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Who is your competition?

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a writer from The Landscape Professional, one of the landscape industry’s monthly publications.  His cover article explores some of the challenges commercial landscape companies face and he asked how we’re handling the changes in the market since the great recession.  Specifically, he wanted to know how we compete for new projects.

Competition is something I think about every day.  As a company, we propose millions of dollars of landscape installation and commercial landscape maintenance projects every month.  Sometimes clients choose to partner with us.  Sometimes clients choose another landscape contractor.  Every project and every decision has story, but in every single case we’re proposing “against” a competitor.

But the other landscape firms aren’t the competition that matter the most in decisions about who will care for your property’s landscape.

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Tradition Receives National Landscape Award of Excellence

It’s always a thrill for us to see one of our clients’ properties earn national recognition. While Tradition in Port St. Lucie, Florida is no stranger to the national spotlight, we’re honored that we were able to be a part of the community’s latest honor. 

Tradition was recognized with a National Landscape Award of Excellence as a part of our industry association’s annual awards program.  We submitted Tradition in this year’s awards program for a number of reasons, but chief among them was the partnership that our local Treasure Coast service team has built with Tradition’s community leadership. 

Please click here to view the press release announcing Tradition’s recognition as part of this year’s National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Award of Excellence program. 

On behalf of everyone at Yellowstone Landscape, congratulations to Tradition and our Treasure Coast landscape service team for creating such a premier property and furthering our lasting relationship with the community.

Tradition Receives National Landscape Award of Excellence 1

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Yellowstone Landscape Joins Greater Tomball Chamber

Yellowstone Landscape is honored to join with other local businesses as members of the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce provides resources and fosters relationships that empower businesses to prosper. Incorporated in 1965, the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce was first organized in the 1920s. The Chamber has an excellent reputation for representing the interests of its members and is recognized throughout Texas for its passionate advocacy for the community. Representatives from our company attended a ribbon cutting ceremony with other members and staff from the GTACC at a ceremony held last week.

 

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Yellowstone Landscape Expands in Central Florida With Acquisition of Ackman Brothers Landscaping

Today we are proud to announce that we have added Ackman Bros. Landscaping, including Jason and Kevin Ackman, to our Yellowstone Landscape team.

Ackman Bros. Landscaping has been providing high quality landscape maintenance services to Orlando’s resort, HOA, multi-family, and commercial properties since 1996, and have recently expanded eastward to the St. Augustine area.  Their personal attention to their clients’ specifications, combined with clear communication, responsive service, quality employee training, and consistently excellent performance on customers’ properties have helped them become one of Orlando’s most respected landscape maintenance companies.

We are excited to be working with Jason, Kevin and the Ackman team, and have already brought on all of their personnel and begun training on our systems and processes. Our combination with Ackman makes us one of the strongest landscape providers in Central Florida, and our joint aim is to be clearly known as the highest quality commercial landscape maintenance provider in Central Florida. We welcome the Landscape Professionals from Ackman who are joining our team.

For more on the story, you can read the press release here.

 

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A Yellowstone Landscape Company

In 2008, Austin Outdoor and BIO Landscape joined forces under the Yellowstone Landscape Group, partnering to share more than fifty years of combined landscape industry experience.

The following is an excerpt from a special announcement recently sent to our clients from Tim Portland, our CEO, sharing some very exciting news:

In 2008, Austin Outdoor and BIO Landscape joined forces under the Yellowstone Landscape Group, partnering to share more than fifty years of combined landscape industry experience. Since then, each company has been known as “a Yellowstone Landscape Company”. We have worked together to create an organization that offers our clients industry-leading expertise in landscape design and installation, landscape maintenance, irrigation and tree care services. Our focus on exceeding customer expectations, industry leading safety practices, disciplined professionalism, and cost competitiveness in our operations has led to our growth across Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. We seek to be the premier commercial landscape service company in the South, and to bring that excellence to bear on behalf of our customers.

