What tools do you need to do your first hardscape?

Taking on your first hardscape construction project can seem a little overwhelming when you haven’t had any experience with such work in the past. If you have any interest in expanding your company into offering hardscaping, you should consider slowly buying some basic tools and working on projects in your yard first. Which tools should you get and where should you get your supplies would probably be your next question and luckily such a topic came up on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum to answer all that.

One lawn care business owner wrote “does anyone offer any hardscaping services? What brand of pavers or retaining walls do you prefer to use? Also what tools do you need for hardscaping?”

A second lawn care business owner said “as far as tools go, that would depend on the job. There are many tools you can get but some you might want to rent when needed instead of purchasing.

I just got done doing a retaining wall today. The brand and type of materials I used and you will use depends on what the customers want and their budgets. When I do hardscapes, like patios or retaining walls, I show them the different types of materials. I get booklets from the local suppliers as to what they have, then I put my price that I charge for those materials on the booklets so people will know. Then I let them choose.

With tools, here are some of the basics you will need:

  • hand tamper
  • shovels
  • hammer
  • mallet
  • chisel
  • saw (with concrete blade)
  • levels
  • string line
  • caulking gun
  • tape measures
  • pencils
  • wheelbarrows
  • safety glasses and gloves

You can always rent a vibrating compactor.”

A third added “We use a mini excavator with a landscaping bucket, compactor, 6 foot level, plumb line and landscape fabric. We have a cop saw to cut brick, mini grinder, and several chisels. We use an edger to cut along the area where the walkway will go.

Generally by visiting the local supplier websites, you can find out what’s available in your region and what different local suppliers carry. Product catalogs/brochures are available for download on the sites so you can email them to your clients.

As far as equipment goes, from my many years of experience, I learned to rent it until it is cheaper to purchase or even lease. I am always watching my costs on equipment. A good skid steer loader is worth it’s weight in gold when you get into working on larger hardscape projects. They are tight, maneuverable and seem to never die. But if you are hitting the turf, you need a trac loader. It won’t tear up the grass as much.

Start small with the projects you take on first. Try making a nice border for a mulch bed and maybe a walkway after that. As you get better at these smaller projects you can experiment with bigger ones. If you find a customer wants you to take on a hardscape project that is outside your comfort level, it’s always better and prudent to decline the work than get yourself into a mess you can’t get out of.”

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