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Green Earth–Adapts to Thrive

By Stephen Kelly, managing editor

Green Earth Landscaping & Design, Inc., management team: Mary Moore, marketing director; Lisa Korczak, office manager; Mark Moore, president

Mark Moore founded Green Earth Landscaping & Design, Inc., in Hackensack, New Jersey in 1989 while attending evening studies in horticultural design at Rutger’s Cook College and Bergen Community College. Mr. Moore’s one-man maintenance service soon grew to include landscape design and construction components.

This 2003 NJNLA award winning landscape features border plantings that help screen the backyard from neighboring properties and soften the linear appearance of the wooden fence line. A private sitting patio, constructed of chiseled bluestone resides under the gazebo structure. Delicate “moonlight” down-lighting fixtures illuminate the gazebo and the underlying sitting area. The trees in the yard are Cornus kousa (Japanese Dogwood) and Ilex opaca (American holly); the shrubs are Mahonia aquifolium compacta (compact Oregon grape), an evergreen, and Spiraea japonica (Anthony waterer). The perennials include Ligularia dentata (Othello) and Lamium maculatum (silver beacon).

When I first saw Green Earth’s work, I was impressed. Since then, the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association presented the 2003 Landscape Award of Excellence to Green Earth for residential landscape and hardscape renovation (Project #1 in this feature). Equipment World magazine just named Green Earth one of 12 finalists in its “2004 Contractor of the Year” award program.

The front walk of random, square cut bluestone pieces is accented with copper path lights. The brick soldier course provides the perfect transition from the path to the house facade.

Landscape Communications publishes Landscape Contractor National (LCN), Landscape Architect and Specifier News (LASN), and Landscape Superintendent and Maintenance Professional (LSMP). Each magazine has its niche. For LCN features, we look not only at the work of a landscape contracting company, but how the company does business.

Green Earth offers high quality landscape service to residential and commercial clients throughout the New Jersey/New York market, specializes in customized residential landscape design throughout most of the year (150 projects per season).

Along the west side of the property a meandering nature path consistent of irregularly shaped, heavy bluestone slabs, Karney stone steps and Delaware pea gravel replaced the steep, grass slope. Blossoming astilbe and variegated hostas line the walkway.

The Green Earth team consists of 15-20 full time employees in six service divisions: landscape design; construction and excavation (the construction division boasts a wide array of trucks and construction equipment: excavators, tandems, loaders, backhoes, skid steers and forklifts; hydroseeding; property maintenance; lighting; and … snow and ice management. If your landscape contracting business resides in New Jersey, and you depend on any or all of the first five services, landscaping business goes into hibernation for the winter. It’s adapt to thrive … or die. More on that, later.

Considerable ledge rock was encountered during site excavation. Blasting was required to remove the under-layer and create an even grade.

Green Earth’s design process encompasses: understanding the vision (meeting with the client to walk the property to better understand the landscaping needs); creating a detailed conceptual plan and receiving client feedback; incorporating plan revisions; and preparing a cost estimate that fits the client’s budget. Green Earth’s construction team then brings the plan to life by installing quality hardscape pieces, elegant lighting fixtures, durable drainage/irrigation, and hand-selected plant stock. Once the project is installed, Green Earth conducts a final walk-through to answer questions and instruct the client on the care of the landscape.


Project #1

The west side this Bergan County, New Jersey residence of property presented a steep, sloped hill of tangled grass and weeds. The contours made it difficult to walk this side of the yard and was a safety concern for the parents when the children played in the backyard. The slope was graded and multi-tiered to carve out a meandering nature path of irregularly shaped, heavy bluestone slabs, Karney stone steps and Delaware pea gravel. Green Earth planted astilbe and variegated hostas to line the walkway.

Daylilies, hen-chick, ornamental grasses and echinacea border the split waterfall and river rock bed feature. White pines and mature maples create a commanding backdrop.

Out front, tumbled, gray pavers replaced the outdated and cracked concrete driveway. The front walk became random, square-cut bluestone pieces, accented by copper path lights. The addition of a brick soldier course created a striking transition from the path to the house facade.

This native rock derived from onsite blasting to create natural toned retaining walls that crown the west side of the landscape design.

