There is much more to the landscape business than the design and installation process. The exciting part is planting and building the patios, decks, and gazebos. The background work is not nearly so interesting, but necessary to get the work done.
I wouldn’t dare bore anyone with a look over my shoulder on an average day in the office. No, nothing interesting about watching some bozo sitting behind a desk working a keyboard. But the workings of the nursery behind the landscape company might capture your attention.
As nurseries go this one is far larger than average at 23 acres. Many landscape companies have no area to stock plants and hardscape materials at all, but pick them up on a job-by-job basis. As one of the largest residential landscape installation companies in the country Meadows Farms requires ready access to plants and materials, and an area for parking and loading more than seventy large trucks. The nursery also has extensive display gardens so that clients can view hardscape examples and plants in a landscaped setting.
The nursery stocks plants from small perennials and groundcovers through trees grown in 100 gallon plastic containers that are over twenty feet tall. Plants are watered by a state-of-the-art automatic irrigation system, and large plants are watered with a drip system that has virtually no waste. Six greenhouses and two large shade structures protect plants from inclement weather.
A large section of the nursery is devoted to hardscape materials, flagstone, and concrete pavers, as well as an inventory of more than one million pounds of path and wall stone. To move these heavy materials requires a fleet of skidloaders and forklifts.
The landscape operations generate a lot of waste materials. Meadows Farms has been praised in national trade magazines for its recycling efforts. Excavated soil, rock, and concrete from sidewalks and patios that have been removed are recycled by equipment that screens and mixes organics to make topsoil, and crushes the concrete and rock to make gravel. Very little trash except plastic leaves the nursery.
Several employees are dedicated to the recycling program, but the nursery requires another ten or more to unload daily plant and hardgoods deliveries, and to prepare plants and materials for crews to load for delivery to customers the following day. With crews beginning in the morning and afternoon the nursery operates nearly twenty hours per day.
Two mechanics assure that trucks and equipment meet strict safety guidelines and are maintained in good running order. The shop has space for several trucks and a hydraulic lift that will raise a ten ton truck so a mechanic can safely work under it.
The Landscape office is two stories high with three large warehouse bays so Winter projects can be undertaken out of the weather. The second floor of the office is a large room used for design staff and nursery employee meetings, and is often used by the local nursery association for classes and meetings. The main office houses our planting and hardscape installation departments, grounds maintenance, and our customer service staff.
The office staff, managers, mechanics, and nursery crew work to ease the tasks of the foremen and crew installing landscapes every day. Though the nursery work may not be as exciting as the installation, it is just as important.
If you happen to be in the area, please stop in. You’re welcome to take a walking tour. We’ve made some major additions to the display gardens the past year, and will be adding more later in the Spring. I can’t imagine that there are better displays anywhere. It’s likely that I’ll put together a post later in the Spring to show them off, but pictures won’t tell the full story.