Finishing up a Year of Landscaping (2019)

First of all, Merry Christmas!

It was about this time last year that I decided to take on my first big solo job. I’ve been working hard this year to get the equipment that I need to be in business. I owe a huge thanks to Dave Thomas for believing in me, helping me, and teaching me what he knows about landscaping. He helped me huge on my first few projects (one was in Granite Bay) and has taught me so much about making durable, high quality outdoor construction products.

Jamie and Joe Bryant’s Yard Before Photos

Jamie and Joe Bryant’s Yard After Photos

I have learned a lot in the past year about landscaping and have gotten the chance to build my arsenal of tools to be able to take on large scale projects. I now have a great, reliable truck that I use to haul materials and I’d also like to get a dump trailer to increase my hauling capacity.

But the journey hasn’t been easy. At the beginning of the year when I first got the truck I burned up the clutch from not knowing how to drive a manual, which was very costly. But over the course of the last year I’ve gotten a lot better at driving the truck and am now completely proficient at shifting and driving in traffic up hills and all that. Here’s a pic on the right of them hauling my truck away after I burnt up the clutch. She’s running great again, I’ve just started to use the 4 wheel drive in the snow!

Learning how to plan and estimate yards

Since the beginning of my time in landscaping I have loved designing yard for depth and color. I am starting to get very proficient at laying out plants for future growth and want to continue to learn about companion planting and how plants like to grow in groups and with diversity. I am far better at finding the grade of the ground, planning drainage, and creating proper water flow for erosion control.

Drainage, Drainage, and more Drainage

It seems like every new job that I do requires large amounts of drainage. Other landscapers skip on this step and most homeowners don’t know about it, but drainage is an essential part of maintaining health soil for your plants. Heathy soil drains water, meaning that water does not accumulate, pool, stand, and gather bacteria that can kill plant roots. This is especially important for desert and mountain landscapes that see heavy downpours during the winter.

Working for T & M in Meadow Vista

Dave and I worked great together, but I also love to work alone and have been hard at work creating a useable backyard for a client up in meadow vista. I have finished a few portions of the job and things are looking great! Here are the major features:

  • 3 Ft Pressure Treated Retaining Wall
  • Benda Board Grass Area
  • Posts for Blackberry Trellis
  • Sod Fresh from Seed
  • 1 ft Retaining Wall for sod
  • New Mountain Steps with drainage and DG fill
  • New Patio Area for fire pit replaced river rocks with decomposed granite
  • Brick and Mortar Border with concrete footing for decomposed granite patio
  • New Fire Pit with Custom Flagstone cap, wet look finish

The UnderGround

For the first few weeks of the job, I had to focus on something completely different than what you see above. It was actually extremely messy for the vast majority of the project and only in the last few days was I able to start getting everything really clean again.

Drainage Installation

When I begin working on a new project, I focus on one thing; the water.

This is how the Earth moves and shapes itself. It is therefore the primary component of land/property management and outdoor construction. It always amazes me how little people know about erosion and grading, but it is the primary component of maintaining any kind of healthy landscape. Standing water kills plants, just as easily as not watering plants at all.

Drainage is essential for landscaping. Any type of hardscape (cement, stone, brick) requires it and honestly it should be considered whenever any type of construction is being planned.

The Meadow Vista job was a great chance to work on my knowledge and to start planning from end to end of a job. The drains will keep the hillside from erosion and will maintain the grade that I create for the grass area, patio, and retaining wall that I built. I am really happy about how it has turned out so far, and my clients want a lot more work done!

Working with Dave Thomas has afforded me some awesome opportunities

Again, shout out to Dave; he is a very skilled worker. Working for him has taught me a lot because of the diversity of work that he takes on, from fencing to sod installations to full yard tear-outs and re-installs.

Here are some of the categories of Dave’s jobs that I got to work on:

  • Sod Installations
  • Drainage Installations
  • Grass Alternative Lawn Installations
  • High Quality Fencing Replacements
  • Retaining Walls (wood and stone)
  • Light Masonry (I am working on my first stone wall)
  • Benda board installations
  • Pathways
  • Laying Brick
  • Brick and Mortar walkway bordering
  • Brick Fireplaces
  • Concrete Cutting
  • Sprinkler Repair
  • Gate Repair
  • Gate Installation
  • Tilling
  • Trenching
  • Sod Removal
  • Small Tree Removal
  • Limb Removal
  • Pruning
  • Weeding
  • Weedwacking
  • Brushcutting
  • Thicket Clearing
  • Plant Installs

So I really do owe Dave a huge thanks, he taught me a ton! Its pretty obvious when you see high quality work and Dave is consistently getting work done. Thanks again.

Concluding a Year of Hard Work

I am very happy with how all of my projects this year have turned out. I typically continue to work on yards after installs (I don’t mow grass, but I do trim trees, bushes and hedges!) on maintenance, repairs, etc. I have gotten pretty good at installing irrigation manifolds and timers! Next year I will be focusing on water efficiency for xeriscapes, more masonry and carpentry production, and I am really hoping to get into more metal working (though who knows if this will pan out). I currently am working on a big rock wall and will post some pictures as soon as I feel like its pretty enough 🙂

Thanks for reading! If you are interesting in getting me to come out and look at work, I do bids for free.

Contact me for your next project!!


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