As we move forward, further instilling best operating practices across our company and growing with our customers, we are uniting our companies under one brand name - Yellowstone Landscape. Doing so will make our services and capabilities more seamless and efficient, and better captures the common excellence to which we aspire.

You will soon begin to see the new logo on our vehicles and our uniforms, but there is one thing that will not be changing – our teams of dedicated landscape professionals, focused on delivering the quality landscape services that our clients have come to expect from us, and that have been built up from over fifty years of combined heritage, legacy and performance from Austin Outdoor and BIO Landscape. On behalf of the landscape professionals at Yellowstone Landscape, thank you for the opportunity to be of service, and we will continue our pursuit of “Creating premier properties and Building lasting relationships”.

Sincerely,
Tim Portland

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3 Reasons You Should Get to Know Your Landscaper

People in the commercial landscaping business are generally a fun group of people to be around. 

In case that’s not enough reason for you to invest the time to get to know your landscaper better, here are 3 good business reasons you should get to know your property’s commercial landscape provider.

Your commercial landscaper controls your property’s curb appeal.

“The grounds are what sets our community apart from others in the area and it is key that our landscaping shines.”

We received this comment from one of our clients in her response to our annual client survey.  She clearly understands exactly what makes people want to buy homes in her community.  

As the housing market continues to rebound, buyers are back and they expect more for their money.  Curb appeal has long been an important way to make homes more attractive to buyers, and curb appeal starts with the community’s entrances and common areas.  It’s even begun to play an important role in marketing commercial real estate properties.

Your landscaper should make sure that your property’s curb appeal is always at its best and understand exactly why it matters to you.

Your landscape increases (or decreases) the value of your property.

Good curb appeal makes your property more attractive to buyers.  More attractive properties command a premium that buyers are willing to pay.

  • Consumers value a landscaped home over 11% higher than its base price.
  • Consumers pay a 12% premium for goods purchased in retail establishments that are accompanied by quality landscaping.
  • Small businesses rank the amount of green space and proximity to parks and recreation as the number-one priority when selecting a new location.

So, if great landscaping is key to selling homes at higher prices, to influencing more expensive retail purchases and to leasing commercial space more quickly, the landscaper has a huge effect on the value of the property they maintain. 

If the landscaper does a poor job, your property loses more than just its curb appeal, it can also lose its long-term financial value.

The wrong landscaper could cost you more than you realize.

If you’re responsible for your property’s commercial landscape service, selecting the right landscaper can make you look like a hero.

“This community has never looked better.  I don’t know how you found them, but they have completely turned things around.  Thank you!”

That’s the kind of note that Property Managers want to get from their clients.

The wrong landscaper will cost you credibility with your client.  Finding a great landscaper takes time, if you have to conduct a search for a new one every year, the wrong landscaper is going to cost you time, too.

One of our clients recently highlighted exactly what the stakes are for him after he brought us on to one of his properties.

“My job, as well as yours, depends on the grounds looking great.”

No pressure there, right?

We take the faith our clients place in us very seriously because we know this all too well.  It’s not just our contract on the line - our performance is a direct reflection on the Property Manager who hires us.

 

When you consider all the things that your commercial landscaper’s performance impacts, we hope you’ll agree that it’s worth spending a little time to get to know them better.  Make sure that you and your landscaper are both focused on the same goals, and that your needs and expectations are consistently being met.

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The Scoop on Dealing with Late Summer Lawn Stress

 

Late summer can be one of the most difficult seasons for your home’s lawn and landscaping. Temperatures are at their hottest of the year and you’re likely to be dealing with either excessive rainfall or extended drought. And the humid nights aren't giving your lawn a break from the stress of the daytime, either. There are a few things to remember as we approach the late summer season that will help keep your lawn healthy and deal with the stress brought on by Mother Nature.

Be flexible with your maintenance program.

