good for someone scheduling crews, but for me it seemed cumbersome and made decisions that I just ignored anyway.

BrandonV: It’s easier to start off with software than to try and add it in later.

Mowingman: You don’t ever “need” software. It is just something most people nowadays “want.” I am kind of old school and do not want much of anything to do with computers or software. During my peak years, I had 160 accounts and was running three crews. I did it all with a few scheduling forms I designed and a pencil. The only thing I used the computer for was to run QuickBooks for doing my invoices. I saved a lot of money by not purchasing computer equipment and expensive software programs.

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Business Lessons From Superstorm Sandy

Learning From Superstorm Sandy

In a matter of weeks it will be five years since Superstorm Sandy ravaged the U.S. East Coast. Folks entrusted with dealing with Sandy’s destruction and working to return their communities back to a semblance of normalcy (referencing landscape and tree pros in this instance) certainly haven’t forgotten.

Hurricane season is upon us again and Patrick Donovan, owner of Classic Landscaping, Edison, New Jersey, shares some of the lessons he learned in the brutally long, chaotic days immediately following Sandy’s landfall. Some of what he experienced may be helpful to you, too. No region of the U.S. is immune to the catastrophic consequences of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, tornado, wildfire or earthquake. As a landscaper or arborist, sometime during your career you will likely have to help property owners — perhaps even your own clients — pick up the pieces when their properties are damaged by a natural catastrophe.

Have a basic plan in place

You should, at the very least, put together a basic disaster response plan to share with your team in the event (unlikely as it may seem today) of a natural disaster. Your plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with knowing how to contact each other during and immediately after Mother Nature’s wrath. It’s also wise to have some basic materials on hand or easily accessible, such as water, an alternate power source like a diesel generator, fuel, appropriate equipment, etc.

But let’s get back to Sandy, which resulted in damages estimated at more than $71 billion in the U.S., second in terms of costliness only to Hurricane Katrina. Superstorm Sandy didn’t arrive without warning but it did arrive rapidly. On Oct. 29, 2012, the hurricane lumbered into New Jersey and New York after birthing as a tropical wave in the western Caribbean a mere seven days earlier. Sweeping up the East Coast, it veered west and made landfall just a few miles north of Atlantic City. Its ferocious hurricane-force winds pushed a huge storm surge inland destroying or severely damaging thousands of homes and properties in low-lying regions of New Jersey and places in and around New York City, as well as inundating streets, tunnels and subway lines in the city itself.

Sandy brings many challenges

Donovan counts himself and his family fortunate, a sentiment he maintains even almost five years after the event. Indeed, like a scab that has yet to heal, some of the storm’s destruction — ruined homes, damaged trees, etc. — remain evident. “There are many houses still in a state of disrepair. For reasons unknown, homes have not been repaired or demolished,” he says.

“In my area, which is not much above sea level but far enough away, most of the damage was downed and uprooted trees. Getting utility companies to shut power off was the issue. Cutting power took days at some locations. Our issue was trees on top of wires or buried under wires. To this day, you can drive anywhere in the tri-state area and see extremely large-caliper trees uprooted, snapped, widow makers and dead trees still left after they and Sandy crossed paths,” he adds.

Two challenges immediately revealed themselves to Donovan and his team as they got to work as soon as the worst of the hurricane had passed.

“Lack of communication was at the top of the list. I, myself, had no power for five days. We had limited phone service but were able to get internet service, go figure,” he says. Some of his clients had services, but many did not.

Another complication — and a big one — was the lack of fuel. “Stations had no electricity so they were unable to pump fuel. We were experiencing gas lines like back in the 1970s,” he continues. “Once the electricity was restored, the states ran out of fuel. We were siphoning fuel out of mowers and machines we were not using. These are the things you don’t think about on a day-to-day basis when all is well in life.”

Sandy’s size and ferocity created another huge problem that anyone having to cleanup properties after a hurricane, tornado or huge storm will instantly recognize.

“The amount of tree and vegetative debris was overwhelming,” Donovan says. “The mulch piles were 60 to 70 feet high. It actually got to the point the state regulatory agencies modified the quantity of material suppliers could store on-site. It was necessary because there was no where to deposit the massive quantities of debris.”

