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Jennifer's Experience at Our Central Houston Branch

Interning at BIO Landscape has been an incredible experience so far! I am assigned to the Houston Central Branch and have learned a lot. My mentor and the other Account Managers and employees are very knowledgeable and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from them. This internship has provided me with many skill sets, from management to field work, which will be helpful in my future landscape career.

I have spent the majority of my internship at the Cross Creek Ranch property. My Mentor manages this account and I help him with work there. We work closely with the Developers and Property Managers of Cross Creek to maintain a pristine, sustainably landscaped community. If there is a problem or resident complaint, we look at the area and come up with a prompt solution. Communication between BIO Landscape and Cross Creek Ranch is essential to maintain the community and the company’s reputation as a top landscaper.

During a typical week I shadow my mentor by going on client calls and crew checks with him. This helps me, through observation, see how he handles his business relationships and learn effective management styles in different situations. Each week I also work on projects around the community. I use the enhancement model to create job proposals which are sent to the customer. As part of creating a proposal, I choose the kind of materials and the amount needed and then price the job. Sometimes I will create an exhibit to graphically portray what we plan to do on the job. Once approved I order materials by working with our purchaser or if it’s a small order, directly calling the supplier. Once we have the materials then it’s time for installation! Usually I help oversee this process and make sure everything goes in correctly.

In addition to my management experience, I have gained hands on learning. I have worked with irrigation, maintenance, and the enhancement crews and hope to work with the fert/chem crew soon. With irrigation I have learned basic installation of pipes and watering heads and understanding the different parts which works best for each job site. From this experience I plan to gain an irrigation technician license so that I can learn even more about this area of the landscape industry. The highlight of working with maintenance has been learning how to operate the new John Deere tractor. I spent time mowing a large, grassy pipeline area and it was a lot of fun to drive! With enhancements, I have done several jobs including laying sod, planting Asian Jasmine vine (in heavy clay soil, not the easiest job) and replacing annuals. I designed the annuals job and enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing my ideas become a reality!

My internship with BIO Landscape is passing quickly, I have been learning so much and having a good time working here. In this upcoming month I plan to spend time with the Landscape Designer or the Construction Department as part of my in house rotation to gain knowledge from other areas of the company. I know by the end of my time here I will have gained an immense amount of experience that will only help me in a future management position.

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West Palm Beach Intern Jumps In

 

After being accepted as an intern for the West Palm Beach branch I was excited, yet nervous, not knowing what was to come. My first week was mind blowing as I shadowed my Mentor, learning that there is more to landscaping than designing a beautiful greenspace for personal enjoyment. I dove right in with my Mentor doing site safety, helping her finish a berm project, completing work orders, taking plant inventory and importing information into a model to create a proposal. I also jumped in with the mow crew experiencing the different equipment. I quickly realized how important and busy the job of an Account Manager can be and by the end of my first week I came to appreciate the crews for the hard work they do!


So far, during my time at Austin Outdoor, I have been a part of the team, making phone calls to get prices on equipment, filling out requisitions, learning the importance of coding accounts, going over scheduling with crews and prepping the Crew Leader to move quickly and safely.


One of my favorite experiences was spending time with the West Palm Business Development Manager learning the sales side of the landscape business. It was a great experience as we worked on the enhancement model for an upcoming meeting, placing information into the estimator system and creating an AM report to be sent to the Branch Manager for approval.


With time I have shadowed multiple Account Managers and observed their different styles of working with and operating their crews. I am learning how to communicate professionally with HOA members and what residents want in their landscapes. After weeks of site inspections I have come to realize just how much a landscape can change in a week as I observed plants dying in an area that was fine the week before. I learned scale was the culprit and how to treat the infestation. I found this very interesting since I never experienced scale on plants before.


All in all my internship experience has shown me the importance of thinking about the amount of labor and time it will take to maintain a landscape. When considering a landscape design, it is more than just creating something that looks amazing, it must also be sustainable and survive the environment. I must think long term, that’s the key! Most importantly, my Mentor has taught me how important community and relationships are between you and the customer.

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Presenting the 2015 Intern Class

 

These young men and women, located throughout Austin Outdoor, are proving to be energetic, bright and talented.

Check back soon for updates from our Intern Class about their experiences with us this summer.

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A Brief History of the American Lawn

As we approach the Fourth of July, we’ll all take some time to reflect on the great things we love about our country. We’ll celebrate with fireworks, barbeque, apple pie and ice cream.

Many of us will also take advantage of the long weekend to spend a little time working on our lawns.

We may take our lawns for granted today, but the modern American lawn is still a relatively new phenomenon. In fact, lawns have only become a practical and socially acceptable use of land in the last hundred years.

The American lawn’s history begins with some of our country’s most famous founding fathers.

George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, and Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, were modeled after the royal estates of England and France. They took their inspiration from Greek architecture and from the palaces of Europe, notably Louis XIV’s Versailles, and filled their sprawling grounds with freshly manicured, lush green grass.

These estates and their beautiful lawns were symbols of early American prosperity and power, but were completely impractical for the average citizen. Most early Americans used their land for crops and gardens, a legacy that would continue through to the late 1800s.

Even if the average early American had aspirations to keep a small patch of green grass look after, the tools to mow it weren’t widely accessible. Wealthy estate owners used servants or flocks of sheep to keep their turf trimmed to an appropriate height. Most Americans of the time couldn’t afford to hire out the maintenance of their lawn - to men or to sheep.

The Industrial Revolution removed two major hurdles to widespread adoption of the American lawn – tools and how we use our land.

In 1870, the first push lawn mower was invented. By 1885, Americans were buying 50,000 of them every year. At the same time, we were moving to cities and leaving our agricultural roots behind. With fewer families relying on their gardens for food, they could now create lawns for entertaining and recreation.

Still, there was a challenge to find the right type of grass for our American lawns. English grasses didn’t take hold in most parts of our New World, and native grasses didn’t lend themselves to the desired trim and tidy appearance.

The US Department of Agriculture and the US Golf Association began importing and testing different varieties of grass in different parts of the country in 1915. They soon discovered the right types of turf grasses to plant in each part of the country, in order to give us the perfect American lawn.

At about the same time, the Garden Club of America was formed, publishing a standard definition for what we now know as the American lawn:

"A plot with a single type of grass with no intruding weeds, kept mown at a height of an inch and a half, uniformly green, and neatly edged."

Today, just 100 years later, the professional landscape industry employs over 1 million people and is expected to generate over $80 billion this year.

While some may question why we care so much about our lawns, the fact is that the American lawn has quickly become a part of our culture.

And we think that’s something to celebrate this Fourth of July.

 

SourceAmerican Lawns

Gardens of Versailles Image courtesy Kimberly Vardeman via Flickr

 

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The Scoop on Mowing Height and 3 Common Turf Diseases

Our most recent edition of The Scoop offers tips from our Landscape Professionals.

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Two Traits of Top Commercial Landscape Clients

When we take a look at our top commercial landscape clients, we see that there are two really simple traits that they all share.

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Yellowstone Landscape Expands in Georgia

Yellowstone Landscape expands in Georgia with Perimeter Landscape Management acquisition

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Does your landscape company's size matter?

This week one of our industrys major publications, Lawn and Landscape, released their annual Top 100 listing...

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What it Means to be Landscape Professionals

Earlier this month our industrys national association previously known as the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) rebranded to become the

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Professional Landscape Services Matter

4 benefits of professionally maintained landscapes that go far beyond dollars and cents...

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