Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

MAR 2014

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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Summer #1 The first call that Sosnowitz received from the homeowners was to design and build a six-foot-high fieldstone wall with both faces finished to match in look and quality. Also includ- ed were two pillars to hold the 10-foot-high gate and lanterns installed on top of the pillars. The wall is 160 feet long. The solid iron, European-style gate was designed by Sos- nowitz and made to order by a Polish ironworker. The cost of the gate and lanterns, which were also fabricated by the ironworker, was $50,000. The crew also had to run all new underground utilities from the street to the house. In addition, lighting, irrigation drainage and security systems were installed and the grounds were planted with trees, bushes and flowers. Six weeks into the job, Sosnowitz mentioned to the home- owner that the front steps were very narrow and dangerous, and should be redesigned and replaced. She at first declined but two days later her mother fell down the steps, prompting a change of mind and an immediate call to begin the job. Summer #2 This time around, the work centered on the backyard. The pool was drained, sandblasted and refinished with Gunite. The pool coping was replaced with granite to match the front door landing. The decking was replaced with fieldstone to match everything else. An extensive stairway and planters were built at the rear of the property. The installation also included a sitting wall, irrigation and lighting systems, and general landscaping. The smell of gas led Sosnowitz to the discovery of a leaking line from the meter to the pool heater. It was determined that the cause of it was not the work that had been done that summer but instead the type of piping the original contractor used, which was in- terior piping not approved for direct burial installations. So the crew replaced the line. Summer #3 The house itself was the focus in the third season. Even though some of the work was a little out of the scope of Sosnowitz's experience, he had so earned the confidence of the homeowners that they asked him to handle it. First he supervised the repair of the wood shake shingle roof and the replacement of the gutters with six-inch oversize copper gutters. Next he coordinated the painting of the exterior. One additional job was waterproofing the basement, which included jacking up the rear of the house to replace a main wooden sill that had rotted due to carpenter bees. For the most part, Sosnowitz was able to get all the work completed each summer within the limited timeframe. And he is quite appreciative of the amount of trust, inde- pendence and work that the homeowners gave him. "It was wonderful," he confides. Top: The walls and planters are made of New England blend fieldstone. To construct the steps, a six-inch base of trap rock was followed with six inches of "item four," a very fine substance derived from old road grindings. Next, the masons put down four inches of concrete. After that dried, a two-inch "batter coat" of concrete was laid and fieldstones were tapped level into this coat. The joints were mortared after everything had set. This same technique was used to cap the walls and planters. Existing boulders were incorporated into the walls. The plantings include Japanese maples, weeping hemlocks, and juniper procuma nana. Middle: The lanterns on top of the pillars are solid iron and were fashioned at Jozef Custom Ironworks in Bridgeport, Conn. The pillars are built of mortared fieldstone. The quarry specially cut and shaped fieldstones for the caps. A Leyland cypress is planted next to the pillar. Bottom: The European-style gate was custom designed by Sosnowitz and also made of solid iron by the foundry. The pad is once again cobblestone, which is quarried in the state of New York and emulates the original stones used in New York City streets. It was supplied by O & G, in Stamford, Conn. The masonry company was Joseph Santora and Sons from Greenwich, Conn. March 2014 33 DBM LC 032-033.indd 33 2/27/14 4:17 PM

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