How to make the transition from landscaper to hardscaper.

Recently I had a great opportunity to talk with Chris, owner of This is a new forum which focuses specifically on hardscaping.

Q: Hi Chris, can you tell us a little bit of background on you and what got you to start this new hardscape forum?

A: “My name is Chris or Cgland as some of you may know.  I’ve been running a landscaping biz for about 10 years now and I love it!  We mainly specialize in Hardscaping (patios, walkways, driveways, walls, pool decks, etc.) You get the point!  Anyway, over the last few years I have realized a big deficiency in the online information available to hardscapers as well as people looking to get into the hardscaping biz.  So what I did was create a website/forum dedicated to the hardscaping industry.  It’s chock full of information! Tips, pics, tricks, as well as discussions dealing with Everything that encompasses hardscaping.”

Q: How big of a market do you feel the installation of hardscapes is? Is it under served?

A: Hardscaping?….Underserved?   Maybe!   I will tell you that quality hardscapers are few and far between.

Q: Should more lawn care operators consider installing hardscapes?

A: What I find happens most is a Lawn care provider wants to break into the hardscaping industry because they think there is a ton of money to be made, but to do it properly takes a huge capital investment (machines, specialty tools, trucks, etc)  This is where the problem firsts starts.  Beginners try to rent everything at first and most of the time they underestimate the time they need the equipment for…….What happens next is they start to cut corners because they realize that they won’t make any money if they keep that plate compactor for another day….What you get in the end is an improperly installed hardscape feature.  This is where my site fills a need! is an excellent research and information tool dedicated to every aspect of hardscaping.   So if your looking to get started in the hardscape trade, we have all the info you will need to not only install the job properly, but how to estimate it and effectively run a hardscape business.  Our site is geared towards the inexperienced guy.  We want him to price jobs correctly, install jobs correctly, and follow up on jobs correctly.  This will only better the industry as a whole and give it more consistancy as well as the professionalism it deserves.

Q: What are some easier/beginner projects you feel they should look into marketing?  

A: As far as a beginner type project, I recommend you start with a small walkway or landing in front of YOUR OWN home.  Get a feel for the materials and the equipment. This way, when you are ready to do an install at a customers property you have some knowledge of the process, but THE most important thing is to educate yourself prior to doing ANY type of install.

Q: Could you tell us what equipment a lawn care operator really needs to own before they start offering hardscaping to their customers?  

A: As far as equipment goes, one could certainly start doing hardscapes with the simplest of tools.  Shovels, rakes, hand tamper, string line, line level, 4′ level, hammer and a broom!  You can initially rent the excavating equipment, vibratory plate compactor, and brick saw until you’re doing enough work to warrant purchasing it.  You just have to make sure your knowledge of the process is sound and your estimate to the customer covers ALL of your expenses as well as a percentage for profit.  I see all too often a young upstart wants to get their feet wet and they think the best way is to charge a ridiculously low price to get jobs. The thought process is…get job, show customer the quality of my work, more jobs will pour in!  The reality is this: They don’t charge enough money to begin with therefore they can’t cover their costs and they can’t afford to do a good job, quality suffers and the referrals never come in because they have an unhappy customer. It’s a vicious cycle that can eat you alive if you are not prepared.

Thanks Chris for those great insights!

If you are a lawn care operator and want to offer hardscaping services please contact Chris if you have further questions on how best to bridge that gap.

Here is a photo of a project Chris had recently completed.

hardscape patio project

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success