The financial and emotional toll

Then there’s the financial and human emotional toll created by destruction on such a scale. The financial toll is easy enough to understand if not measure precisely. The emotional toll on individuals and families that lost their homes and possessions can never be fully tallied.

Donovan says he has friends who lost their houses. “We mean they lost their houses. They were not there when they returned to them,” he emphasizes. Others, especially in New Jersey, have had to raise their homes on stilts 9 to 10 feet in the air, most at their own expense. If they don’t, they will be drowned in increased insurance costs.

Finally, and this is a sobering thought for any landscape pro who predicts a huge bump up in their revenue after the initial cleanup work – landscape renovations on most properties will not begin for months, if not years, later.

“Many of my clients’ facilities expended their grounds budgets and every other budget on the storm,” says Donovan. “There were no additional monies remaining in budgets to do anything other than clean up. Renovations after the storm were not even on their radar.”

In many instances, as a landscape pro or arborist, some of your time and the time of your employees will be devoted to helping to bring your community back to life — community service.

“My family and I volunteered to help a church group clean out peoples’ homes in Staten Island affected by the storm,” Donovan says. “I wanted my children to see firsthand how fortunate we were by not taking a direct hit like so many others did.”

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Monday, 14 August 2017

Protected: 5 Ways Organic Lawn Care Makes You a Better Homeowner

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

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Half Of Your Workers Have One Foot Out The Door

Take a good, long look around your company, specifically at your employees. Fifty-one percent of them are currently looking to leave their jobs, according to a 2017 Gallup poll.

What’s worse is that 46 percent of employees answering an ADP survey say they would even consider taking a new job that matched their current salary or even paid less. In a BusinessSolver survey, it gets worse: 80 percent of employees say they would work more hours and 60 percent would take a pay cut to work for a more empathetic employer.

Not to rub salt in the wound, but 26 percent of the U.S. workforce that says they are going to change jobs this year are the most highly skilled and motivated people you’ve got.

What’s the problem? Workers today want more, according to a Forbes report, which says, “They want something different. They are demanding, they want meaningful work, and they expect their employers to make work more rewarding in many ways. Today, employees don’t want a career; they want an experience.”

And statistics prove it. Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. workforce now works part time. Millennials want more creative jobs and they want to work for startups. And all types of employees say they want work to be easier, less punishing and more meaningful, the Forbes report says.

Retention is clearly the No. 1 strategy for combating this loss of half your workforce. But what do employees want?

According to an Aflac study, the top five reasons employees say they like working for small businesses are:

  • 27 percent — Flexible scheduling
  • 23 percent — Seeing the fruits of their labor
  • 17 percent — Feeling that their input matters
  • 14 percent — Being rewarded for hard work
  • 9 percent — Getting noticed by people who matter.

Forbes research also states there are five elements that drive a highly engaged workforce:

  • The work itself
  • The management environment
  • The flexibility and inclusion of the workplace
  • People’s ability to learn and grow
  • Trust and meaning from leadership.

The best places to work clearly are more than just cool office spaces. They have what some experts call a “soul” that makes work exciting and energizing. They invest in good management, and they train and develop their people. They define their business in a way that brings purpose to the organization. And, they offer their employees flexibility so they can thrive.

What keeps your employees motivated and engaged?

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St. Louis Hosts Peer Group’s Second Leadership Summit

BTB peer group

After joining just last year, Focal Pointe Outdoor Solutions hosted the 2nd annual Better Than Both peer group meeting in St. Louis on Aug. 7-9. John Munie, Focal Pointe’s owner, credits the peer group’s networking and learning leading to his company’s improvements within only the past year. Seven companies participated in this year’s peer group event including: Native Land Design, Level Green Landscaping, Duke’s Landscape Management, Focal Pointe Outdoor Solutions, Greenscape Inc., Mike Ward Landscaping and Conserve LandCare.

Focal Pointe Outdoor Solutions

Focal Pointe Outdoor Solutions

Thanks to the St. Louis Cardinals, the three-day event was held at Busch Stadium, which included a facility tour, a Cardinals game and meetings in the stadium’s conference center. Approximately 110 people attended the “Home Run” summit, including company owners, employees and sponsors. It was an increase from the 86 attendees last year in Austin.