By late summer most of us have gotten into the routine of weekly mowings.
Every Saturday morning we’re out behind our mower and it’s become part of our schedule. Weekly mowings are a great practice, but pay attention to the weather to make sure you’re doing what’s best for your lawn. If you’re in the middle of an extended period of drought with little relief in site, it might be better to skip a week and let your lawn recover. Keep an eye on your irrigation schedule, too. If you’re getting daily rainfall and your lawn’s showing signs of disease, it’s probably best to dial back your watering frequency and help your lawn dry out.

Don’t forget about the less regular additional maintenance practices.

Sometimes called cultural practices, or best management practices, there are other things that your lawn needs in addition to regular maintenance tasks like mowing and watering. Additional practices include things like fertilizing, overseeding, topdressing, aerating, and implementing an integrated pest management (IPM) program. More on these practices in future editions of The Scoop.

Know when to fertilize your lawn.

When your grass gets a little brown in the late summer, it’s easy to be tempted to add a little fertilizer, but be careful not to fertilize too soon. Late summer fertilizing should only be done when you’re sure that you’ve passed the worst of late summer stress and when nighttime temperatures begin to cool and the humidity is less severe. This means that most of us will typically be waiting until September to apply our fertilizers. Fertilizing too soon alters the natural growth pattern of your turf and creates an environment favorable for pests and disease. Applying at the right time promotes deep and healthy roots and gives them time to get established before fall and winter.

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Southwest Houston Intern Learns From Unique Experiences!

Accepting an internship with BIO Landscape has definitely been an outstanding decision on my part. I am currently working at the Southwest Houston Branch with some of Yellowstone’s most top notch employees. So far my experience has been one for the books. Once I was acquainted with the team I felt right at home in an enthusiastic and hard-working atmosphere.

I have spent an ample amount of time in the field, whether it is with Account Managers, Business Developers, or Labor Crews.  I started out shadowing my Mentor and the other Account Managers. They showed me their various properties and what is expected of the crews on a routine maintenance visit, what to look for when arriving, and opportunities that could enhance the properties and increase revenue.  While shadowing, I was able to interact with clients and learned how to make wise managerial decisions.

A few times that I worked with the Irrigation/Enhancement Account Manager; we drove to several properties checking irrigation issues.  With a background in irrigation I enjoyed working with him and learning what he had to offer.  One job at the Port of Houston I found very interesting.  It started out as a normal enhancement project, adding a zone to some pre-existing irrigation, followed by creating a bed and adding flowers.  It seemed simple until a sub-contractor had to come out and bore through 6-8 feet of concrete.  The job required us to bore underneath the concrete in order to get irrigation to the bed that had been created and once complete everything would go as planned. Of course the best laid plans never happen.  The bore ended up getting stuck 3-4 feet under the cement where the road bed and cement came together. We tried everything from twisting and pulling the hydraulic hose to get it out but couldn’t make any headway.  We ended up losing the bore and had to make a new one which then worked as planned.  This experience showed me exactly how fast a project, proposed to be done in one day, can turn into a three day job in a matter of minutes.

Most recently I went out with a crew to inspect islands in Galveston Bay.  We reported to the marina at 6:00 AM to meet our ride for the day.  While inspecting these islands we looked for signs of erosion or anything out of the ordinary such as a lot trash or poaching.  The islands are created to store mud that is dredged from the bottom of the shipping channel.  Once dredged, it is pumped into the island (retention pond for mud).  We also pulled drains boards to let any remaining water flow out.  I had never heard of inspecting islands until now, I found the process very interesting.  Once we finished with the inspections the guide took us fishing.  It was the middle of the afternoon and the fish weren’t biting but I did learn something new.  These past few months have been a continuous learning experience.

All in all I have had an outstanding time working out of the Southwest office where I learn something new every day.  I plan to stay in this industry and these experiences will enhance my future career.  I am very appreciative of this opportunity and excited it has been a successful learning experience.

