Recycling resources pays dividends for landscaping professionals
A forward-thinking landscaping company finds ways to recycle natural resources to have better control of mulch and topsoil supplies
Kurt (right) and Taylor Denchfield operate a landscape installation company and garden supply center in Hyattsville, Md.
It was named Mount Denchfield, and it felt an overwhelming and unsightly mess. Kurt Denchfield describes it as a 30- to 40-foot pile of dirt that accumulated during seven years of his company’s landscaping projects. It no longer exists, thanks to some forward-thinking research.
Kurt Denchfield is the owner of Denchfield Landscaping, and with his son, Taylor, researched and identified a way to recycle the dirt at their garden center, thereby eliminating the need to pay for someone to remove it. Now the company has better control of its topsoil needs for landscape installations or sale to the general public.
Denchfield Landscaping is in its 20th year of business, the last seven at a 3.5-acre site in Hyattsville, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C. The current site is home to the company’s office and a full-service garden center that is open to the public.
“Having a garden center makes it much more efficient to run the landscape operation smoothly,” Kurt says. “We have our plants, mulch and soil onsite, and we have enough room for our trucks and equipment, including three Bobcat® S650 skid-steer loaders and attachments.
Topsoil made onsiteA topsoil screening machine helped the Denchfields overcome their mountain of dirt. Today, they continue using the machine to screen fill dirt, remove rocks and other debris, and reuse the dirt for new landscaping installations.
“It’s costly to haul away dirt,” Kurt says, “and it’s the kind of thing when you try to get rid of it you have to pay for someone to haul it away, and when you need it you have to pay to get it. Taylor had the good idea to seek out and find the topsoil screening machine that would work for us, for this application. Now we can load the dirt into the screen, using our Bobcat skid-steer loaders, and make topsoil that we used to buy. We keep up with our own production and keep well stocked. We’re taking a product that we had to pay to get rid of and turn it into something we can reuse or sell.”
Bobcat skid-steer loaders are kept busy at Denchfield Landscaping’s garden and supply center, shown here moving a pallet of fresh sod.
Like the topsoil screening machine, the Denchfields researched and eventually purchased a mulch grinder to convert yard waste and organic debris into reusable mulch.
“Previously, we would take debris and yard waste from our landscaping jobsites and store it here until it was a ginormous mountain,” Kurt says. “In the offseason, we would pay to have it trucked to the landfill. It was costing us a fortune. We made an investment in the grinder, and now we can take a lot of our yard waste and turn it into mulch. In spring, when we’re back to landscaping, we put the shredded hardwood mulch in people’s yards.
“The mulch grinder can make some very nice products. We’re taking waste that we previously paid to get rid of and turning it into a product that we can sell for good money. It’s a nice system. It’s green, it’s efficient and it’s a good way to recycle, so it’s good for the environment.”
Research leads to Bobcat loaders
Operating a Bobcat skid-steer loader, a Denchfield Landscaping employee loads organic debris into a grinder to produce mulch.
Kurt and Taylor knew they needed reliable equipment to keep up with their topsoil screener and mulch grinder. Up until early 2011, Denchfield Landscaping owned another brand of skid-steer loader and it wasn’t meeting their expectations. Taylor put his research skills to work once again to seek a better compact equipment solution for landscape installations and handling the large amounts of yard waste and dirt at the garden center. In his research, he narrowed his selection to one brand — Bobcat — and contacted the local dealer to set up a side-by-side demonstration with the company’s current loader brand. According to Taylor and Kurt, the biggest differences between the Bobcat loader and other brand were ease of maintenance and overall maintenance costs.
“It’s going to be less expensive and easier to maintain the Bobcat skid-steer loaders in the long run,” Taylor says. “I consulted with our mechanics and we agreed that the Bobcat loader was the most efficient equipment to operate and the easiest to maintain. Bobcat loaders have the simplest setup to access everything in the engine area. With our old loaders, we had to access everything from the top. With the Bobcat loaders, the tailgate swings open and we can easily get to everything.”
Bobcat loaders have long been known for simple maintenance and easy upkeep. When Bobcat Company introduced the first of the new M-Series loaders in 2009, it made maintenance even easier with a wider, swing-open tailgate that provides customers with unmatched access to routine service items and components.
“Our mechanics are convinced they can maintain our Bobcat skid-steer loaders a lot cheaper than other brands,” Kurt says. “We researched the big components and the replacement costs. It was half the cost to replace the major components in the Bobcat skid-steer loader versus the brand we previously owned. We found that we could get filters, belts and other key components much cheaper from our Bobcat dealer.”
After the demonstration, Denchfield Landscaping purchased its first Bobcat skid-steer loader from Metro Bobcat, an M-Series S650. Shortly thereafter, they purchased two more S650s. “We have a good relationship with Metro Bobcat, specifically our salesman,” Kurt says. “It’s important to us that he comes here on a regular basis and has been attentive to our needs. With some other dealers, you only see a salesman if you go to the dealership.”
The S650 skid-steer loader’s vertical lift path configuration made it an ideal choice for loading the company’s mulch grinder and topsoil machine.
“The Bobcat S650 skid-steer loaders are able to handle everything we’ve thrown at them,” Taylor says. “They’re strong enough to pick up pallets of sod, mulch or magnesium. They save us a ton of man hours when we’re excavating for new driveways to install new pavers. They’re able to reach high enough to load trucks, the mulch grinder and the topsoil screener. The cab-forward design gives us improved visibility when we’re loading the mulch grinder and topsoil screener.