Since he was 8 years old, Hendrik-Jan ten Ham knew he wanted to be a landscaper. Now approaching 40 years in the industry, he doesn’t regret his decision.
“The most beautiful part about my job is that I get to work closely with clients, with nature, with plants and with animals. I love the outdoors, I’m not an indoors man”
Even with such experience, and having successfully run his own business for 25 years, learning never stops. “Each year I attend 3-4 courses to keep my knowledge of the profession up to date. It’s also important because I want to share this knowledge with my clients.”
“My major challenge is to create a design that perfectly fits the expectations of my clients,” says ten Ham. Doing so requires an expert understanding of the terrain, topography, soil qualities, weather conditions and native flora and fauna and balancing these with the ideas and desires of the client.
But as much as it is intellectual, landscaping is also a very physical profession. Grading, cutting and filling earth, planting, paving, lifting and spreading are just some of the tasks needed to get the job done.
Unsurprisingly, the risk of debilitating injuries such as carpal tunnel, back pain and joint pain are higher in landscapers than for the average worker. Between 10 and 15% of landscapers will have an accident or injury during work each year.
“If I had to do all this work by hand I would ruin my body and be worn out in the evening. I would like to enjoy my old days together with my wife once we are retired.”
Cat® Machine the Perfect Solution
While a wheel barrow, spade and a pair of strong hands will always be essential tools for landscaping, introducing mechanisation will simultaneously save the body and increase output. In landscaping, the environment, physical restrictions and job size will impact the ability to mechanise.
“I have to work in a lot of gardens nowadays with small entrances. With a big machine you can’t enter.”
The Cat® 300.9D was the perfect solution for ten Ham and his landscaping business. “It has a lot of capacity and I can use it everywhere. If I can use the machine only a few times a year, it’s not worth it.”
Here are some of the features that make the 300.9D so suitable to landscaping:
“If you take a look at what I did only this afternoon, that is a lot. It is such a relief for my body.”
But it’s not just digging and earthmoving that ten Ham benefits from the 300.9D. “I also lay tiles with this machine and lift blocks. For lifting I am using a mechanism on the lifting eye and then I can lift the tiles and place them. These tiles are 60 by 60 and they weight 51kg. You don't want to lift them without a machine if you have to lift a lot of them.”
“For me the machine is really working, and I think it can work for a lot of colleagues.”