The Most Modern Tools Of The Trade – Landscaping Notes

Owing to recent picture postings on a social media site, the nature and abilities of the machinery of landscaping became notable, commented upon by some amazed watchers and myself, in a brief but interesting exchange. What modern machinery has accomplished for not just landscaping but for the building trades in general, has been rather amazing. Below, we briefly touch on just a few mechanisms of help, celebrating an iota of labor-saving one can trust made landscaping not just different, but somewhat easier. It also released a million new directions of installation possibilities in an abundant and totally creative design future.

This is all about mental and physical things…….

Strictly educational – the “mental tools” and the wherewithal to use the “physical tools” can and most often come from various combination of learning events – general osmosis, class, on the job comparisons and experience. But both are extremely real, and each can be either modern or classical……….to some degree.

Mental Tools

Landscaping requires at least a rudimentary knowledge of the following fields:

Electrical Trades, Carpentry, Cement Technology, Hydrology (the behavior of water), Gas and access to the various kinds of gas used outdoors.

Additionally, we arrive at very trade-specific assumptions of competence, dealing with issues like Farming; Horticulture in general; Soils; Irrigation issues, including wells and water pressure; issues of relative Compaction under surfaces as well as the detriments of compaction regarding root growth in lawns and plants and trees.

In terms of design alone, an awareness of issues of compatible colors, structural architecture, and successful arrangements which include the tiniest elements of duplicity, for lack of a better word. Hidden wonders which magically appear on our walks around a property well illustrate a potentially pleasing scenario, designed with just that visual – or even aromatic or aural – pleasure.

Enough of that. Now come the Machines. Where will one learn these?

Installing All That – More Importantly – Making It Work

Other helpful considerations – and most importantly at the level of installation – involve the latest technologies, built to save the poor backs of our minions in the game. Below is a “Soil Thrower”, made to toss soil up to 50′ to an otherwise impossible area. As the picture below this one shows, it can deliver it up a few floors worth of territory too!

(enlarge any image by clicking)


Does this guy have a great toy or what??!


Combine that gorgeous masterpiece of dirty technology with this “Bark Dust Blower” and you have a quicker project in areas once considered nearly impossible to work in.



Nor do the newer technologies stop there. For heavy duty work in small places, hydraulic science and the wonders of newer and more reliable engines have made lifting easier as well.


If you think this is a “small deal”, then you’d be wrong. What one man can do with these machines is staggering – these are a productive increase of exponential dimensions, frankly.


This next baby looks like something only wrecker could love. You’d be wrong. This is a “Knuckling Grappler”, which can grab a boulder or a log or a piece of wood and rotate in absolutely any direction – 360 degrees. You could literally insert things sideways into a hole if you wanted.


Consider its use in the construction of walls such as this one:


These don’t get built by themselves.  😉


As dilapidated as this machine looks, it has built one heck of a lot of gorgeous walls. In fact, this technology can only be improved on by quantity – not quality. This one can handle a ton or two at a time. The next generations provided more stable footing and huger capacity, but they all do the same work.

Diamonds and modern cutting technology. The Diamond Drill has become a paving guy’s primary utensil. Cutting road surfaces, bricks and coring into upstanding cement or solid rock are all easily accomplished now with this rapidly-expanded and amazingly efficient new technology. One can now take a boulder and bore a hole completely through it, down many feet, until it becomes a clearly-perforated stone, fit for making into a Bubble Rock water feature. Here is a nice close look at one such blade – this one for coring.


Each of the 3 stones below has just that – a long cylindrical hole running down its length, under which a pump runs water to its base and out the top. This technology has produced an entire new galaxy of Bubble Rock Water Features.

The truth is, a closer look at the pavers forming the patio in the foreground of this shot – which were also cut by a diamond blade on a table saw – show how exact that aspect of paving has become as well. Now very cool curves and more appropriate fits are made to increase the overall curving appearance of hard, severe surfaces.


Here is an even better, closer look from the same project looking back, at how the most modern diamond blade technology can result in very satisfying curving appearances: (enlarge this one)


A Summary Of Modern Tool Impacts

The tools themselves have opened up the entire field of landscape design. What was once a massive, intensive labor, requiring lots of folks struggling over a long period of time can now be done in a day, using 2 men, with the right machines. This relieves costs and increases possibility.

Ask yourself this. When you see this picture below – of the Portland, Oregon Chinese Garden – how long do you think it would take to plant all the big plants and trees there? Since the whole place is a block square, let’s peek in from the outside:


That’s 20% of the big trees planted there, a few which weighed a nice solid 5-8 tons, complete with hand-dug root balls. We even designed a special chain for quick-release.

Well, if I told how long, on one would believe me, but I can say this much. We cheated like crazy. Here’s what we used to place the trees:


180 tons of landscaping love!

He can sit in one place and deal with an entire city block. Which, fortunately, was exactly what we had! He is also good for dropping in a few thousand tons of dirt, for the record. In other words, in the immortal words of Dana Carvey in his spoof of George Bush’s post-Berlin Wall statement:

“Before the crane – no dirt. After the crane – Chinese Garden.”  😉

If you think that’s something, wait ’til I talk about landscaping that 42 story Vancouver high rise!!


4 thoughts on “The Most Modern Tools Of The Trade – Landscaping Notes

  1. Very cool and thank you for your comments. I’ll hook up for sure on the social media and check you out anyway, otherwise. I really appreciate your interest. Most landscapers are too busy to write, lol, so we get a real dearth of sites about the trade. It just makes those who do a good job writing about it that much more interesting.

  2. Steve – in your summary of mental tools you left out two biggies: therapist and marriage counselor. Sometimes getting it built is a piece of cake compared to getting two people with divergent tastes and wants to come together. Seriously, we *are* modern Renaissance men and women!

  3. Dave, I apologize, if you’re reading. I actually made a response to this the other day and somehow deleted it, lol. I had said those people need jobs too. Not everyone is as streamlined as we are for the mud!

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