Blog

Joseph Barnes has served as Marketing Manager of Yellowstone Landscape since 2013.  He writes on a variety of topics related to the commercial landscaping industry.

South Florida Residence - 2019 Gold Award Winner

This South Florida Residence is our first ever Gold Award winner in the Residential Landscape Management category of our association's Landscape Awards of Excellence.

While most people know Yellowstone as a commercial landscape service company, we do maintain some beautiful estate homes for our clients. This South Florida Residence is a testament to the owner's vision and the hard-working Landscape Professionals from our Port St. Lucie, Florida location.

The homeowner desired a South Florida getaway that featured her love of pastels and pink, mixed with meticulous attention to detail and an affinity for straight lines in the outdoor spaces of the home.

The biggest challenge facing the home when we began managing the landscape was a fungus that was hindering the health and beauty of the Paspalum turf in the front of the home. The owner had also been frustrated that her previous contractor could not offer her suggestions to enhance the exterior of the home since she had purchased it two years prior.

The turf health was quickly addressed with aerification treatment and a turf health and pest prevention spray application program. A landscape designer was brought in to listen to the owner's wishes and several iterations of landscape design enhancement renderings were done to help the owner find her ideal landscape.

Once installed, the new landscape features and expanded annual flower beds required additional resources and time spent maintaining the property with each visit. Also, many of the plants require non-mechanical pruning, so power equipment was replaced with hand pruners for much of the space.

The result is a Gold Award-winning landscape that finally feels like the South Florida escape the owner had always imagined.

Kudos and congratulations to our Port St. Lucie, Florida commercial landscape maintenance team for their work on this Gold Award-winning project!

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Villa Rosa - 2019 Silver Award Winner

Our first Silver Award winner from the 2019 Landscape Awards of Excellence is Villa Rosa.

We've provided comprehensive landscape management services to this thriving homeowner association for nearly a decade, and it is an honor for us to continue our service partnership into a new decade by bringing national recognition to the community.

Below is the award entry narrative summary and photos that were submitted of the project:

Villa Rosa is an established planned community development, approximately a half-hour north of Tampa, Florida. The Villa Rosa Homeowners Association's goal is to maintain a beautiful and well-kept landscape for its residents. Despite newer communities being developed in the area, residents appreciate that the association's efforts to maintain the community's common areas at a high standard have kept home resale values high for the past decade.

As with all large scale communities in the area, Villa Rosa's HOA is challenged to manage its water use responsibly. The original developer installed system includes more than 100 zones, connected to the area's municipal reclaimed water source. As the community has aged, the system has begun showing wear. Additionally, the aesthetic tastes of the community's common areas have changed over the years. Originally, the landscape plan was intentionally minimal and natural. But as newer developments sprang up around Villa Rosa, the community has added landscape features like seasonal color beds and additional ornamental palms to the landscape. This includes a recent renovation of the community's main entrance, which now features colorful annual displays around monument signage, palms, and new water features.

Kudos and congratulations to our Tampa commercial landscape maintenance team for their work on this Silver award-winning project!

 

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The Peninsula - 2019 Gold Award Winner

The first of our Gold Award winners from the 2019 Landscape Awards of Excellence is The Peninsula.

It is a privilege for us to be a partner to this beautiful lakefront community and we're pleased to bring national recognition to the tireless work of the Yellowstone Landscape Professionals who help make this such a special place for residents to call home.

Below is the award entry narrative summary and photos that were submitted of the project:

The Peninsula is a lakefront community located in Cornelius, North Carolina, about a half-hour north of Charlotte. The owners association's goal is to create a beautiful community that compliments the lakeside views and
community golf course.

The turf care and flower maintenance are the biggest challenges faced at The Peninsula. The large area, mature trees, and hillsides create many different microclimates within the community's common areas. This means that broad-based, community-wide floral designs and turf care programs aren't possible. In favor of a uniform program, each area is treated uniquely and addressed according to sunlight and water requirements. The Peninsula has a quarterly annual flower program and the bermudagrass is carefully monitored, fertilized and overseeded to maintain its bright green appearance in the season.

