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And finally, what sets VLC Landscaping apart is its people. “I’ve been blessed with a close-knit crew that shares the same passion for stonecrafting and landscape design as I do. Our experiences have shown us that we are most efficient as two- or three-man teams. Each member is fit, energetic, honest, personable, responsible, trained and experienced. They all take pride in their work. ”
The past two years have been especially defining for VLC Landscaping, as the company has gradually transitioned from being a typical landscape contractor (maintenance, plantings, irrigation and a little hardscape) to full-time custom hardscaping (stonework, fire and water features, lighting, retaining walls, decking, outdoor cooking surfaces and more). “If there was a humble way to say we are the best out there, I'd say it,” Tim comments, “but I can tell you there are very few who can do what we do, the way we do it. And above all, the glory goes to God. He alone has truly blessed this company. The men working with me also share in this core belief.”
Today, Tim and his team serve the northern Pittsburgh region and surrounding counties, and they’re having as much fun as ever. “It's such a fulfilling job,” he concludes. “As a child, every boy liked to drive Tonka trucks, stack Legos, put together complicated puzzles, played in the mud, and was fascinated with water, fire and light. We just never stopped. It's like every work day, we clock in at a grown-up playground.”
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By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established…
One thing that sets VLC Landscaping apart from other contractors is a passion for ingenuity and innovation. This passion shows through the company’s award-winning designs and inventively detailed schemes. “I see every job as an opportunity to try something new and get better at what we already do,” Tim shares. “…. On paper, it's easy to put a fireplace here, a waterfall there, a kitchen off the back patio. It looks nice and neat on paper but nine times out of 10 we see an opportunity to enhance the original layout after the project has commenced. This is one way we work. Instead of a blueprint, which can really limit a design, we offer a 3-dimensional conceptual design package. As a team, we’ve been contracted by the industry leading stone manufacturers to build full architectural showcase displays of every single product they manufacture. It’s quite easy for us, as contractors, to look at a blueprint and comprehend the final product. Many homeowners are not experienced in this. Our design package helps our clients really visualize what the project will look like before it starts so that drastic changes aren’t needed later because they may have pictured something completely different. It puts the client on the same page as the contractor so that we can both head into the project confident with our expectations. Additionally, while working with you we get a better understanding of your style and preference. This enables us to really create a space that is fine tuned to fit your lifestyle. With VLC, our design process doesn’t stop on a .PDF file, it ends when we ultimately turn the finished project back over to you. In fact, we want the challenging jobs that no one else can do, those custom jobs that can never be replicated, the designs that when people walk up for the first time and see it, they are intrigued at what can be done with an otherwise unusable space.
VLC Landscaping’s enthusiasm for design is matched by its dedication to quality and attention to detail.
“Every project is built as if it was going in my own house,” Tim says. “For us, it's not about the bottom line; it's about the end result. That's why we use only the best materials on the market, like Unilock . . . and why our tolerances for course bonds, pitch, compaction rates, etc. far exceed industry standards set by the Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute and National Concrete Masonry Association. In the end, what drives our business is our reputation for premium craftsmanship.”
with our clients and their families. It’s more common than not that our clients invite our families back over to enjoy, with them, the outdoor living space that we spent so much time creating. It’s very gratifying to know that we are welcome at their homes and that our God-given talents have been used to enrich the well-being of others.”
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Tim also keeps a close watch on quality control by decidedly staying small. “Too many companies put an emphasis on how many employees they have, but I have yet to see a direct correlation between success and the amount of employees,” he says. “By staying small, the busyness is eliminated, focus is enhanced and human error is minimized. You get a better finished product, in a shorter amount of time, with less waste. Being a small company also enables us to develop great relationships
All members of Tim’s crew are encouraged to offer their input. “We work together as a team, and the end goal is a catalog-worthy project that exceeds expectations. With that being said, each of us is expected to carry our own weight and to perform each and every task as well as the next man. That means interacting with our clients, design management, operating heavy equipment and etc. As a team, we have learned to manage our individual strengths and weaknesses collectively, and by doing this we never lose sight of the big picture. Every day is an opportunity to create something better than yesterday. We pay close attention to our client’s personalities, likes and dislikes while trying to gain a tangible understanding of what they are visualizing. We’ll refine those ideas and work towards a product that truly reflects the lifestyle of each individual client. It’s our job to create an outdoor living space that truly feels like a seamless extension of your home, to make something great out of nothing.”
One example is a client who really bonded with the VLC crew. “The time came to cast and pour concrete countertops for their two tabletop bars and outdoor kitchen. “We wanted to make them special not only in shape, coping, polish and color, but something that no one else had. Well, inspiration struck when we were cleaning up the site and noticed that our client had a good number of empty beer and wine bottles left over from the holidays.” The crew gathered up all the brown bottles they could find, cleaned them, broke each one into small chips and added them to the harvest-wheat-colored concrete mix. When the product had cured, the countertops were flipped over and polished with a high grit diamond-polishing pad. The end result was perfectly balanced specs of dark brown were exposed through the pearl colored aggregate and tan medium. The countertops looked amazing, resembling natural granite, but the real story behind what actually went into the piece was something that meant a lot to our client and their large, growing family. It doesn’t stop there, we’ve turned a family’s 100+ year old apple butter kettle into a breathtaking, centerpiece waterfall, carved fire pits out of solid boulders, put fiber optics into concrete and the list goes on.”
Pittsburgh’s Premier Outdoor Living Contractors
As far back as high school, Tim Bean of Cranberry Township seemed destined to run his own landscaping and masonry company. In 2002, when Tim was 17 years old at Mars Area High School, he and two of his friends from the high school football team decided to start cutting lawns around the neighborhood. They acquired a small personal loan to purchase a 26” Craftsman push mower and formed Varsity Lawn Care. It was the beginning of bigger things to come.
Upon high school graduation, Tim, the oldest of eight children, was off to college where he played football on scholarship. In spite of his full course load and athletic commitments, Tim didn’t just keep the landscaping company alive; he expanded into three counties (Allegheny, Beaver and Butler) and began offering additional services such as mulching, planting and landscape design.
“I employed a number of my friends from the football team in order to keep up with the increased demand,” Tim says. Two years later, Tim transferred to Geneva College to complete his football career while studying business. “That’s when I found that I really enjoyed working with stone and engineering,” he recalls. After Tim completed his college studies three years ago, he relaunched the company as VLC Landscaping (which stands for Valencia Landscape Construction), and the business has continued to grow ever since.