Custom Fence and Gate Aces
JTM Landscaping and Contractors
By Michael Miyamoto, LC/DBM
JTM Landscaping and Contractors, LLC, is a turnkey landscape design and installation company based in Morgan City, La., and serves southern Louisiana and surrounding areas. Its services include landscape design, landscape installation, drainage, decks, patios, walkways, pergolas, custom fences and gates, irrigation systems, water features, hardscapes and LED landscape lighting.
Jeffrey Matherne, chief executive member and sole proprietor of the landscaping firm, said he started his business in April 2006 as strictly a landscape designer-builder. Since then, he has added JTM Construction Group. He maintains one construction crew and two landscaping crews.
Matherne is a registered contractor, a certified nursery and landscape professional, and a licensed landscape horticulturalist, irrigation contractor and pesticide applicator. He is also the company's sole design draftsman. The company has done numerous landscaping projects in Morgan City, Franklin, Lafayette, Houma, Thibodaux, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and elsewhere in Louisiana.
With fence projects, his workers almost always have to deal with a challenge of soft soil that is most prevalent in his part of the state. It is difficult getting the posts in the ground and keeping them straight and sturdy. His workers have to use large posts and bury them deep, and they also have to be well protected against the elements.
"We're basically in a basin," he said. "We don't have any hard ground, and there is no rock base underneath." Once the posts are done right, everything else is fairly easy, or "cut and dried."
Because of heavy rainfall and flooding, his firm did very few landscaping and irrigation jobs last year. Landscaping in particular was considered a luxury item that "no one has been pulling the trigger on," he said. But his firm has done "thousands and thousands of dollars worth of drainage projects," getting water out of people's yards, he said, mainly because they want to protect their investments.
The design-build firm has done only four fence projects in 2016, "and we were happy to have them," he said. Because these types of jobs have been rare, during the past year anyway, he said he tried to give his customers a more customized look than they would otherwise have asked for. He made more of an effort to "go over the top" with the design of each fence, and the word of mouth advertising has been very positive.
For example, one of his larger fence projects was in Berwick, La. It was complicated because the homeowner wanted an automatic gate. Part of the driveway had to be temporarily cut out, so vehicle access to the home was limited for a few days. As for the design-build of the fence, he said: "There was no room for error, or the gate would not close just right."
He told the homeowner that his goal was to have this job published in Landscape Contractor magazine, after having basically sketched out the design of the fence on a scrap piece of wood. The owner just sort of laughed and walked away. In the end, the homeowner was very pleased with the result, and now that the project has indeed been published in this magazine, the entire project has been "rewarding," he said.
In addition to landscaping design-build, the company offers a maintenance service, including lawn care that can be applied seasonally, monthly or as often as needed. His firm currently has 15 maintenance contracts. The firm has extensive knowledge of southern Louisiana's climate, and because of that, it can implement strategies to complement all landscaping requirements.
The company has also started Thern-Gro LLC, a garden center, within its headquarters. At the moment, it is getting off the ground, although orders are being taken and deliveries are being made.
"We constantly strive to incorporate the highest quality plants, materials, and construction techniques into each and every project," the company says on its website. "Our team takes pride in delivering outstanding results to our clients. We are constantly learning and keeping up with the latest materials and outdoor trends to give clients the best options for their outdoor space requirements while working within their budget."