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Charleston Intern Experiences the Value of Building Solid Relationships

This is a guest post, written by Alic, about his intern experience with us this summer.

I met Yellowstone Landscape in 2016 during the National Collegiate Landscape Competition at Mississippi State. This past spring, at the same competition I was approached by their recruiter, Lisa Hall, who remembered me from the previous year. This simple act stood out to me and after several conversations, I accepted an internship with Yellowstone Landscape for the summer of 2017. Approaching the internship, I had high anticipation for what Charleston, South Carolina had in store and it has not disappointed!

Throughout my career as a Kansas State student, I have taken many classes that pertain to the landscape industry. I have gained experience through those classes and other internships that have enhanced the value of my time here at Yellowstone Landscape. With previous experience in estimating, my Mentor and I structured my internship to focus mostly around that area of the landscape construction process.

My days are often spent in the office where I devote time looking through plans and discovering how they are built. Once the plan is reviewed it’s then time to do a take-off. Using a specialized program, I count the areas and estimate quantities of products like mulch, concrete, sod, pavers, etc. to ultimately determine the project cost. It is a lot like completing a puzzle where each piece has a price, including mark-ups and labor. If pieces are missed, the cost of the bid will not be precise, so accuracy is key.

When learning how these projects are put together, it’s easy to see how much information and detail are needed. Every day I learn something new. I have spent time in the field where knowing Spanish is an asset and contacted suppliers and clients where it is imperative to be patient and polite. I have also learned the value of time management and organization to meet key deadlines. These are just a few of the countless skills I have improved during my time at Yellowstone Landscape.

My time spent in Charleston is not limited to what I’ve experienced inside the office. I have also had the opportunity to network socially with the company at baseball games and dinners and observe how relationships are built within other areas of our industry.

Overall Charleston is a beautiful place and Yellowstone Landscape is an awesome company! I recommend this Internship experience to anyone considering the landscape industry as a career.

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Port St. Lucie Intern Falls in Love!

 

This is a guest post, written by Emily, about her intern experience with us this summer.

 

This summer I’ve had the pleasure of being an Intern at the Yellowstone Landscape, Port Saint Lucie Branch where I have been exposed to an entirely new world - the world of professional landscaping! Between mowing lawns, detailing palm trees, installing irrigation systems, and applying fertilizers and pesticides, I have gained an enormous amount of experience. These skills will be essential to my success in the future, as I’m certain this is the industry for me.

Before this summer, I had only been exposed to farming and small-scale horticultural practices, such as planting and harvesting fruits and vegetables, at my university’s gardens. As I went through each of the rotations of the internship, I experienced a different aspect of landscape maintenance, and I’ve fallen in love!

Every department has its own unique and essential role, and every crew member’s attention to detail and commitment to creating and maintaining premier properties impressed me to no end. In fact, I was incredibly impressed by every department I worked with, and I’m proud to say I believe that the relationships I have made this summer will last a lifetime.

This summer I learned a very valuable life lesson, “go with the flow” and it will work out. There were times throughout the summer that people wouldn’t show up or the weather would interfere with our plan for the day and the common approach was to stay calm and let things work out. This was a new concept to me, being a college student, when disaster strikes you, act! But in “the real world”, acting isn’t always the best option. Sometimes, the best course of action is to wait and let the situation work itself out. This lesson has proven to be invaluable to me not only in a professional setting, but in my every-day life. This summer has taught me more than how to operate a lawnmower and how to troubleshoot an irrigation clock; it has taught me how to be a more functional, professional, and go-with-the-flow adult with a tremendously useful skillset. I am grateful for my experiences with the crews and my Mentor and wouldn’t trade them for anything!

 

 

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Houston Construction Intern Applies Classroom Knowledge with Field Experience

This is a guest post, written by Blake, about his intern experience with us this summer.

 

Interning with the Houston Central Branch has been an experience unlike anything I expected.  As a Construction Intern, I was exposed to many new things and many different management styles.  Although I was assigned one Mentor, all four Project Managers stepped in to mentor me and make sure I got the most out of my internship.  Whether it be through shadowing, supervising crews, or helping manage projects.  I was exposed to everything that goes into project management and was able to apply what I am learning in school with those experiences, which is extremely valuable.

