Archive for the ‘Texas’ tag
This morning on NPR I heard a story on the construction industry in Texas.
Wade Goodwyn was rolling along in his raspy monotone about how the home building industry is booming again in Texas, but wasn’t necessarily a boon for the laborers. He had quotes from a homebuilder who said he couldn’t find American workers, who said he worried about the future of the construction industry thanks to the lack of interest from American students.
Who said he would get priced out of the market if he did everything by the book.
And sitting there in my car, waiting to head into the office, I thought, “Gee, that’s the same thing I hear from landscapers all the time.”
And then comes Trent. This guy, who wouldn’t give his first name to NPR for fear of the government coming down on him, hires guys he knows to be illegal, classifies then as subcontractors and then pays them all cash – about 70 bucks a day.
What happens then just isn’t his concern.
Trent says he doesn’t know if any of his guys are paying taxes. “That’s their business,” he says. “If I were to speculate, I would probably say they are not paying their Social Security [taxes]. I would also say that they’re probably not filing their income tax returns on a regular basis.”
He goes on to say that even with his bargain basement labor rates, he still gets underbid. Now, I don’t doubt that, especially in the DFW market, but his justification leaves a bit to be desired:
“If there wasn’t such a readily available supply of laborers that are looking for work in my exact line of business, then I would say I am doing wrong and that I should play by the rules,” Trent says. “I don’t feel as though I’m doing anything wrong.”
Translation: But, Mom! Everyone else is doing it!
To willfully circumvent the spirit of the law is just as bad as violating the letter, and this landscaper is putting a lot of people at risk. To blame your competition or the market for your own decision to flout the law is shameful. That’s no way to run a business, and no way to improve an industry.
Here’s our digest of cool stuff that will make you smarter. Enjoy your reading, and we’ll see you Monday.
- A great guide to designing outdoor rooms. (via @belgard)
- The latest research on equipment theft in America.
- The man behind Pinterest.
- ASLA has released a beautiful interactive guide to D.C. parks.
- What West Nile is doing to people in Texas.
- Science has confirmed: Summer was hot.
- Above: 60 years of American economic history in one graph.
This comes to us from Todd Davis, the editor of Nursery Management, one of our sister publications in Fort Worth, Texas.
Seems that the oppressive heat and drought conditions in the Lone Star State have pushed some residents to tear out their turf and replace it with the fake stuff.
Clark said all of Alldredge Gardens’ recent jobs have been complete artificial renovations. The company exclusively is using a high-end artificial grass called EZ Turf. The massive, carpet-like squares are stitched together and have an underground irrigation system to stop pooling. The landscaping company has installed more than 30,000 square feet of the material in the past four months.
The chief landscaper is optimistic about this product as he rattled off its benefits: No need to water, no mowing, low maintenance, pet friendly, durable and almost fade-proof. Although the initial investment price for the artificial grass is about three times what his company would charge for a simple sod job, after about eight years the investment starts to pay dividends. Once the initial cost is covered, there is little more expenditure compared to those of a natural lawn. There is a 15-year manufacturer warranty and an estimated life-span between 20 and 25 years.
Here’s what Todd has to say:
This is a terrible idea. Can you imagine how hot your house in West Texas would get if it was surrounded by artificial turf insead of natural grass? Oh my gosh, with that reflected heat, it might get up to 150 degrees.
I live in Ohio and can’t speak to conditions in Texas, but I don’t t imagine an AstroTurf lawn being very easy on your feet in the summer months. Any landscapers down south have experience with this care to comment? Send it to me at email@example.com.
Let it not be said that the editors of Lawn & Landscape limit their art to Hall and Oates. We also like pictures of plants.
So, for our readers in the south, here’s “Response to Print of Kudzu, Texas” by Laura Plageman. Her interpretation of the textbook invasive plant is spectacular, and would make a great gift for any lover (or hater) of weeds.
Editor’s note: The L&L team will be out today through next Monday for the holidays. So, we’ve compiled a (mostly) Christmas-themed round-up for you. Enjoy!
- Jeff Korhan on why you should write every day, and how Stephen King can help.
- Davey launches a new mobile app to calculate the value of trees on a property.
- Woody Guthrie’s list of New Year’s rulin’s. (See related here and here.)
- Thanks to the crushing Texas drought, a mistletoe shortage threatens a loveable (if somewhat creepy) Christmas tradition.
- The year in photos from National Geographic.
- Seth Godin: “No one ever bought anything in an elevator.”
- When was the last time you saw a robotic chainsaw reindeer? That’s what I thought. (via @VoiceOfTreeCare and @husqvarnausa)
Above: Image via the wonderful Jessica Hagy’s Indexed.
Here’s a round-up of the best stuff our editors have found online this week.
- We’ve written about New York’s High Line park before, but this video and accompanying Google Street View tour are pretty amazing.
- A landscape crew member was killed when he used a mower to try and keep warm.
- Try this list of great interview questions from Seth Godin.
- EPA removes the 40 percent turf restriction from its WaterSense program.
- The GIE+EXPO will be in Louisville until 2018, and won’t have Saturday hours next year. Miss our coverage? Find it all here.
It’s no news that Texas has seen one of the worst summers in its history this year – a string of 100-plus degree days combined with just 10 inches of rainfall has decimated landscapes across the state.
Above, you can see a photo report from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department on what this damage looks like up close.