  Kudos and congratulations to our Charlotte commercial landscape maintenance team for their work on this Gold award-winning project!

 

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2019 Landscape Award Winners

Fall is a great time of year for the landscape industry.

Cooler temperatures are a welcome relief to the long, hot summer. Activities shift from weekly mowing and detailing to leaf cleanup and preparing for winter. We plan lunches and prize giveaways to thank our full time and seasonal workforce for getting us through another year.

It’s also award season. A time for us to bring well-deserved recognition to some of the beautiful properties that we create and maintain for our clients.

Each year, Yellowstone Landscape participates in the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Awards of Excellence program. Entries are due in early August, but in late September we find out what the judges thought of our work. And, if we’re fortunate, we get the opportunity to accept our awards during a special ceremony at LANDSCAPES, our industry’s annual conference and trade show.

This year was the 50th anniversary of the Awards of Excellence program, and we submitted 5 projects for consideration.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing the stories and photos of our 5 award-winning projects from this year:

Our 2 Silver Award winners from the Commercial Landscape Management Category:

  • Emory Johns Creek Hospital; Atlanta, GA
  • Villa Rosa Homeowners Association; Tampa, FL

Our Gold Award winner from the Residential Landscape Management Category:

  • Gilbert Residence; Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Our 2 Gold Award winners from the Commercial Landscape Management Category:

  • The Peninsula; Charlotte, NC
  • Old Palm Homeowners Association; Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Stay tuned for more details on each, as we share the stories from each of these beautiful projects.

 

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Why “Local” Matters in Commercial Landscaping (Part 2 of 2)

As of this writing, we have 33 Yellowstone Landscape branch locations across 8 states. That doesn’t make us anywhere near the biggest firm in the green industry, but it’s not exactly small either. So it might seem odd that a large company, with operations from North Carolina to Nevada, and a couple of dozen other points in between, would write an article about why “local” matters in commercial landscaping.

In Part 1 of this article, we looked at 3 very logical and very valid reasons that some clients believe choosing a local, owner-operator landscape company will yield a better result than a large, national company. But none of those 3 reasons got to the real “local” that matters in commercial landscaping.

When it comes to creating and caring for a commercial landscape, the only thing “local” that really matters is local expertise. 

Does it matter to you if the landscape firm has a great national reputation, but the local team that will care for your property doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing? Of course not.

The team you choose to create or care for your landscape has to be made up of Landscape Professionals who know exactly what plants will thrive in your environment, in each season. As conditions change, your landscaper’s team must diagnose and resolve any number of challenges that will present themselves through the course of the year.

Clients we work with across different areas of the country expect us to be experts in the needs of their properties’ landscapes, no matter how diverse those landscapes are. They expect that their property in Santa Fe, New Mexico will be maintained at the same quality standard as their property in Sarasota, Florida. Having been to both, I can tell you that those two landscapes could not look any more different, and the local expertise required to care for each couldn’t be any more specialized.

If the only “local” that matters is local expertise, then how can you, as a buyer of landscape services, know if the local team that will service your property is any good?

There are two pieces of advice that we give to each prospective client to help them feel confident in their selection of a landscape partner:

First, meet the local team that you would be working with. Have them come out to your property and walk it with you. Have them tell you what they would do to give you the landscape you want. If you want a second opinion about a problem area or issue you’ve been having in your landscape, ask them how they would handle it for you. There is no substitute for a face to face meeting. It’s the only way to really get a sense of what it would be like to work with them after the contract is signed. And anyone that won’t make the time to meet with you in person, or doesn't have time to walk your grounds with you, is probably not the right choice for a landscape partner.