During my internship I experienced site analysis, plan take off’s, estimates, procurement and ordering, working on crews and managing crews.  I also participated in punch walks and pre-construction meetings, gaining an understanding of business language, client engagement and meeting topics which I found very valuable.

My favorite internship experience was a sustainability project at a landfill where we planted 60,000 grasses.  The process, known as Phytoremediation, uses various grasses and trees to clean pollutants and leachate water from the landfill so it can be recycled.  As part of this project, I attended client meetings and experienced behind the scenes discussions.  I also participated in the project start up, helped unload the 60,000 grasses, and saw the project through to the end.  Applying my knowledge of sustainability and water recycling from classroom studies in school was extremely valuable throughout this process.

Interning with Yellowstone Landscape has been a blessing and everything I could ask for in furthering my education in the landscape industry.  These lessons learned, as well as the importance of safety for all employees, and to be proactive rather than reactive, I will carry with me throughout my career.  I am forever grateful for my experience at Yellowstone Landscape and for the many opportunities provided by the managers and mentors I am working with.

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Infographic: Economic Benefits of Green Spaces

It's something we've written about many times before, but the economic impact of green spaces really is remarkable. Check out this infographic we created to share some facts about just how important professionally managed landscapes are.

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Spruce Up Your Commercial Landscape by Planting Some New Trees

Maintaining your commercial landscape is a task that is important to you. Not only does your landscaping say a great deal about how well your property is maintained, it brings countless benefits to you and your community. While it’s obvious that trees offer energy-saving and health benefits, there are at least two reasons to plant some new trees on your commercial property today: appearance and property value.


Appearance
A quick and fairly inexpensive way to make your landscaping appear more sophisticated is to plant new trees. Research has shown that commercial areas with trees are more attractive to shoppers and tenants. By simply planting some trees and properly maintaining them, you’re able to stimulate economic development. In addition to providing a beautiful environment, trees offer shade and reduced energy costs which are valuable to you and your customers. A laboratory experiment also claims that visual exposure to settings with trees reduces recovery time from a stressful situation. Adding some trees to your commercial landscape will not only add beauty but peace.


Property Value
With an abundance of tree types available, the possibilities for improving your commercial landscape are endless. If you’re looking for a great way to increase your property value, trees are an excellent solution. If you’re looking to benefit from increased property value sooner than later, look for trees that are known for their quick growth habit. Some examples of fast growing trees include Red Maple and Eastern White Pine. Because these types of trees grow quickly, it’s important to plant them in a suitable area and have them properly maintained. If you don’t need fast growing trees, there are plenty of trees to select based on other requirements.


A great way to improve the overall appearance of your commercial landscape is to plant new trees. In order to ensure that the right trees are selected for your specific landscape, consult the professionals at Yellowstone Landscape today.

 

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Landscape Expectations vs. Landscape Budgets

Let’s start with a quick story…

A few years ago we were awarded the landscape maintenance contract for a large townhome community. As the board president was signing our contract, he told us that he had voted for us because we were more than just “mow, blow, and go”, like his previous landscape providers had been. He scheduled an initial walkthrough with us to “have a look at some areas that could use a little extra help”.

Excited to start out on the right foot, we showed up for the property walk with notebooks and cameras ready.  We spent 3 hours walking around the community, listening to him talk about all the things he felt his previous landscaper did wrong. He also talked about all the choices he would have made, if he had been to one to select the plant palette for the community when it was built.  He then asked us to come back to him with a plan for how we were going to attack the areas he’d pointed out to us.

We came back to him a week later with renderings of the beautifully reimagined landscape that could be his. It was like a work of art we were unveiling to him. The drawings incorporated the exact plant materials he had told us he preferred, and we expected to hear nothing but praise for how well we’d paid attention to his needs.

Instead, he was just embarrassed.

“It’s absolutely beautiful. But we don’t have the money for all this. We just want you to do what’s in the contract we signed with you. If you do a good job, maybe next year we can talk about doing a little something extra.”