To kick off the day on Tuesday, Rob Wolff, an executive with High Performing Culture, discussed how important it is for an organization to have a winning culture. Improving the culture of your company helps drive success and performance.

St. Louis Cardinals Stadium

Bruce Wilson, a landscape industry consultant and facilitator for the BTB peer group and others, along with his colleague Pam Stark, spoke with the group about successful cultural traits. Even if a company doesn’t talk about the culture or define it, a culture will still develop. Company leadership needs to decide what direction the culture of the company should take. Cultures can evolve positively or negatively, but a profitable growth culture must be built around company values.

The companies then split up into groups to discuss their own cultures and ways they could improve. They analyzed their company’s good and bad qualities and applied an eight-step framework to make a better culture.

Ben Gandy

Ben Gandy during a presentation at the Better Than Both peer group meeting.

On the second day, the companies split into tracks based on job positions. Christine Soderlund talked to administration teams about building an army of recruiters and the how to interview for hiring success. Recruiting is not a one-time event — companies should always be looking for good people. Good hiring is fundamental to building good teams. Pam Stark spoke with the sales teams about building clients for life. Clients pay the bills and employ the team so their retention is crucial to success. Other speakers included Ben Gandy, who talked about influencing people’s behavior based on personality traits.

Mike Ward Landscaping

Mike Ward Landscaping

Sponsors of the event included: John Deere, SiteOne, the Cardinals, CAT, Exmark, Toro, Super Lawn Trucks, Aspire, Isuzu and Apparel Manufacturing. Many of the sponsors came to the event and even stayed for some of the sessions. Bruce Wilson said the presence of the sponsors at the event really shows the power of partnership.

Greenscape, Inc.

Greenscape, Inc.

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Sunday, 13 August 2017

European Award Promotes Urban Public Spaces

European Award Promotes Urban Public Spaces

When you think of Europe, what comes to mind? Grand piazzas? Beautiful green spaces like the lush lawns around the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Hyde Park in London? Well people all over the world are working to bring the people back to the public square.

Thermal Orchards in Caldes de Montbui, Spain

One entity addressing public spaces in urban settings is the Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona. The center selects an international jury that chooses a winner from entries of revitalized and reimagined public spaces for its European Prize for Urban Public Space. This year, 276 candidates from 33 countries submitted entries. The works of the 25 finalists will be featured in an exhibition that will tour different European cities over the next two years.

The prize was created in 2000 and, according to the CCCB, “has become a recognized showcase of the evolution of public space in Europe and is a finger on the pulse of the main concerns of European cities today.

Heavenly Hundred Garden in Kiev, Ukraine

“The aim of the prize is to recognize and foster the public character of urban spaces and their capacity for fostering social cohesion,” according to CCCB’s public space website. The goal of focusing on urban spaces and the civic aspects that those spaces serve makes this award different from others given for architecture or landscape design, the CCCB notes.

One design, the recovery of an irrigation system at the Thermal Orchards in Caldes de Montbui, Spain, addressed the main canal’s risky access and contaminated stream. Now there is a walkway for public access and wastewater is channeled. There is also a new public open space and a pool integrated into the existing irrigation system that cools the thermal water.

The Heavenly Hundred Garden in Kiev, Ukraine, turned a former dumpsite and shelter for stray dogs into a thriving green space where fresh vegetables are grown, open-air parties and film series are held, and musicians perform.

Tasinge Square in Copenhagen, Denmark

The refurbishment of Tasinge Square in Copenhagen, Denmark, created a green oasis that has become a place for play – including parasols that collect rainwater and can be hand-pumped to water vegetation. Entrances to two bunkers, air raid shelters that are used as rehearsal space by local musicians, are now seating areas, and sculpture pieces also foster activity with local children.

View all 25 finalists for the European Prize visit the Urban Public Space website.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated.

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Saturday, 12 August 2017

Get To Know Keiji Asakura

Roots: Keiji Asakura

With designs extending nationally and internationally, most of Keiji Asakura’s 38 years of experience in urban design, landscape architecture and planning has been transforming communities and urban spaces throughout Houston. His efforts have successfully spanned a highly diverse range of communities with a focus on historically disadvantaged Hispanic, Asian and African-American urban neighborhoods.

