Landscape Contractors

Landscape contractors construct and install the landscapes designed by the landscape architects or designers. Where legally permissible, landscape contractors may also offer a design service to their client, usually at the residential or other small-scale level. In general, though, a landscape contractor is an ornamental horticulturist and a builder rolled into one.

figure 17-8. A landscaper using a tile saw to cut pavers for a patio. (Delmar/Cengage Learning)
figure 17-9. Landscapers placing large rocks to create a waterfall (Delmar/Cengage Learning)

The procurement and installation of the plants specified by the land­scape architect/designer are major responsibilities of the contractor. Proper installation may require laying out the planting beds, condition­ing or replacing the soil, placing the plants, staking, mulching, and other necessities of successful transplanting. If lawn installation is required, the landscape contractor may need knowledge of cultivator operation, seed bed preparation, sodding, watering, and other techniques.

Many landscape plans also specify the construction of walls, walks, fences, patios, pools, lighting systems, fountains, and other nonplant items. The landscape contractor must be prepared to offer these ser­vices or to hire, or subcontract the job to some other specialist who can do the work (Figures 17-7 through 17-9).

Landscape contracting is active, outdoor work. Those who pursue it as a career should enjoy physically demanding labor. The financial investment required to operate successfully can be considerable. Large and expensive machinery is needed if land grading, back-hoeing, tree- moving, or similar services are offered. The labor, transportation, and equipment costs of several crews are great. Cost of land is relatively minor, though, since the work usually requires only an office and stor­age space for equipment and material.