Second, ask the landscape company to provide references in your local area. Then, go look at those properties. But be very specific about the references you ask for. Every commercial landscape company has at least one or two marquee properties that we plaster all over our websites and our sales brochures. But unless your property is like one of those large and recognizable ones, those pictures shouldn’t really impress you too much. When you ask for references, always make sure that the company gives you a list of properties that are similar in size and scale to yours. You want to find out how they take care of all their clients, not just the most famous ones. If they can’t (or won’t) give you references that look like the property you manage, then it should be a cause for concern, and may indicate they’re not the right landscape partner for you.

Does “local” matter in commercial landscaping? Yes. We can tell you that it absolutely does matter.

Nothing will ensure your satisfaction with your property’s landscape like the skill and expertise of the local Landscape Professionals that will be working at your property. So take the time to meet with the local teams from any landscape company that you're considering. Large and national, or small and local, it's the people that make the difference in your property's landscape, not the size of the company.

 

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Why “Local” Matters in Commercial Landscaping (Part 1 of 2)

Imagine you’re on a business trip. Right around the corner from your hotel, there’s a cool, neighborhood coffee shop. Across the street is a Starbuck’s. Which would you choose?

Coffee is one of those things that people can get very passionate, and very opinionated about. For every Starbuck’s addict, sitting in the same drive-thru lane every morning, there’s a diehard coffee drinker out there who absolutely refuses to set foot in a chain coffee shop.

In our experience, landscaping also brings out strong opinions and lots of passion. Don’t believe us? Try sitting in on any large HOA’s monthly meeting. We can guarantee you’ll hear someone mention the condition of the landscape.

And we totally get it.

That’s why we’re never surprised when prospective clients immediately tell us that they prefer to work with “local” landscape companies. But when we get the chance to ask a few follow up questions, we find out why “local” really matters to them. It’s usually because:

  1. They had a bad experience with a large, national landscape company in the past.
  2. They believe that being able to call the owner of the company directly will result in more responsive service.
  3. They want to feel like their money is staying in the local economy.

All three are valid and logical reasons to think that choosing a “local” provider is a better option than a larger company. Unfortunately, none of them get to the most critical reason that “local” really does matter. (For the real reason that “local” matters in commercial landscaping, stay tuned for the follow up in part two of this article.)

But for now, let’s explore the top three reasons that some clients believe only a “local” landscape firm can give them the kind of landscape care they expect.

#1 – They had a bad experience with a large, national company.

Here’s something it hurts to admit. Yes, sometimes employees of landscape companies make poor decisions. Sometimes salespeople in landscape companies lead clients to believe that they will get more than they pay for. Sometimes there are billing errors and irregularities that result in distrust. Sometimes people in leadership positions at landscape companies don’t resolve problems to the satisfaction of their customers.

We wish we could say that those things only happen in large, national landscape companies. But the truth is that all of these problems can happen in any company, regardless of their size, or the geographic location of their headquarters. Thankfully, that’s not the norm in the landscape industry. Most employees of landscape companies, large and small, just want to do what’s right, make their client's property look great, and make their client’s job a little easier.

#2 - They believe that being able to call the owner of the company directly will result in more responsive service.

We’ve been surveying our customers for more than a decade now, so we can say with some authority that responsiveness is the most important characteristic that clients value in a landscape service provider. No matter what the issue is, a responsive landscaper’s reply should be, “Don’t worry about it for another minute. We’ll take care of it right away.”

In our ultra-connected world, there’s simply no excuse for any request to go unanswered. Whether it be a phone call, a text, or an email - as a client, you deserve a landscape partner that picks up the phone and (more importantly) immediately begins working to resolve your issue. So, in times of need, is it more important to speak to someone that owns the company, or is it more important to speak to someone who’ll own your problem?

In larger landscape service firms, each property has a dedicated Account Manager that fills the role as the first responder to client issues. Behind the Account Manager is also a Branch Manager, a Business Development Manager, an Office Manager, and several specialty service managers (Irrigation, Spray Application, Tree Care, Landscape Designer). Not to mention district or regional management that can call in resources from other nearby branch locations if necessary.

