The new office building down the street is almost complete, and tenants
are lined up ready to move in. Surrounding the building are mounds of loose
dirt, pools of mud and piles of rocks. Although the steel and glass structure
looks elegant, the outdoor space is in shambles.
It's time to call in the landscape contractor. Following a landscape architect's
plans, landscape contractors collect the materials needed to complete an outdoor
design, create a budget, hire workers and watch over progress of the work
to make sure everything is done according to plan.
Within days, a landscape contractor can transform the property. Topsoil
is unloaded and graded, turf is put down, sprinkling systems are installed,
trees are planted and bedding plants are arranged neatly.
Landscape contractors coordinate the grading of land and the installation
of trees, sod, flowers, benches, lights, sprinkler systems, walkways, fountains
and terraces. Grounds maintenance managers look after the landscape once it
Before working on a project, the landscape contractor estimates how much
it will cost to complete a project. They do this by studying landscape designs
and drawings. They then submit this estimate to the client or landscape architect.
Landscape contractors and managers determine what equipment will be needed
for a job. They manage the workers on the site, keep the project on budget
and confer with the landscape architect and the client.
Some landscape contractors work on large projects such as office buildings
and shopping malls. Others specialize in smaller residential projects.
Landscape contractors may work for a firm. However, many are self-employed.
"I work by contract, so I can set my hours and amount of work," says Trish
Fielkowich. She is a landscape contractor.