Raised in Tokyo, Japan, until the age of 15, Asakura moved to Los Angeles in 1969 — trading the world’s largest metropolis for America’s largest metropolis. As a newly arrived immigrant with limited English, Los Angeles was a land of abundance, open space, optimism and opportunity for him. In high school, Asakura worked after school at a local nursery and then received his bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from California State University.

Year founded: 2004

Client mix: 40% municipal, 16% schools and universities, 16% commercial, 12% residential, 16% master plans

Service mix: 84% landscape irrigation, softscape and hardscape designs, design/build; 16% environmental and transportation planning, community redevelopment, economic development and affordable housing

Business motto: Community-inclusive solutions. Community-driven designs.

In 1982 at age 28, Asakura moved to Houston after being asked by his employer, the SWA Group, a multinational landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm, to move to its Houston branch. Then, two years later at the age of 30, he started his own landscaping firm, Asakura Robinson, noted for providing community-driven landscape design solutions and planning leadership.

Over the years living and working in Houston, Asakura has garnered an extensive collection of community service awards, including the 2011 American Society of Landscape Architects’ Distinguished Member Award, the 2009 President Obama’s Call for Service Award and the City of Houston Mayor White’s 2005 Proud Partner Award for Distinguished Service.

As an active board member of Keep Houston Beautiful for 16 years, Asakura has dedicated thousands of volunteer hours to beautifying Houston neighborhoods. In the capacity of an urban planner, Asakura was appointed in 2010 by Houston Mayor Annise Parker to be a member of Houston’s Planning Commission. His accomplishments have been more than hands-on, working with the Public Works Department to develop the Adopt-a-Ditch program and later updating the Adopt-an-Esplanade program, both programs focusing on improved water quality in Houston.

Asakura reaches out to underserved neighborhoods through program development with organizations such as LISC’s Go-Neighborhood program; Houston Endowment’s NEA Placemaking grant; Texas A&M’s Coastal Citizen Planner Program; USGBC Galveston’s Hurricane Ike Recovery Initiative; Better Block Houston; Collaborative for Children’s Nature Play Initiative; and Neighborhood Centers Inc.

Mandell Park

Proudest moment in the landscape business: Being selected as a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects – Texas Chapter. Fellowship is the highest honor one can achieve in the landscape architecture industry. I was pleased to be recognized by my peers, colleagues and community.

Biggest business challenge: Executing our brand throughout our work. It is important that we not only recognize our core values but implement them in every project we do.

Best sources of landscape design/build inspiration: We draw inspiration from the communities that will influence and experience our designs.

Favorite plant or plant combination: Native plants for their sustainable factors and ecological benefits. I’m also drawn to edible plants because they are a tangible, healthy and affordable resource for many communities.

Kelly Park is a project Keiji Asakura has completed in Houston. In his designs, he liked to keep the local community in mind.

Monday morning motivation: My Monday mornings are motivated by my peers — they’re an engaged and energetic group of people who take pride in their work.

Business worry that keeps you up at night: Like many business leaders, I spend time considering the future of the company. I want to ensure that we progress and participate in meaningful projects in the many years to come.

Kelly Park

Landscape design/install mentor or idol: My idols are influential landscape designers from around the world who have contributed immensely to the landscape architecture industry, including Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, Lawrence Halprin, Roberto Burle Marx and Mirei Shigemori.

Favorite business or landscape design book: “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” by Jane Jacobs. This book has a community-driven outlook to preserving cities and neighborhoods — an approach I take in my design process. Another favorite book is “The Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson, an initiator of the environmental movement. I also enjoy any books by J.B. Jackson, who speaks on the cultural connotations of domesticated landscapes.

Landscape design/install project you’ve worked on that makes you smile every time you drive past it: I take pride in seeing Mandell Park, a project that’s a product of placemaking. The park is a direct result of the surrounding neighborhood’s efforts to transform an abandoned lot into a community space. The park’s design incorporates native plants and a community garden, which are maintained by the people of the community.