Spreading the expertise and accountability across multiple people means that larger firms can deploy the right resources to diagnose and resolve issues much more quickly, especially in an emergency.

#3 - They want to feel like their money is staying in the local economy.

The “Shop Local” movement has extended far beyond boutiques and farmer’s markets. Consumers are more aware of where their money goes after they spend it than ever before. And that knowledge influences all kinds of purchases, even with B2B service businesses, like commercial landscaping companies.

Our industry association’s data estimates that 99% of the landscape companies in the US are owner-operators with less than $1 million in annual revenue. This means that the overwhelming majority of the $40 billion that will be spent on landscape services in our country this year is going back into a family run business.

While we can’t speak for those small businesses, we can tell you what happens to your money when you choose to partner with us. Labor represents about half of our cost of doing business, so approximately 50 cents of every dollar we earn goes straight back into the pockets of our employees. Those employees live in the areas where we serve. They spend their money on housing, groceries, and day care, just like everyone else in your local community. When we start new contracts, we hire more people from the local community, buy new equipment and supplies from local dealers, buy fuel from local gas stations, and buy new trucks from local auto dealerships.

Our local branch teams are fiercely proud of the areas where we serve because it's also where they live. They are career Landscape Professionals that work hard, raise families, and look for ways to give back through service projects and donations.

We know it probably feels like we’re trying to debunk some valid and logical reasons for clients to choose a “local” company, instead of us. Please understand that’s not our intent.

In fact, we agree that there is one very important “local” factor that should be a part of every client’s decision-making process. And we’ll explore that in the follow-up article, Why “Local” Matters in Commercial Landscaping (Part 2 of 2).

 

Image Credits:
Coffee Cup Photo via Tyler Nix on Unsplash
Starbucks Cup Photo via Wikimedia Commons

 

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Celebrating Your Trust in Us

In January, we gathered our Business Development staff together for our annual kickoff meeting in Houston, Texas.  We spent three days together, recapping our successes, talking through our challenges, learning how to better serve new clients, and enjoying each other’s company.

As you can imagine, there’s a lot of talk about numbers at meetings like this, but when we get together as a sales team, the numbers we look at aren’t the numbers you might expect. The most important number for us isn’t our total dollars sold for the year.

The most important number to us is the number of new clients that signed on in the previous year. That’s how we measure success. From the smallest project to the largest, each one counts exactly the same to us.

We understand that when a prospective client reaches out, they’re starting their search for a new landscape contractor for a very specific reason. Maybe there was a service failure with their old landscaper. Maybe they want better communication. Whatever the reason, they start out a little skeptical. But after several discussions and negotiations, that client may decide that we are the best choice to meet their landscape needs, and they sign a contract with us.

And that’s something we don’t take lightly.

We realize that signing a contract with a landscape company is a big decision. For many clients, we’ll be one of their property’s largest expenses. Not to mention the impact their landscape has on the perception of their property’s value.

The number of new clients that join us each year is something to celebrate because each new client represents a tremendous amount of trust that has been placed in us. Each signature on a contract represents a property manager or owner putting their faith in our ability to do what we said we’d do.

So, when we get our Business Development team together to celebrate the growth they’ve made possible for our company, what we’re really celebrating are our clients. We celebrate the trust that each client has placed in us. And we recognize the awesome responsibility that comes with that trust.

 

If you’re a property manager or owner, thinking about starting your own search for a new landscape service partner, we’d love the opportunity to earn your trust. Start by scheduling a conversation with your local Yellowstone Landscape Pro. You can sign up here.

 

At this year’s celebration, we hosted a welcome and awards dinner at the historic Majestic Metro theatre in downtown Houston. It was a great event to start to the year, and our team had a blast. Thanks to all those who helped make the evening possible.

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The Accordion Effect

It's one of the most common questions we’re asked when we start working with new clients.

How many people will you send out to our property at each landscape service visit?

