Creating Beautiful Places to Play

Backyard Slope Turned Into Usable Space

Terraced retaining walls create added dimension to any landscape as well as increasing useable space and functionality of an otherwise unruly hillside. This is exactly what the homeowners of this Northern California home needed.

With their new house perched atop a beautiful hill with sweeping views of the California countryside, their backyard was truly an eyesore. With a massive slope from the neighbor’s yard next door and the need for usable space for entertaining and playing with the kids, these homeowners were definitely in need of a retaining wall.

Terraced or tiered retaining walls

Terraced retaining walls help to tame unruly slopes and create more usable space

Built in stairs up a tall slope to deck

A beautiful backyard for playing with children and entertaining friends and family

Retaining Wall with Stairs Europa

After some research on different types of products, the homeowners liked the beauty and durability of a concrete retaining wall. But this job was going to take more than a Do-It-Yourselfer could handle. What they needed was a contractor, but where to begin looking? With so many different types of landscape contractors out in the market today they wanted to find someone they could trust and could handle the task at hand. To begin their contractor search, they contacted their local hardscapes dealer to ask for advice.

The dealer showed them a wide variety of retaining wall styles and colors and gave them the name of a trained AB Certified Contractor who would be able to make their backyard dream a reality. Bill Healy of Healy Landscape Construction, Inc.was just the right guy for the job. Healy, a landscaping and masonry veteran was able to envision their backyard wishes and turn them into a reality.

Healy and his crew immediately got to work adding not one, but several retaining walls. The terraced walls created a beautiful area for plants and other landscaping accents as well as the much needed lawn and patio areas.

"We take a personal interest in every customer and every project. Our goal is to realize each person’s unique vision and do everything we can.” - Bill Healy

Now these homeowners have a beautiful backyard for playing with their children and entertaining their friends and family. The view out their back door is no longer an unsightly hillside but a wonderful place to play.

Be Hired: Tips for Retaining Wall Contractors

AB Certificate example

Example of AB Certificate

Retaining wall stair construction

Your whole crew is qualified to do the work you are hired for

Backyard raised patio with pool

Have a portfolio with current project photos and references

In today’s market, being a contractor that builds excellent walls is not always enough to get the projects coming in and the customers asking for you. A tremendous amount of contractors are great at building walls, but are lousy business owners. So how do you set yourself apart from all the rest? How do you become the “right contractor” for a potential customer?

Here are some simple steps to take to make sure you are the contractor the customer is looking for.

  • Be an expert. Potential customers want to know that you and your whole crew are qualified to do the work they will be hiring you to do. Be certified and trained in the products you use and understand the local building codes and requirements. Position yourself to be the expert by having the training and the practical knowledge in your corner. In short, if you are not already an AB Certified Contractor- become one!

  • It’s ok to brag. Have a portfolio with current project photos and references from previous clients. Potential new customers love to see examples of your past work which can not only show what our capabilities are but give them design ideas too. Take it a step further and have a list of projects that you have done in the area ready to go, just in case the homeowner wants to take a field trip to view some of your past work (front yard or visible projects only – you don’t want anyone getting in trouble for trespassing).

  • Just getting started? Don’t worry – There are a lot of photos available in Allan Block’s literature and photo galleries online to use as references for potential projects and to create ideas for your new clients

  • Know how and what to bid. Give proper estimates for labor, equipment and materials. Allan Block can help you with the right tools to estimate the proper materials, but labor and equipment are specific to you and your crew. If you are just getting started, the best thing to do is to keep detailed records of your work so you can reference your past project’s profitability. Don’t be afraid to take a business class or attend a seminar.

  • Use the right equipment. Keep everyone safe and do the job right by having the right tools to work with. In the long run, any equipment expenses will pay for themselves by allowing you and your crew to work efficiently.
  • Last but certainly not least...Be professional. From the job captain to the guy with the shovel in hand, each employee is a representative of your business. You may consider yourself the best sales person of your business, but a professional crew on the jobsite makes the homeowner your next best sales person. Presenting yourself and your employees as experts will not only reassure your clients that you are qualified for the work, but that you care for their project as much as they do.

Excerpt from Landscape Newsletter Issue #34