Green Earth hydroseeded to create the lawn, and screened the property from the neighbors with Japanese and red barked dogwoods, American holly, southern magnolias, heritage river birch, ruby glow, and redbuds. Adding evergreen and sweet pepper shrubs and perennials softened the wooden fence line.

The blasting and rock relocation established the site for the pool.

Green Earth built a gazebo and a private sitting patio constructed of chiseled bluestone beneath, adding “moonlight” down-lighting fixtures to illuminate the gazebo and the underlying sitting area.


Project #2

The landscape plan originally called for a single level patio and garden plantings. However, after the initial excavation for the pool, the presence of significant palisades of ledge rock presented considerable cost and logistical obstacles. Blasting rock was required to create the pool. Rather than blasting and excavating the entire project area to match the grade of the pool, Green Earth created a multi-tiered layout to minimize blasting ($30,000 worth of blasting still required) and bring a more visually pleasing layout. Elevated planting beds and sitting patios plotted throughout furthered the visual intrigue.

Planter pots of seasonal annuals dot the bluestone wall that surrounds the elevated second patio tier.

The rock blasted from the pool area went to create retaining walls that crown the west side of the landscape, maintaining the native rock appearance and keeping material costs down.

The job site was located along a steep, side yard area of the property. A 30-foot slope ran from the side yard (roadside access) to the bottom of the project area. The precarious angle made machine operation extremely difficult.

The Pennsylvania fieldstone tiers set a more aesthetically pleasing stage from which the renovated house can shine.

Work crews also had to be cautious of the multitude of mature trees. These root systems could not be traveled on or touched by machinery, nor could they be backfilled with loose materials for fear of causing permanent damage to the tree. The client also expressed a keen interest in preserving as much of the mature tree line as possible.


Project #3

This attractive Victorian home in a well-healed Hackensack neighborhood looked down on a 45-degree slope with a deteriorating railroad tie wall and overrun with weeds, crab grass and hosta. Lack of adequate drainage also made erosion a problem. Green Earth met this challenge by creating an impressive, albeit labor intensive, hand-chiseled four-tiered wall of Pennsylvania fieldstone, a structurally sound and attractive means of retaining the property’s steep front slope and showing off the classic lines of the home. Each tier is accented with a colorful variety of perennials, seasonal annuals and flowering shrubs.

Prior to renovation, the existing railroad tie wall had steadily deteriorated. Additionally, the enclosed bed was overrun with weeds, crab grass and hosta growth.

Let It Snow

When it snows, sleets or freezes, most contractors cut back, but Green Earth thrives. The company adds 10-15 employees for the winter season, morphing into a commercial and industrial snow and ice management service. Green Earth has three certified snow professionals (CSP) on staff, including Mark Moore, making it the leading CSP employer in New Jersey, and the leading female CSP employer in the nation. Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA) certification requires a six-hour exam covering six risk, law and contracts; business; technical and mechanical aspects of snow and ice management; sales, marketing, communications and public relations; and health/safety and human resources.

A dry-laid, tiered wall made of Pennsylvania fieldstone creates a more structurally sound means of retaining the property’s steep front slope. Each tier is accented with a colorful variety of perennials, seasonal annuals and flowering shrubs to soften the distinctive lines of the impressive stonework.

Edward Fay, the building and grounds manager of the engineering department for New Jersey’s largest hospital, chose Green Earth as its snow and ice control and removal contractor in the fall of 2001, and has since signed a three-year contract with the company. In a letter to Mark Moore on Augusts 13, 2003, Mr. Fay thanked Green Earth for its efficient work in keeping the large grounds safe for the thousands of employees, visitors and guests. “Without as much as a phone call, they had our entire campus photographed and staked out at the end of fall, and once again before I even had a chance to call, plows, front-end loaders, bulk and containers of Magic Salt began arriving,” he wrote. “When the weather forecast called for a severe storm to hit New Jersey with totals in excess of 18 inches, I came in to prepare and found Green Earth already on site and large snow removing equipment already delivered and set up,” he added.

For maximum efficiency, Green Earth services this 100-acre hospital facility (one of New Jersey’s largest) with heavy duty construction equipment. This CAT 950 loader unit, equipped with a 16-foot snow pusher box, clears large swaths equivalent to three to four swipes of a regular pick-up plow blade.

