Many of you know that back a year and a half ago I sold my business. Forty-eight years doing landscape/hardscape installations was enough for me. I decided to keep my membership in NHLA as I still wanted to stay in touch with all that is happening in the industry, and I still travel all over the country teaching my list of hardscape seminars and the ICPI and NCMA certification classes.
This winter I look forward to teaching at Hardscape North America (HNA) in Louisville, KY, the Mid-Atlantic Hardscape Show in Atlantic City, the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Show in Minneapolis, and the Northeast Hardscape Show that will be in Springfield, MA, this year. I have had the honor to be asked to be a judge in this year’s HNA hardscape awards. There are some incredible projects being installed around the country. To see what some contractors are doing with hardscapes gets my juices going. New products and innovations are coming out at a rapid pace. I love traveling to industry shows, talking to contractors, hearing their stories, helping them achieve their goals, and just the camaraderie that comes with hanging out with industry folk.
Back during the summer, Jim Moreau asked if I would teach a hardscape seminar at the NHLA Field Day at Shaker Village. I said yes, and we had about 30 attendees in the hands-on seminar. At one point I asked the attendees how many are ICPI or NCMA certified? Only one hand went up. I then asked how many do hardscape installation? Meaning, retaining walls, patios, outdoor kitchens, pool decks, seat walls, front walkways, etc. Every hand went up. Everyone in the seminar either installs or oversees people who install hardscapes. That’s when I said to Dave DeJohn and Pam Moreau, that some type of hardscape education, articles, information, anything was needed in the NHLA Newsletter.
I also did another check. How much of the advertising in the NHLA Newsletter was from hardscape suppliers or manufacturers? I found that in almost every issue about 50% of our advertising space is sold to hardscape supply companies. The growth in the hardscape industry over just the last 10 years has been tremendous. Look around our state now- there are many companies calling themselves “hardscape contractors,” which was not the case just a few years ago.
So what is the bottom line? For about eight years I wrote monthly articles for Hardscape Magazine from the perspective of the contractor. I have offered, and it was accepted, that I would update these articles and submit them to the NHLA Newsletter. So for better or worse, you will have to deal with me for a little while longer. Starting with the next issue of the Newsletter, I will be writing about hardscapes.
I look forward to any of your thoughts and comments, and I hope that some of my 49.5 years of experiences helps you out.
— by Bill Gardocki, firstname.lastname@example.org