In five years, where do you see your business going: I see us as a more integrated firm, combining our landscape and planning expertise to deliver more insight and take part in more meaningful and impactful projects across the nation. We will be in a position where we are valued for our commitment to research-oriented and community-driven approaches and designs.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated.

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Friday, 11 August 2017

Like A Boss: Putting A Face To A Name

Chuck Whealton

Chuck Whealton Photo: Ruppert Landscape

How important is it to you that your clients get to know your employees? For Ruppert Landscape, headquartered in Laytonsville, Maryland, it’s so important that the company recently implemented a new detail to its uniform standards — adding nametags for all field personnel in the company’s landscape management division. While the company has always made an effort to connect employees and customers, Chuck Whealton, region manager for the company’s landscape management division, says this takes it a step farther.

“Our two most important values are people and customers so it makes sense that we bring the two together and develop a solid working relationship,” says Whealton. “We want our customers to know that if they have a question or concern they can come to us directly. These nametags are another way of encouraging that kind of direct communication in the field.”

Nametags will be worn in the safety vest pocket and will include the employee’s name, title, and years of service. Whealton says it was important to include that final detail as many of the company’s employees have been with them for a long time.

“We like to say that when we hire, we want to hire for life, so we make it a point to recognize our tenured employees,” Whealton says. “Likewise, our people take pride in their level of experience, so including years of service on our nametags is like a badge of honor. It’s also another way to build confidence with our customers as they can see that we have experienced and knowledgeable individuals working on their properties.”

Implementing the nametags required investing in new vests, since the original safety vests did not feature a nametag pocket. Whealton says that meant replacing more than 800 vests. But that’s something the company does fairly regularly, anyhow, Whealton adds.

“Since the vest is the outermost part of the uniform, and the most frequently soiled and worn, we replace them frequently to keep our folks looking sharp,” he says.

Whealton says that going forward, the nametags will help with the ability to “put a face with a name” which will encourage stronger relationships between employees and customers. While it’s a small change, it’s a differentiator that Whealton believes both customers and employees will appreciate.

“Our people are our best asset and we work hard to show that we are committed to each person’s growth and commitment,” Whealton says. “We hope that this is one more way of showing that we are invested in our people as individuals — not just one in a crowd of many.”

Our Like a Boss series highlights some common business challenges landscape professionals face and how they conquer them. Discuss your biggest business challenges on LawnSite’s Business Management forum.

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Thursday, 10 August 2017

RYAN Turf To Launch National Aerate Your Lawn Day: This Week’s Industry News

National Aerate Your Lawn Day

Want to keep up with the latest news in lawn care and landscaping? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the green industry.

RYAN Turf to Launch National Aerate Your Lawn Day
National Aerate Your Lawn Day is being launched by RYAN Turf as a way to help landscape professionals educate property owners on value  and benefit of aeration. The event will take place on Saturday, September 16, during the time of year when it is the ideal time for lawn care professionals to encourage customers to aerate.

Industry Merger Creates SC Green Industry Association
The South Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association and the South Carolina Landscape and Turfgrass Association have merged into one new organization named the SC Green Industry Association. For more than two years, the boards of directors have been working together to make the merger as seamless as possible and help bring a higher level of quality and value to their members. The merger officially took place on June 30, 2017 and the newly named SC Green Industry Association’s website was launched on July 31, 2017.

Davey Tree Adds 170-Acre Property to its Ohio Campus
The Davey Tree Expert Company purchased 170 acres of land, the former site of a closed golf course, across from its 35-acre corporate campus here in northeast Ohio. The purchased property is to be known as the Davey East Campus and could also include additional office space for the company’s corporate functions. “A major part of our goal is to establish a science and learning center on the property and expand our capacity for technical research and specialized training,” said Davey Chairman Karl Warnke. “In addition, the property offers a variety of areas for showcasing many of Davey’s diverse services, whether they be wetland management in the riparian that abuts the Cuyahoga River, our golf course maintenance expertise, or the core tree services we provide. We intend to make this property a unique showplace for our rich history, extensive capabilities and future direction.”

SiteOne Acquires South Coast Supply
SiteOne Landscape Supply, Inc.  has announced the acquisition of South Coast Supply. Started in 1981, South Coast Supply has two locations serving the Orange County, California market. South Coast Supply is a leader in the distribution of hardscape, natural stone and related products to landscape professionals. The acquisition of South Coast Supply expands SiteOne’s hardscape offering and footprint in Orange County.