If the previous landscaper had a 4-person crew servicing the site, and your landscape didn’t look the way you wanted it to, it’s logical to assume that throwing more people at the problem is the answer, right?

Not always. Here’s why:

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You Deserve Better Than Average Landscaping

“On a scale of 1 to 10, we’re going for a 5. I want my property’s landscape to look really average”, said no one ever.

You hire a professional landscape company because you want your property’s landscape to stand out – in a good way. When you sign a contract with a big commercial landscaping company, you expect that you’ll get something much better than what you’re getting today, right?

Otherwise, why would you go to all the trouble to qualify vendors, conduct an RFP, evaluate the responses, and negotiate your contract? You’d just stick with whoever’s cutting the grass for you now and doing an “okay” job.

When we talk to the property managers we work with, they tell us that they expect more from us.  The same old, same old just doesn’t cut it for them.

But how do you get an above average landscape?  Without blowing your budget, how do you turn an utterly unremarkable landscape into one that really stands out?

Every property’s different, but here are 3 simple tips to help you get a landscape that stands out from the crowd.

  1. Start with a solid fertilization and pest management program. Your landscape is never going to look its best if it’s not getting the right nutrients. Have your landscape contractor take soil samples from various locations in your property, then design an application program that addresses the specific needs of your landscape and its environment. You can’t get an above average landscape if you don’t start with a healthy landscape.
  2. Second, make sure your irrigation system is regularly inspected by trained professionals. Most property managers don’t think about their irrigation system until there’s a broken head, or a huge water bill comes in. But just because you can’t see any problems, doesn’t mean that your irrigation system is doing all that it should for your landscape. During monthly inspections, irrigation pros don’t just look for problems. They make sure that your landscape is getting the right amount of water, in all the places that need it. Properly managed irrigation plans keep pests and disease out of your landscape and keep it looking it’s best.
  3. Finally, seek professional help. If you think about it, it’s easy to ignore most landscapes. After a while, they all start to look the same, don’t they? But what if your property had something that the others didn’t? We employ trained Landscape Designers, and we offer their expertise to our clients as a value-added service. Because sometimes the difference between an exceptional landscape and an average one is as simple as having one or two focal points to draw attention to your property. Adding some color to your landscape with a new annual flower bed, and keeping the design interesting with each rotation, gives you a chance to refresh your property's curb appeal several times a year.

These are just a few tips to get you started. Remember, the journey from average to remarkable isn’t as hard as you think, or as expensive. Your landscape probably doesn’t need a major overhaul. Instead, find the small, but important steps you and your landscape contractor can take to get you the landscape that you deserve.

 

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Congratulations Legacy of Leesburg!

We're extremely proud to feature Legacy of Leesburg. This client partnered with us to manage their landscape 3 years ago. In that time, we've worked with the Board and Property Management to revitalize this beautiful community. And we're proud to announce that all the hard work and planning has resulted in 2 landscape awards this year. Last month, the community was awarded a National Landscape Award of Excellence and we were recently able to accept another Landscape Award from the FNGLA during The Landscape Show in Orlando.

Legacy of Leesburg is an active retirement lifestyle community, located 45 minutes from Orlando, Florida. The community's intent is to provide all the modern amenities active adults expect in a home, placed in a setting that encourages them to explore the natural beauty of central Florida.

The result is that nearly all of Legacy’s 1000 homes have a view of either a natural conservation area or one of the nineteen ponds that dot the community’s landscape. With over seven miles of maintained walking paths along thirteen trails, residents are frequently seen strolling in the shade of the hundreds of ancient oaks that were preserved during construction.

We're honored to partner with the wonderful community and proud to share in their success.  Congratulations to everyone involved in the care of this award-winning community!

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FIELD SUPPORT OFFICE

3235 North State Street
PO Box 849

Bunnell, FL 32110
877.785.6685

 Customer Rating : 4.5 / 5Based on 57 ratings 

Excellence in Commercial Landscaping