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Atlanta West Intern Learns Landscape Maintenance on a Larger Scale

Working at the Austin Outdoor Atlanta West Branch has been a pleasure from day one.  The people that work here are helpful and very passionate about their work.  Austin Outdoor is the largest landscaping company I have worked for and before this internship, I had never serviced a commercial property.  

My first week was exciting, while riding with my mentor, I saw what managers do and how they handle the crews on a day to day basis.  Learning how the managers worked helped me understand what was expected of them and their crews.  My mentor is very supportive, he answers all my questions and helps me understand my role as an Intern.  

Tom, my Mentor, manages the irrigation work also and I began working on some of these jobs for him in my second week.  The previous summer I worked in Dallas, TX for a company doing residential irrigation repairs and trouble shooting.  This is where I learned skills to benefit Tom as an irrigation helper.  The scope of things I encounter here are larger in size compared to what I have in the past due to the commercial aspect, but for the most part, it all works the same.  During my time with Austin Outdoor I replaced double checks, fixed broken pipes, replaced heads, located valves, replaced controllers, and more.  I have loved every minute of it!

After running the irrigation truck for a while, I was put in charge of driving different maintenance trucks to fill in for various Crew Leaders.  This was a new experience for me. I had never serviced a commercial property before and I had never even been to most of these properties.  I gave it my best shot and each day I learned more and more about what to look for on the sites.  Riding with different crews is beneficial because each crew would let me know how the regular Crew Leader would handle the property. From these experiences I learned the most efficient way to conduct day to day operations.  Juan Carlos is a Crew Leader that sections his properties off in three week rotations.  He does this because it is difficult to prune everything all in one day on a property.  Every week the mowing, blowing, and edging would get done, but each week only a section would get pruned, sprayed, and weeded.  After three weeks, it was time to do that section again.  This system works great for keeping up with the property and not missing any areas.

Working for Austin Outdoor has taught me a lot about maintaining landscapes and I am grateful for the hands on experience I have received.  A career with Austin Outdoor is something to consider if you are interested in landscape management.  If you love working outdoors as much as I do and are looking for an internship or pursuing a career, I highly recommend Austin Outdoor!

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North Branch Intern Enjoys Her Time in the Field!

When I first met the BIO Landscape Recruiters at the Sam Houston State University Ag Career Fair I knew at once that if I was offered an internship this would be the one I take.  I was nervous at the prospect of taking an internship in general and I have not regretted my decision to accept this opportunity with BIO Landscape in any way.  I am now ten weeks in and I am quite sad that this internship is coming to an end. 

Throughout my college career I have taken classes that pertain to the landscape industry and although I have gained a great deal of experience through school, it pales in comparison to what I have learned while here at the North Houston Branch of BIO.  Every day is different but I have spent a great deal of time working with my mentor on one contract in particular that maintains over 120 parks in The Woodlands area. 

Most days are spent visiting parks and communicating face to face with the customer but my favorite days are those that I get to spend in the field.  The days that I spend applying my studies to real world experiences are those that excite me most, including those that I don’t have much knowledge on.  If the tractor is available once the crews have left the yard in the morning I will sometimes attempt my hand at cleaning up the brush pile in the yard.  I am not the greatest at consolidating the brush pile but I do greatly appreciate the opportunity to gain some experience. 

On a weekly basis I ride with different Account Managers learning from each of them and their perspective.  This past week I spent a great deal of time with the Irrigation Specialist.  I have very minimal knowledge of the inner workings of irrigation systems so I was very excited when I was allowed to help with an enhancement to an existing irrigation system at one of the parks we service. 

Seeing how life at the North branch is very busy, I never find myself doing the same thing as the day before.  From working with Dario in Fert/Chem to helping Willie organize things in the garage, I have enjoyed every moment of my internship with BIO Landscape.  

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PO Box 849

Bunnell, FL 32110
877.785.6685

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Creating premier properties.
Building lasting relationships.