David Smith, owner of Gourmet Landscaping Services Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was delighted when the owner of a home in the city’s exclusive Sunrise Key community hired him to do a complete landscaping makeover on the property. Problem was, Gourmet Landscaping was far from the only contractor working at the site.
“That was one of the most challenging things,” Smith said of the project, which is one of six finalists in Total Landscape Care’s photo contest, Landscaper Showcase. A major remodeling job was under way while Smith and his three employees were transforming the home’s landscape. “Working around the painters and the other contractors, things could get trampled,” he said.
Gourmet Landscaping Services obtained the Sunrise Key job through a referral based on one of the company’s earlier projects.
“The owner gave me the freedom to design it myself,” said Smith. “He wanted something tropical.” The South Florida home is situated on the intracoastal waterway.
It was a major undertaking, as not only the existing plants but even the soil had to be replaced.
“We removed about 20 yards of soil that you just couldn’t plant anything in,” replacing it with better dirt, Smith said.
The presence of other contractors wasn’t the only formidable challenge during the project. Smith’s design called for supplementing two large palm trees on the water-facing side of the home with smaller palms.
“The tall royal palms were huge, and they made the house look small,” he said. Smith decided to place the two “Christmas palms,” as the smaller variety is often called, alongside the giants “just to make them less overbearing.”
Installing the smaller palms was a tad complicated, however, as it required the use of a crane, which could not reach the site via the property.
Smith arranged for a crane to be brought to the site on a river barge. That got the job done, although the holes that were dug for the small palms were surrounded by infiltrating roots, which had to be cut back before the trees could be placed.
Gourmet Landscaping Services didn’t handle the refurbishing of the property’s pool, but Smith and his crew installed the artificial turf surrounding it.
In addition to the extensive plantings surrounding the house, Smith designed a frosted acrylic wall that was placed in a position to hide the utility unit outside the structure.
Preparing for and installing such a wide variety of plants required extra coordination with the other work crews at the site.
“We did a lot of hand watering during that time,” Smith said, “but we must have coordinated it effectively because nothing died.”
When the nearly four-month job was complete, Gourmet Landscaping Services’ client was happy.
“They’re a maintenance customer now,” Smith said.
TLC will be reviewing the three remaining finalists in the Landscaper Showcase in the coming days. (You can see the first two here and here.) Once that’s done, we’ll be asking readers to choose the winner by voting for their favorite.