Foutch Landscaping Enterprises
Category: Customer Success Stories
When Omaha residents want an outdoor environment with panache, they know to call Foutch Landscaping Enterprises, an award-winning firm, delivering spectacular landscapes with a little help from a new fleet of Caterpillar equipment from NMC Cat. “If you can think it, dream it, we can build it,” says Jake Foutch, Founder of Foutch Landscaping Enterprises in Omaha, Nebraska. “We offer the ‘white-glove service.’” The company averages seven projects per year valued at more than $200,000, including pools, patios and outdoor kitchens. In the coming year, Foutch plans to enter the commercial market, creating attractive green spaces for developments.
“We’re a boutique landscape company and specialize in difficult custom projects,” Foutch says. “Nothing is by the book. We focus on high end but do not shy away from small projects. Everything we do, we do things the right way.” The company currently employs 22 field landscapers on five crews. Foutch plans to add staff as he grows the firm but wants to avoid the company becoming so large he cannot provide hands-on attention to every client and ensure expert craftsmanship. Foutch began the business, working out of his garage, in 2007, the year he graduated college with a degree in landscape design and horticulture from the University of Nebraska. The firm specializes in artful, uniquely designed hardscapes and plantings. Foutch works with the client to achieve a look and feel that matches the homeowner’s taste and budget. It serves clients in Omaha and Norfolk, Nebraska; and Sioux City, Iowa. “Like any other business, we will go where the money is,” Foutch says with a laugh.
EQUIPMENT PLAYS A BIG ROLE
It’s difficult to build massive boulder-filled landscapes without heavy machinery to move those granite loads around. Back when Foutch started, he rented heavy equipment, but now the company owns an extensive fleet of mini excavators, skid steers, graders and loaders. Foutch Landscaping bought seven new pieces of heavy equipment – three mini excavators and four skid steers – by Caterpillar for delivery late in 2014 from NMC Cat in Omaha. NMC Cat is a third-generation family business, founded in 1938 and serving as the Caterpillar dealer for Nebraska and Pottawattamie County, Iowa. “Going back to 1938, our philosophy is about offering a superior products and services to customers,” said Josh Barker, Compact Construction Equipment Sales Representative at NMC Cat. “One way we stay in touch with our customers’ needs is involvement in national associations and their local chapters. This involvement helps me understand what is important to my customers so that I can be responsive.”
NMC Cat also provides parts and service – repairs and routine maintenance, in the shop and in the field. “Our customers only make money when the machines are moving,” Barker says. “We will bring them into the shop or go into the field to get the equipment running.” Foutch Landscaping will keep its old machines for loading boulders and other supplies in the company’s storage yard. In an average month, the company consumes about 24 tons of materials, boulder, limestone, in addition to dirt. “The technology from the 257 multi terrain loader (MTL) from 2012 to the new 257D – the lifting capacity, the cab and the touch screen – it’s awesome,” Foutch says. “The 257D is my favorite machine. It’s versatile. It can get boulders on top of berms.” The 257D features a pressurized cab with a quiet operating environment, joy-stick controls, high horsepower and torque, an intelligent leveling system, and an advanced display with on-screen adjustments for implement response, hystat response and creep control.
Foutch praised the 257D’s ability to maneuver in tight spaces. Many of his projects take place in people’s backyards. Additionally, the tracks on the 257D do not tear up the yard. With just a little fluffing, the grass looks fine at the end of the day. “Sod is the number one thing home-owners freak out about the most,” Foutch said. “That machine makes it easy.” Foutch switched from another equipment brand three years ago. He has been impressed with NMC Cat’s personnel. “Josh Barker, our Sales Rep, is there every time we have needed him,” Foutch said. “If we need a machine, he will find one – that day, not the next. He takes care of us. I cannot say enough good things about NMC. They make my life easier.”
BUILDING STUNNING PROJECTS
A current $260,000 backyard landscaping project includes boulder walls, water features, one waterfall with a 50-foot stream, gas tiki torches, a custom outdoor fireplace, a paver pool deck, a large outdoor kitchen, custom plantings throughout the backyard to naturalize the setting and landscape lighting. The project also includes a large custom sport pool with a 30-foot inground slide. Crews continue to work through the winter. Foutch Landscaping used a Cat 305 Mini Excavator to dig the pool and a 277 MTL to haul away the dirt for the 23-foot by 43-foot pool. The 305 features a com-fort-controlled cab, increased stability, a compact radius design, load-sensing hydraulics, an automatic two-speed for optimum speed and control, a 200 degree bucket rotation and a zero digging focus.
Access has been a challenge on this project, since the walls were built first and then the pool, Foutch explains. Some of the boulders weigh 2 to 3 tons each. “We’re using our 305 and 277 to help maneuver those boulders into place, and it’s getting the job done,” Foutch says. Foutch Landscaping entered the Watkins Concrete Block’s Ultimate Backyard Challenge competition in 2011, competing with 17 companies. The company won the Large Backyard category with a $130,000 landscaping makeover of a private residence, adding a granite boulder- lined water feature, a stone bridge for walking over a water falls, limestone steps, a sunken fire pit and dramatic lighting. Seven Foutch crew members, primarily friends of the owner from high school, worked for 1,600 hours on the transformation of the traditional, sloped yard into a retreat with a variety of pleasing entertainment destinations for the family and their friends. “Once we won that in 2012, workload went up, projects grew,” said Foutch. “It took us to the next level.”