 

Sometimes clarifying the client’s expectations is the most difficult part of what we do. Serving a client well often starts with helping them to define what they expect from us. Then, we have to delicately balance their expectations with their budget.

We can design a beautiful space for a client that would rival anything they’ve ever seen on Pinterest, but if they can’t afford to install and maintain it, then we’ve failed to serve that client well.

This is the challenge we face when working with a lot of new clients. It’s easy to look at other properties’ landscaping and say “I want that”, without understanding the level of investment is to get “that” particular look.

Here’s something we like to remind our clients - landscapes are living things that are in a constant state of change. With the help of trained Landscape Professionals, they are constantly improving, becoming healthier and more beautiful. And the client’s vision of what their landscape should look like won’t happen overnight, no matter how much they spend.

Improving and enhancing a landscape takes time, and many of the things we do will not be immediately apparent. In fact, if the client is serious about making a dramatic change to their landscape, it will often require making it look worse before it gets better.

But over time, the client’s expectation will become their reality. Turf will get greener. Shrubs and trees will look healthier and more full. Flowers will be more vibrant.

As budgets change, the key to serving a client well is to help them define and adjust expectations accordingly.  With consistent communication and planning, their budget and their expectations can be aligned.

Are you searching for a new commercial landscape partner? One who will take the time to understand what you really expect from your property’s landscape.

Request an appointment to meet with your local Yellowstone Landscape Professional today. You can afford a more beautiful landscape.

 

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Movin’ On Up

It’s that time of year again.

The time of year when landscape companies find out where we rank among our competition.

Each summer the landscape industry’s major publications create their listings of the largest landscape companies in North America. The data is gathered, analyzed, and rankings are sorted by each company’s revenue.

We used to wonder who, outside of our employees and others in the industry, would care about these rankings. But for the last couple of years, the article on our blog where we revealed where Yellowstone sits on this listing has been one of our most popular posts of the year.

Obviously, it’s a tremendous honor to be included anywhere on these listings, but over the past few years, we’ve been steadily “movin’ on up” the list and, in the 2017 edition, we’re up one spot to number 12.

Why do we look forward to these listings every year?

Two reasons.

First, it tracks the growth of our industry from year to year. This year, the Top 100 companies generated $9.16 billion (yes, billion with a “b”). That’s an increase from 2016 of almost 7%. This means that customers are investing in the services we offer across the country. It means that our industry’s largest companies are healthy and growing.

Second, we care about these rankings because they give us a chance to show how far we’ve come in a relatively short time. We’re proud of the company that we’re becoming, and these listings allow us to share our progress with our employees, our customers, our colleagues, and our future Yellowstone Landscape Professionals.

More than two years ago, we laid out 5 key elements of how we track our company’s success. One of those keys is growth. So, as we continue to climb up the rankings, and especially now as we enter the top 12, there’s no doubt that we are growing. But what the listings don’t show are all the other positive changes in our company that come with growth.

In the last year, we’ve hired new employees and promoted existing team members, deserving of more responsibility. We’ve begun partnerships with dozens of new clients. We’ve renewed relationships with clients we’ve been proudly serving, some for more than a decade. We’ve expanded to new service areas and welcomed our new team members in North Carolina.

None of that shows up directly in a Top 100 listing, but those are the kinds of things that are the truest measure of why our growth is something to be proud of.

In closing, as has become our practice when these listings come out each year, we pause and say a heartfelt “Thank you” to our clients, our employees, and everyone else who’s helped us get to where we are today.

It is a great honor to be a part of such a vibrant and growing industry.

 

To see the entire 2017 list of Lawn and Landscape’s Top 100 companies in their May issue, click here.

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Why We Celebrate So Much

Almost every week I get an email with pictures of smiling Yellowstone Landscape Professionals attached to it...

A safety rodeo in Bradenton.

A team building event in Houston.

A golf outing in Atlanta.

