BOB-CAT Predator-Pro 7000 Commercial Zero-Turn Mower
The pitch: The Predator-Pro 7000 highlights enhanced performance, operator comfort and serviceability.
- The Predator-Pro 7000 features a 19-mph transport speed.
- Serviceability improves with a swing-away bumper for easy access to the engine.
- The Predator-Pro 7000 is backed by a limited warranty of 6 years/2,750 hours.
For more info: Bobcatturf.com
Cub Cadet PRO Z 972 SD
The pitch: Comfortably mow a straight line, execute zero-degree turns and operate on up to a 25-degree hillside slope with the PRO Z 972 SD from Cub Cadet.
- The PRO Z 972 SD features a 72-inch fabricated steel cutting deck with top, bottom and side reinforcements.
- Oversized dual rear wheels provide a higher level of stability and precision for the perfect stripe.
- The drive system with four-wheel steering provides ultimate control.
For more info: Cubcadet.com
Exmark Lazer Z Diesel Zero-Turn Riding Mower
The pitch: The 96-inch Lazer Z Diesel allows for increased productivity.
- When equipped with the available 96-inch UltraCut Flex Wing rear-discharge cutting deck, the Lazer Z Diesel enables one worker to cut more than 10 acres per hour.
- Exmark RED Technology-equipped Yanmar liquid-cooled diesel engines deliver increased fuel efficiency.
- Available with a choice of 60- or 72-inch UltraCut cutting decks.
For more info: Exmark.com
Greenworks Commercial Lithium Z Zero Turn Mowers
The pitch: The Lithium Z line offers zero-turn maneuverability with zero gas and zero emissions.
- All four models are powered by an 82-volt 13.8kW lithium-ion battery and feature three 1.5KW Brushless Blade Motors and two 1.7KW Brushless Drive Motors.
- Greenworks Commercial Lithium Z mowers offer 4.5-6 hours of cutting time per change and 2,800-3,600 RPMs.
For more info: Greenworkscommercial.com
Husqvarna Z500 Zero-Turn Series with Yamaha Engines
The pitch: Designed to ensure a long product life, Husqvarna’s Z500 zero-turn series is focused on productivity, durability and cut quality.
- This series features a weld-reinforced 2-inch by 3-inch tubular steel frame and 7- or 10-gauge cutting decks.
- Improvements include an automatic parking brake, easy-to-fold ROPS and easy-to-view deck height adjustment.
For more info: Husqvarna.com
John Deere Z994R ZTrak
The pitch: The Z994R offers enhanced comfort, increased productivity and a longer engine life.
- A single 11.5-U.S. gallon diesel fuel tank offers increased productivity.
- Three seat options with adjustable armrests and the ComfortGlide fore/aft suspension enhance ride quality.
- Available with three deck options: 54-inch and 60-inch side-discharge decks, and 60-inch Mulch On Demand deck. The Z994R is also compatible with the Michelin Tweel X Turf airless radial tires.
For more info: Deere.com
Kubota Z700 EFI zero-turn mower
The pitch: The Z700 EFI was designed to deliver exceptional performance for challenging conditions.
- Up to 11.2 mph speed and High back seat delivers excellent performance and comfort for more productivity.
- Kawasaki EFI engine with E-GOV and ECU system keeps the drive wheels and cutting blades working at peak productivity.
- The wide 6.5-inch caster tire and 24-inch low profile rear tires deliver greater traction and less ground pressure.
For more info: KubotaUSA.com
Mean Green Mowers EVO-72 Evolution Series
The pitch: The EVO-72 mower was designed for all day mowing with up to nine hours on one charge.
- The 72-inch commercial, electric ZTR is designed with an aerospace chassis contributing to low weight and a low center of gravity.
- It features maximum torque from the start with comparable horsepower exceeding 38 hp.
- The electric unit means low noise, low maintenance, zero gas and zero emissions.
For more info: Meangreenproducts.com
Spider remote control mowers
The pitch: Spider remote-controlled slope mowers are designed specifically for the safe maintenance of steep, hard to mow areas.
- The 4-wheel drive, 4-wheel steer system with a zero turn option allows 360 degree mowing on slopes up to 55 degrees.
- Wheel drive (not tracks) ensures Spider mowers are gentle to the terrain, eliminating erosion and damage on slopes.
- The mowers can operate at speeds of 1 mph to 5 mph.
For more info: Slope-mower.com
Walker H37i zero-turn
The pitch: The H37i is a high-production Walker Mower that was designed to leave a beautiful cut.