Green Earth’s commercial snow and ice clients include the Westpoint Military Academy; Ellis Island Foundation; Bergen Regional Medical Center; Dupont, Costco Wholesale; FED-EX Ground; Sears Roebuck & Company; Wyeth Laboratories; Burger King, and McDonald's.

In its 14th year of snow and ice services, the company employs 50-75 field operatives and six office/dispatch staff during the winter snow season. Green Earth takes preseason site photos of its customers’ paved areas. When the snow begins to fall, the 24-hour customer service and dispatch kicks in. The snow crews all have 2-way radio units and a 20-piece equipment inventory, valued at over $2 million, and trucks to handle any storm. Construction equipment (excavation, backhoe, skid steers, etc.) also see snow removal duty.

Many of Green Earth’s large commercial snow accounts demand full clearance of snow from parking areas and loading bays. Bobcat skidsteers equipped with 6-10 foot pusher boxes help stack snow out of the way.

All snow crew managers are regular season Green Earth employees and receive snow and ice management training. Subcontractors do not supervise plow sites or routes, but do act as back-up during blizzard and emergency conditions. About 30 subcontractors are employed during the winter season. The truck and equipment operators have at least five years of prior snow experience. The company uses Raynger(TM) ST laser thermometers to read ground temperatures, and stocks 100 tons of Magic Salt.(TM) This salt, less corrosive than regular rock salt or calcium chloride, melts at lower temperatures, is safe to use near lawn and vegetation and on concrete surfaces, and is pet-friendly.

Green Earth features a plow truck fleet that ranges in size from one-ton pickups to 80,000 pound Mack tandems.

Green Earth’s sales revenues for 2003 were approximately $1.8 million; gross revenues for 2002 were $1.2 million. Forty percent of sales revenue derived from snow and ice operations, 40 percent from design and build, and 20 percent from property maintenance.

Mark Moore, president, Green Earth Landscaping & Design, Inc.

Green Earth’s Service List:

Design Work

Site analysis
Conceptual plans
Construction plans
Drainage plans

Project and Estate Management

Swimming pool installation management
Protection of existing landscape elements (during construction)
Full-scale management of outside
property area

Residential, Commercial and Industrial
Plant Material Installation

Woody plant material (trees and shrubs)
Perennial plant material
Annual/seasonal plant material
Sod and slit seeding

Residential, Commercial and Industrial
Landscape Construction

Drainage and seepage pits
Retaining walls, construction of rock walls and landscape ties
Sidewalks and driveways (materials: pavers, stone and concrete)
Site work via excavator, backhoe and small machine service
Grading (topsoil and fill)
Fence installation
Water gardens and ponds
Night lighting on shrubs, trees and walks for safety and security
Sprinkler systems (drip and spray methods)
Hydroseeding and site stabilization

Comprehensive Property Maintenance Programs

Weekly grounds maintenance
Turf and shrub care programs
Spring and fall clean-ups
Tree and shrub pruning (hand pruning) and removal


10 trimmers; 15 backpack blowers; 6 walk-behind blowers; 2 stick edgers; 4 chainsaws; 4 hedge trimmers; 8 walk-behind mowers; 3 ride-along mowers; 1 Vermeer chipper; 6 equipment trailers; 1 straw blower; 1 New Holland 865 series; Bobcat 753; 416B 4×4 CAT Backhoe; 1,000 gallon Finn hydroseeder; one 200-gallon sprayer; one 100-gallon sprayer; 3 International dump rack trucks; one Ford mason dump; one Ford 450 pick-up truck; one Ford Ranger pick-up truck.

Mark Moore’s management team:

Mary Moore, the marketing director, who joined Green Earth in 2002. It was Mary’s marketing initiative that brought the company to the attention of LCN. Mary is SIMA certified, and graduated cum laude from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts with a B.S. in communication studies and psychology.

Lisa Korczak, office manager and key client liaison since 1998, is also SIMA certified. She has a B.S. in business management from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey, and graduated cum laude.

Oscar Arias, foreman of the maintenance division, joined Green Earth in 1999. He oversees the maintenance care of over 85 accounts and is a key member of Green Earth’s snow operations team.

Mark Moore participates actively in the Associated Landscape Contractors Association; Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA); New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association; Perennial Plant Association; and the Bergen County 200 Club. Mark also helps mentor up-and-coming landscape professionals in the ALCA “One-on-One” program.

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June 18, 2019, 6:55 am PDT

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