But here in our corporate headquarters, the team that supports our branches rarely get a chance to relax and enjoy each other’s company. So, to correct that, we held our first annual Summer Kickoff party on Friday, May 19th. From our chili cookoff, to some spirited games of cornhole, through the big screen tv raffle, a great time was had by all. Photos in the gallery above are from last week’s Summer Kickoff (and please, please scroll down to the bottom of the page to see our Contracts Specialist Conner’s hula hoop contest-winning performance.)

Someone recently shared an interesting observation with me about our company LinkedIn and Instagram pages. She told me that, to her, it looks like all we do is celebrate, and she wanted to know if that was okay. She was worried that people might think we’re not a hard-working company.

I suppose that’s a fair concern, but the truth is there’s a lot to celebrate in our company right now.

Yes, summer is almost here, and summer is the hardest time of year for commercial landscaping companies. Our service crews are gearing up for long, hot days. In some areas, we’re dealing with drought, while in others we’re scheduling around daily rain showers.

But when you’ve been in the commercial landscaping business for a long time, it’s what’s to be expected.

We expect to grind it out all summer. It will be hard, but it will be worth it when we see the difference we make with each service visit.

If all we ever focused on was how hard this work is, we’d never have any fun. And for those of us who’ve chosen to be Landscape Professionals, our job is supposed to be fun.

So, through the summer, we’ll continue to find reasons to celebrate.

When a branch improves their Safety Score, we’ll celebrate.

When a new client signs on with us, we’ll celebrate.

When a long-time client renews their contract, we’ll celebrate.

When one of the properties we serve is recognized with an award, we’ll celebrate.

And sometimes, just making it to a Friday afternoon will be a good enough reason for us to celebrate.

 

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3 Outdoor Hazards on Your Property (And How to Prevent Them with Landscape Maintenance)

Avoiding injuries - it’s a concern property managers and owners always have in the back of their minds. Owning a commercial property ultimately means that you are liable in the event anyone gets hurt. Routine maintenance is constantly performed inside the building to ensure it is aesthetically pleasing, functional and up to code. Likewise, you want to make sure your landscape is always safe. Several hazards can appear on almost any commercial lawn, but a quick response will easily eliminate them as threats.

1. Diseased or Damaged Trees
Trees bring a lot of beauty to a landscape. However, they can also bring quite a few dangers especially after a stormy or windy day. Pay attention to how well all your trees are holding up so that you know when it is an ideal time to remove a dying one. A tree that is leaning more than 15 degrees to the side needs to be handled right away because a high gust of wind could easily knock it over. In particular, you want to pay attention to trees that are near power lines or buildings because those can result in significant property damage as well.

In addition to removing the tree, you also want to make sure you deal with the stump that is left behind. The stump should be eliminated the same time the tree is being taken down. A stump can trip someone, and it makes the perfect habitat for termites, cockroaches and other troublesome pests.

2. Debris-Ridden Walkways
Everything from parks to apartment complexes should have a walkway so that people do not have to walk across the grass to get to the building. Leaves, branches and other pieces of debris will fall onto the walkway over time, resulting in a significant hazard. Slip and fall cases are one of the most common lawsuits in the country, and you do not want anyone slipping and hurting themselves while on your commercial property.

3. Flooding and Standing Water
You want to be certain there is an efficient system in place that prevents water from pooling on your landscape. Water can make its way onto walkways, and increase the risk of someone falling. Standing water is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can pester guests. Keeping water away will also protect your building from any water damage.

Find exceptional landscapers who can assist you with Yellowstone Landscape. Learn more by calling 877-785-6685.

Avoiding injuries- it’s a concern property managers and owners always have in the back of their minds. Owning a commercial property ultimately means that you are liable in the event anyone gets hurt. Routine maintenance is constantly performed inside the building to ensure it is aesthetically pleasing, functional and up to code. Likewise, you want to make sure your landscape is always safe. Several hazards can appear on almost any commercial lawn, but a quick response will easily eliminate them as threats.

 

1. Diseased or Damaged Trees

 

Trees bring a lot of beauty to a landscape. However, they can also bring quite a few dangers especially after a stormy or windy day. Pay attention to how well all your trees are holding up so that you know when it is an ideal time to remove a dying one. A tree that is leaning more than 15 degrees to the side needs to be handled right away because a high gust of wind could easily knock it over. In particular, you want to pay attention to trees that are near power lines or buildings because those can result in significant property damage as well.