- The mower is powered by a 993cc big block Vanguard EFI engine.
- The H37i features a high-capacity air cooling system and a large 5-inch diameter Donaldson air cleaner.
- An optional Model H deck Power Tilt-Up makes maintenance and storage even easier.
- Ideal applications include commercial properties, rural areas and field cutting.
For more info: Walker.com
It’s often said that the landscape business follows the stock market: When things are good, people are willing to spend. That’s certainly been true recently, with many firms already booked for outdoor living projects for summer 2019.
“People are spending more money every year,” says Barry Schneider, president of Surrounds Landscape Architecture and Construction, based in the greater Washington, D.C., area. “They’re trying to make their backyards into a resort. They want to go out their back doors to places that are welcoming extensions of their homes.”
Here’s what’s in demand in outdoor living:
Without question, design firms say the No. 1 requested item is an outdoor kitchen. “Everyone wants one,” Schneider says. “Ten years ago, it was basically a built-in grill. Now it’s a full-blown kitchen with high-end stainless appliances, including a natural gas grill, gas or wood pizza oven, wet sink, fridge and smoker.”
What’s causing the increase in demand? “I think with the uncertainties in the world these days, people are spending more time at home, less time traveling, and they want to be outside,” says Chris Vedrani, owner of Planted Earth Landscaping. “We’ve put in more kitchens in the last two years than the last eight years altogether.”
Besides cooking and food preparation areas, design elements for outdoor kitchens often include a bar and seating areas, placed strategically so people can interact with the cook. Basically, the outdoor living movement blurs the line between indoors and out. Spaces are being created that mimic the indoor environment down to the lighting and seating areas.
As a result, lighting has become an element installed on every single project, Schneider says. LEDs have improved the ease of installation, maintenance and versatility. One of the latest requested features is lighting that changes for mood or season: oranges and purples for Halloween, reds and greens for Christmas and so on. Lighting is installed not only for walkways and seating and bar areas but also as accents to highlight specimen plants or to add a moonlighting effect on trees.
In addition, pavilions and pool houses that include a bathroom and storage cabinets are growing in popularity. It’s a simple way to increase useable living space and create additional privacy. Pergolas are requested less frequently because, although they have a pleasing aesthetic, many clients prefer covered structures for protection from the elements.
Another element that’s gaining in popularity is outdoor sound systems. “It’s become very sophisticated,” Schneider says. “We’re hooking up high-quality subwoofers, speakers, the works.” High-end outdoor furniture, typically with a modern design consciousness, is also in demand. “We’ve seen clients willing to spend $3,000 to $4,000 on an outdoor sofa, which is an indication of how much people love being outdoors,” Schneider says.
Obviously, the more complex the project, the higher the price tag. But Vedrani says a minimum $25,000 to $50,000 is common for basic outdoor kitchens, with most higher-end projects in the $300,000 and up range for full-blown kitchens with deluxe appliances, according to Schneider.
Firepits with seating in the round and fireplaces, which make spaces feel more like interior living rooms, are common requests. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) 2018 trends survey revealed that nearly 70 percent of projects were expected to include an outdoor fire pit or fireplace. These design elements add an additional layer of coziness and extend the season for sitting outdoors. Because fireplaces require plumbing and gas lines, they typically cost about $10,000 alone, while fire pits have a $4,000 to $5,000 price tag, Vedrani says.
“People are spending more money every year. They’re trying to turn their backyards into a resort.” Barry Schneider, Surrounds Landscape
Flagstone, bluestone, limestone and travertine, which works well for pool decks because it doesn’t get hot on the feet, are extremely popular choices because people like the appearance of natural stone. However, many manufactured stone companies are creating products that look more and more like the real thing, Schneider says. In addition, they’re easier for most contractors to install.
The trend with decks is the use of more exotic materials, such as ipe wood. Ipe is a type of tropical hardwood that’s noted for its durability and rich, warm brown color (it softens to grey unless you seal it). “It’s essentially zero maintenance, so we have a lot of clients doing a sort of accent deck that’s maybe a foot off the ground with no railing away necessary,” Vedrani says. They’re sometimes located as a focal point a distance from the house.
When it comes to preferred railing, one of the most commonly requested products nowadays is stainless cable railing. “It’s the number one choice,” Vedrani says.
The disadvantage is that it’s expensive (at least twice what typical railing costs) and it needs tightened every few years. The advantage is that virtually no other maintenance is required.