Bill Law Joins Ruppert Landscape as Facility Manager
Ruppert Landscape recently hired Bill Law as facility manager in the company’s corporate office. Law will be responsible for the maintenance and repair of all Ruppert Landscape owned and leased facilities. Law brings more than 30 years of experience in residential and commercial remodeling and restoration. For the past 11 years, he ran a successful design and remodeling company. He is a returning to Ruppert, having worked for Ruppert Brothers Construction more than 20 years ago.

TurfMutt Offers Dog-Friendly Backyard Landscaping Tips
National Dog Day is Saturday, Aug. 26. In honor of this holiday, Lucky the TurfMutt, a rescue dog himself and the official spokesdog of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute environmental education program, encourages pet parents to reevaluate their family yard to ensure it’s appropriate for their furry friends. Here are TurfMutt’s top five tips:

  1. Consider your dog’s needs in terms of water (including a water fountain or splash pool?), a perimeter running path or a place to dig, such as a sand pit. Jot down everything your dog needs from your family yard, then you map out your landscaping accordingly.
  2. Keep your pet safe with a secure fence.
  3. Include turfgrass that offers your pet a soft, cool spot to lie down, even during the hottest conditions. It also creates a comfortable backyard playground, and provides a place to take care of business – just be sure to clean up regularly.
  4. Select the right balance of grass, flower plants, trees and shrubs for beauty but also to help support biodiversity. Select appropriate landscaping for the areas you’ve identified in your yard. Around walking paths, for instance, you’ll want to include sturdy, yet soft foliage that can stand up to puppy and people traffic without scratching. Use elevated boxes and patio planters for more delicate flowering plants.
  5. Avoid toxic plants. Some plants and shrubs are poisonous to dogs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a list of toxic plants that you should refer to when shopping for your family yard.

Kawaski Adds Parts Distribution From UPS In Southeast
The Engines Division of Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. is once again expanding its relationship with UPS Supply Chain Solutions and adding a full service warehouse in Florida to stock and ship parts to authorized dealers in the region. The UPS facility that is joining Kawasaki’s broadened distribution network is located in Jacksonville and it will be providing enhanced support for dealers in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.  Measuring approximately 15,000-square feet, the unit will be fully operational by the middle of August.

Ewing Announces Strategic Transitions To Support Locations, Employees
Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply recently implemented five strategic transitions to provide greater and more focused support to its stores in 200 locations and employees. These transitions include re-defining and aligning Ewing’s geographic divisions, focusing on employee development and customer education with the creation of the Talent Resources department, merging several shared financial services into one department, combining sales and marketing teams and strengthening its focus on business development.

Judge Overturns Montgomery County, Maryland, Pesticide Ban
On Thursday, Aug. 3, in Montgomery County, Maryland, Circuit Judge Terrence McGann ruled in favor of the professional landscape community and struck down the countywide ban of commercial pesticide application on public and private lawns, gardens, and ornamental sites, reports Paul Mendelsohn of the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

In October 2015 the Montgomery County Council voted 6-3 to restrict the use of pesticides on both county-owned and private property. In addition to eliminating the use of pesticides on private lawns beginning on January 1, 2018, the bill limited pesticide use on public and private playgrounds, mulched recreation areas and children’s facilities such as child care centers. The ban on county-owned property and parks was supposed to have gone into effect on July 1.

In a 14-page opinion explaining his ruling, McGann found that “by generally banning the use of registered pesticides, the Ordinance prohibits and frustrates activity that is intended to be permitted by state law, which conflicts with, and is thus, preempted by state law.”

Ewing Hires Names Jeff Lanahan as Executive Vice President
Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply announced Jeff Lanahan as the executive vice president of business development. In this new role, Lanahan will participate in strategy development and execution for the company’s continued growth and expansion. Lanahan previously served as COO at Pioneer Sand Company. Prior to that, he led the John Deere Landscapes Division as senior vice president for 14 years, also held leadership roles at Century Rain Aid for six years, leaving as the executive vice president.