 

In addition to removing the tree, you also want to make sure you deal with the stump that is left behind. The stump should be eliminated the same time the tree is being taken down. A stump can trip someone, and it makes the perfect habitat for termites, cockroaches and other troublesome pests.

 

2. Debris-Ridden Walkways

 

Everything from parks to apartment complexes should have a walkway so that people do not have to walk across the grass to get to the building. Leaves, branches and other pieces of debris will fall onto the walkway over time, resulting in a significant hazard. Slip and fall cases are one of the most common lawsuits in the country, and you do not want anyone slipping and hurting themselves while on your commercial property.

 

3. Flooding and Standing Water

 

You want to be certain there is an efficient system in place that prevents water from pooling on your landscape. Water can make its way onto walkways, and increase the risk of someone falling. Standing water is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can pester guests. Keeping water away will also protect your building from any water damage.

 

Find exceptional landscapers who can assist you with Yellowstone Landscape. Learn more by calling 877-

785-6685.
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3 Ways Our Clients Use Landscaping to Tackle Their Toughest Challenges

When most people think about their property’s landscape, they envision colorful flowers, pruned shrubs, healthy trees, and vibrant green grass. Professionally maintained landscapes are beautiful and create a great first impression, but what else can a landscape do?

Over the past few years, some of our clients have begun to find new, practical uses for their landscapes. They use our commercial landscaping services to help solve problems that go far beyond curb appeal.  Here are 3 examples of how our clients are thinking differently about the landscaping at their properties and in their communities.

Landscape to Improve Air Quality. This first example is a practical lesson we’ve learned from some of our manufacturing clients.  These are companies that build very large, very complicated, and very precise products. Think airplanes and heavy industrial equipment.  One of their biggest challenges is controlling the quality of the air inside their enormous manufacturing facilities. They can’t risk allowing dirt and dust to get inside and contaminate their work areas. So, in addition to large, expensive air purifying systems inside the buildings, they’ve found another key to controlling particulates in the air – covering the dirt outside the buildings with grass.  This common sense solution reduces the amount of dust in the air outside, so there’s less chance of it getting into the building. This allows them to change out expensive air filters less frequently, and their industrial air purifying systems don’t have to work so hard to keep their assembly areas clean.

Landscape to Control Erosion. For communities and commercial properties with hills and slopes, dealing with erosion usually means installing a retaining wall. But retaining walls aren’t always the most aesthetically pleasing solution to the problem. For some of our clients, installing a landscape feature area is a better long-term solution to control their erosion problem.  By using a mix of ground covers, shrubs, and trees, then adding in other natural elements like boulders, we can turn an erosion control project into a property beautification project.  The key is to select a mix of plants with shallow and deep roots, to help firm up the soil.  We choose plants native to the area, and look for options that don’t require excessive amounts of water.

Landscape to Make Roads Safer. Cities and local governments are always looking for new ways to make roadways safer.  To help prevent head on crashes medians have long been used to divide opposing lanes of traffic. Today, more cities choosing to fill their medians with landscape materials, rather than metal guardrails or concrete barriers. Single rows of trees, planted uniform distances apart, offer the same protection for motorists as a guard rail or concrete wall, but add a touch of natural beauty to the asphalt roads and highways.  Similarly, adding shrubs and native grasses to medians keeps the headlights of oncoming traffic out of nighttime drivers’ eyes.

While the aesthetic value of your landscaping will probably always be your primarily concern, more of our clients are finding that their landscapes can serve some very important practical purposes, too.  Landscaping can improve air quality. It can help control erosion. And it can be used to save lives, when it makes our roadways safer.

Looking for some innovative ideas to tackle your property’s biggest challenge? You might discover the answer in your landscape. Meet your local Yellowstone Landscape Professional and let’s put your landscape to work for you.

 

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CORPORATE OFFICES

3235 North State Street
PO Box 849

Bunnell, FL 32110
877.785.6685

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Building lasting relationships.