Many designers say that client requests for water features have tapered off. Water features such as streams and koi ponds are not as popular as they once were, in part because of the maintenance issues such as algae and potential leaks. “People still want water, but we’re doing more projects such as an urn that spills water into a gravel bed,” Schneider says. “You still get the sense and sounds of water with this kind of feature, but with fewer maintenance challenges.”
According to the most recent ASLA trends survey, about 80 percent of projects are expected to include low-maintenance plantings, per client request. Low-maintenance gardens always have been popular, but there’s a distinct movement toward a more relaxed feel to the landscape. “We’re selling a lot more sweeping beds of grasses, even in traditional gardens,” Schneider says. “They’re more natural in appearance and you get three-seasons of interest. They’re often placed alongside a meandering gravel path and a mixed border of perennials.”
“Almost every project has at least six to 12 pots and they’re planted with 90 percent annuals for color.” Chris Vedrani, Planted Earth Landscaping
The other benefit is that grasses fill in quickly. You can plant hundreds of them in April and within three months, you’ve got a nearly full-grown plant. “They don’t cost as much as boxwoods or evergreens,” Schneider says.
Another growing design development is the use of pots grouped throughout the property. “Almost every project has at least six to 12 pots and they’re planted with 90 percent annuals for color,” Vedrani says. Limestone or concrete urns or large (3’x 3’) metal planters, set on the front porch or on and around the pool deck, are most popular. They’re usually filled annuals that are swapped out for three turns (spring, summer and fall) including seasonal options such as pansies or mums.
One of the challenges for designers in recent years has been plant materials at reasonable cost. “For example, boxwoods are three times what they used to be and you need to find the blight-free varieties,” Vedrani says. “There’s a real shortage because many growers folded after the 2008 recession.” The result has been fewer growers and fewer mature plants. Vedrani says one of their solutions is to substitute other lesser-known plants that are as attractive but resist blight, such as blue hollies or an inkberry holly, such as Gem Box.
The author is a freelance writer based in the Northeast.
CASE SV340 Skid-steer Loader
The pitch: The CASE SV340 is the company’s most powerful skid-steer to date.
- Rated at 3,400 pounds operating capacity and featuring a bucket breakout force of 9,531 pounds, the new vertical-lift skid-steer offers powerful operating capacities.
- The SV340 provides extra power and performance, along with a stronger lift arm, H-link and upper chassis.
- The SV340 features EZ-EH (electro-hydraulic) controls that provide nine adjustable speed and control sensitivity settings that can be adjusted on the fly.
For more info: CaseCE.com
Takeuchi TS80R2 Skid-steer
The pitch: The large frame TS80 series loaders deliver a blend of performance, durability and operator comfort.
- TS80R2 features an operating weight of 7,950 pounds and a rated operating capacity of 2,825 pounds.
- The TS80 skid-steers feature a functional and well-equipped operator’s station that now includes a lower threshold for easier entry and exit for the operator.
- Several new options are now available and include ride control, bucket positioning and high-flow auxiliary hydraulics.
For more info: Takeuchi-us.com
Vermeer CTX100 Mini Skid-steer
The pitch: Designed according to customer input, the Vermeer CTX100 mini skid-steer fits into small spaces and is lightweight enough to use on most landscape surfaces.
- Vermeer increased the hinge pin height to 89.5 inches, making loading materials into a brush chipper, truck or trailer easier.
- It has a tipping capacity of 2,958 pounds and a rated operating capacity of 1,035 pounds.
- The CTX100 features vertical lift boom arms, which keeps the load closer to the machine and helps increase lift capacity.
For more info: Vermeer.com
VS-75 Skid-steer Loader
The pitch: The machine features highly efficient hydraulics and cooling systems as well as best-in-class high ground clearance, departure angle and serviceability.
- A 10.5-inch ground clearance allows the machines to easily travel over obstructions such as logs, stumps and rocks with less risk of getting hung up.
- It can travel as fast as 11 mph when equipped with optional two-speed drive.
- The VS-75 features a rated operating capacity of 3,500 pounds and a tipping load of 7,000 pounds.
For more info: Asvi.com
From software to robotic mowers, learn how four landscape contractors are using technological advancements in the industry to better their companies. The presenters will explain how they trained themselves on new technologies and implemented them into their businesses, and the challenges they faced along the way. Visit bit.ly/ImplementingTechVC for more information.
Top 100 approaches
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On the road again
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