Irrigation Association now offering classes & CIT Exam in Spanish
The learning and certification opportunities at the 2017 Irrigation Show and Education Conference in Orlando, Florida, have expanded. Along with more than 25 agriculture, turf-landscape and business classes and 11 certification exams that will take your industry expertise to the next level, the IA is now offering selected opportunities in Spanish. A Drip Irrigation Components and Installation for Landscapes class and the Landscape Irrigation Technician class will be offered in Spanish during the Irrigation Show. A Spanish version of the certified irrigation technician exam will also be offered.

Houzz Design & Architecture Scholarship Call for Entries
Houzz Inc. has announced the call for entries for Houzz Scholarships, a program that supports the next generation of residential design and architecture pros: students studying architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture. Houzz will award four $2,500 scholarships in the categories of ‘Women in Architecture’, ‘Sustainable Design,’ ‘Residential Interior Design’ and ‘Residential Construction Management’. Houzz awards these scholarships biannually in the spring and fall, and is now accepting applications for spring 2018. The deadline for the spring 2018 scholarships is December 15, 2017.

ASLA Launches Diversity SuperSummit Report and Online Resources
The American Society of Landscape Architects has launched its ASLA Diversity SuperSummit 2017 Report, which highlights strategies and action items to increase diversity in the landscape architecture profession. The takeaways in the report will serve as accountability for ASLA and as an actionable guide for the Society’s newly created career discovery and diversity position for the upcoming year. In 2013, ASLA had its first Diversity Summit with the goal of developing a deeper understanding of why landscape architecture is failing to attract a more diverse profile. Five years later, the 2017 Diversity SuperSummit brought the largest group of attendees to date, with 23 returning and six new participants, at the ASLA Center for Landscape Architecture in Washington, D.C.  In addition to the SuperSummit Report, ASLA has also launched the Diversity Summit webpage.

Read last week’s industry news roundup: CASE Dealer Donates Heavy Equipment to Team Rubicon

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I Am A Landscaper: Bob Grover

Bob Grover

Bob Grover says he has never spent a day working outside of the green industry — well, unless you count that paperboy route he had when he was 11. Having grown up on a 1-acre lot of “suburbia” in southeast Portland, Grover spent his childhood playing outside, building forts and digging holes. He regularly enjoyed helping his family plant and maintain a garden and ultimately got his first job at age 15 working at a next-door retail nursery.

After graduating from Oregon State University, Grover got his first professional taste of the landscape industry as a crew leader for Oregon Landscape Maintenance (which later became Northwest Landscape Industries and, even later, became part of TruGreen). Knowing he didn’t want to work for a national chain forever, Grover decided to launch his own business, and with that Pacific Landscape Management was born. We recently caught up with Grover, president of the Portland-area company, to find out what continues to drive his passion for the green industry that he came to love at such a young age.

I love plants, but I love human interaction more. I appreciate the opportunity to help others enjoy nature through plants by being their “gardener.”

I am also an aspiring traveler, and I would love to go everywhere once. We haven’t traveled extensively yet, but we went to Italy 10 years ago and absolutely loved it. Locally, I love all national parks but have many more to visit.

Being an outdoors guy, I love gardening, skiing, camping, hiking and water sports. I like waterskiing, wakeboarding and anything else associated with a warm summer day spent on our boat

I am an addicted remodeler. I always have some sort of project in progress or am planning one. Over the last 30 years, I have progressively gutted and redone all the rooms in our house, including adding a second floor and tearing down and rebuilding a bigger garage. As a landscaper, I have re-landscaped my yard multiple times, including leveling out my backyard and building a water feature, pond, outdoor kitchen and fireplace. Most of the work I have done myself.

Live your passion and work hard to be the best you can be. That’s my motto in life and in work.

My current indulgence is to see as many classic rockers as I can before anymore die. When Glenn Frey died, I thought, “Crap — I never got to see the Eagles live.” I saw 15 shows last year and will probably see more this year. If they come near Portland, I go. If they don’t, I will go wherever I have to. I’m going to Playa del Carmen in November to see Rock Getaway, which includes 15 classic rock bands. I met my wife, Theresa, at a Van Halen Concert in 1985. And we rock on!

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