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Fall 2009

Landscaper Widens Scope to Include Construction

Versatile Bobcat equipment makes decision easier

Bret Mattingly had the know-how and the right equipment, so adding construction services to his landscaping business didn't seem like a big deal. "It was something to keep us busy in the winter," he says.

Today it looks like a very wise decision as new residential landscaping projects are slowing down.

Bret Mattingly

Owner-operator Bret Mattingly diversified his landscaping business to include construction projects to maximize his Bobcat equipment's use.

"I started doing a small number of construction projects about 14 years ago," says the owner of Mattingly Landscaping and Construction, Zionsville, Ind. "After a while I realized that construction was just as profitable as landscaping. By 2003 the ratio was 50-50, and heading slightly more toward the construction side."

The company does concrete flatwork, footings, foundations and selective demolition. Those types of projects mesh well with Mattingly's equipment lineup: a Bobcat® S205 skid-steer loader, 331 compact excavator and MT52 mini track loader.

"Part of the reason I moved into more construction is because I had versatile Bobcat equipment," he says. "The loaders and excavator work just as well in construction as they do in landscaping." Mattingly figures to keep doing both, somewhat out of necessity and partly because of the niche he has developed. "General contractors hire us because on certain projects they know we can come in and do both construction and landscaping," he notes.

Landscaping still important

While the construction side of the business has been growing, Mattingly hasn't lost his landscaping focus. Among other jobs were these two high-profile landscape projects completed the past two years:

Project 1. Holiday Park

Within this 94-acre park on the north side of Indianapolis is a showcase playground, which includes a rock-climbing wall, slide towers, a series of tunnels and crossing bridges. As part of an extensive renovation last year, Mattingly demonstrated how Bobcat equipment is the solution to jobsite challenges.

"One of our jobs required digging more than 300 postholes according to a very strict layout and in some limited-access areas," Mattingly recalls. "Once we laid out the location of the holes, it would have been difficult not to lose our place as we moved from hole to hole using a loader. However, attaching the auger to the excavator allowed us to set up in a single location and pivot around to drill a series of holes. That enabled us to keep the layout in order."

Project 2. Oaks Academy

Mattingly helped build a natural playground at this private school. He did the bulk of the landscaping work, including installing gravel sidewalks and constructing a boulder-climbing mountain. "We used all our Bobcat equipment," he says. "The excavator set the larger boulders; the MT52 the smaller ones. The S205 graded and installed the sidewalks. Jobs like this go well when you have the right equipment."

To keep his overhead low, Mattingly has two full-time employees and hires part-timers as needed. "The two loaders and the excavator allow us to do everything we need to do, both in landscaping and construction."

Visit the landscaping page to learn more about Bobcat machines designed for landscape specialists.