They have created atriums on the roofs of a museum, recreated wetlands in the middle of airports and dug pools on the sides of ocean cliffs.
Like the wetlands it has rebuilt, the sites and yards it has dug and seeded, the building company of father-and-son Alan and David Muoio grows rapidly.
Alan Muoio, 58, and offspring David, 27, are celebrating 40 years in the landscape design-build industry. Alan founded his company Lawn Beauticians in 1972, and son David’s baby — New England Mulching Services — came to be in 2000.
There also is another diverse division Forest Hills Nurseries for other services, in a second location, near their Cranston, R.I., headquarters at 400 Aqueduct Road.
“We’re very diversified. We have a wholesale nursery; we dig, build, seed, grow plants, and do landscape design and construction, commercial construction. We’ll do anything that is either industrial, commercial, on buildings, in airports, on beaches, in ponds, snow plowing, maintenance, anything. We always seem to stay busy,” said David Muoio.
From creating waterslides in yards, to replacing and recreating wetlands at airports to help save endangered turtles, to blowing materials 2,000 ft. (610 m) at a job site through a new state-of-the-art blower truck, the Muoio team has created a fascinating and well-respected yard, site, land and earth niche in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
“We’ve done some crazy backyards,” said Muoio. “From hauling eight- or 10-foot slab boulders to the job site in order to create a mountain-type atmosphere in a yard, to hanging pools on a cliff and creating 20-foot drops, what we call vanishing edge pools, looking right into the ocean, everything has been interesting.
They have worked for some of the largest contractors in Rhode Island and Massachusetts on jobs in Boston, Providence, Cranston, Warwick, Berkley, Rehoboth and New Bedford, Mass., and too many towns to mention.
“We’ll go anywhere,” said Muoio.
From One Truck to 40 Subs
Alan Muoio began his career with more vowels in his last name than pieces of equipment.
“My Dad started out cutting grass. He started out with a single lawn mower and a pick-up truck, and went yard to yard,” said Muoio. “Then, he started doing more lawns, then, landscape construction, and then it grew.”
An only child, Muoio emulated his Dad. He can’t remember doing anything else since he played with trucks. He has accompanied his father on sites all of his life. The hammer never falls far from the tool belt.
“I have been working here since I was a kid, potting little plants,” said Muoio. “Slowly, throughout summers, I’d do some landscaping jobs, run the equipment. I loved the backhoes, moving the earth, the jobs. I loved the whole thing. Later in high school, I was running smaller jobs on my own, then progressed to bigger jobs and taking on more responsibilities.”
So did Lawn Beauticians. Until the ancillary New England Mulching Co. was formed 12 years ago, Alan Muoio held contracts with national chains, landscaping the parking lots and grounds for all the Chili’s and Bugaboo Creek Restaurants in New England, as well as Bertucci’s Restaurants, through the 1990s.
The family also did work on the grounds annually for the Applebee’s chain and On The Border.
“We do snowplowing for Wal-Mart. We have 40 or 50 subs who work for us in wintertime,” said Muoio. “We have 10 machines, pusher boxes, five or six sanding trucks. We have about 40 different subs, with machines and trucks, and probably 20 different snow shovelers to do sidewalks.”
Creating Wetlands With Blower Trucks
With four decades of varied work behind them, the two joint businesses employ 35 people and are doing fascinating projects in two states, thanks to new technology employing filter socks through blower trucks.
“We have some interesting projects, like the project in New Bedford Airport we are working on now. We are blowing 6,500 yards of leaf litter to build wetland habitat for the endangered box turtles,” he said. “We are creating wetlands within the airport. Basically, they had to make the runways bigger, so they had to take away wetlands and then create new ones. The new regulations benefit the kind of work we do.”
The well-respected Manafort Brothers Inc. of Connecticut is doing all the wetland creations, with New England Mulching Co. subbing for them, blowing in all the leaf litter.
“We blow leaf litter to create the wetlands, mulch and leaves, 500 feet away from the truck,” said Muoio.
As Hurricane Sandy decimated southwestern Rhode Island, destroying hundreds of homes along Ocean Road in Narragansett and Masquamucket Beach through Westerly, the Muoio family was called in by landscape architects.
“We do a lot of erosion control with our blower trucks. It’s a Filtrexx patented system. You can read about it on our Web site. It’s all there. We put up sediment barriers, compost blankets,” Muoio said. This storm, Hurricane Sandy, I’m meeting with CRMC (Coastal Resources Management Council). They brought us in to help control erosion problems along the coastal shores. We’ll be working with them over the next few weeks.”
As the planet “goes green,” the father-and-son companies literally use the green they grow to change the environment for the better.
“The blower truck business and the erosion control business are getting bigger and bigger, because of stricter environmental restrictions, regulations and water control,” Muoio added. “You don’t have to go into tight places with (heavy) machines. You can use just a four-inch hose and blow from 1,000 to 2,000 feet away.
“I did a job up in Boston, about 20 feet up, blew in 500 cubic yards of crushed stone and 1,700 cubic yards of loam, preparing for a planting job for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston,” said Muoio. “They couldn’t get in there with a crane, so, they called me with my blower truck.
“When I use the blower truck, I can get in anywhere, blowing loam, gravel, crushed stone, sand, mulch, soil mixtures. Also, we can inject seed, any type of erosion control, and 100 percent soil contacts,” he added. “Our truck has the capability of doing rooftop gardens, 20 stories high on the side of a building.”
He has blown material up to 2,000 ft. (610 m) from the truck with unerring accuracy through a combination of old time muscle, elbow grease and new world technology.
“The truck is all computerized with a modem for diagnostic purposes. But it’s a hose out of the truck, manual. You still have to drag the hose,” said Muoio.
This has improved business, as stricter regulations require the kind of small space technology afforded by the patented techniques Muoio uses.
“All these new regulations are great with me. Manafort Brothers, are building 20 or 30 acres of wetlands for a turtle — box turtles, that are endangered,” Muoio saidd. “With the capability of the blower truck, none of my projects are ever cut and dried. It’s always something crazy or ridiculous. You can never get material in there in any other way, not with a crane, anyway. Any job I go to with my blower truck is never easy.
‘‘Let’s push 500 feet through mud to restore wetlands,’ or, ‘Let’s push 300 feet up to a roof and put dirt on a roof, blow underneath foundations, get underneath a house, a crawl space.’ The kinds of things you run into are always interesting, and you see how you can save people money doing it.”
40 Years of Earning a Solid Reputation
Known as a high-end, premier company for their exceptional landscape design-builds, the Muoio team gets jobs by merit.
Besides working for Manafort Brothers Inc., the companies have subbed for Holmes Landscaping LLC, Narragansett Improvement, Cardi Corporation, Catalano Construction, A.A. Will and Moriarty and Associates in Boston, Albert J. Welch Construction, Valley Crest, and many others. They are certified to work for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) for filter sock and their blowing truck permitting process.
They also construct walls of the earth itself.
“We build structural walls out of filter sock. They are green, structurally stable walls,” he said. “Instead of a harsh, environmentally unfriendly block wall, you get a green wall, still structurally stable. Everything nowadays is turning green.
“We have a very good reputation. We might be more expensive than the next guy, but we get the job,” added Muoio.
Muoio indicated that it’s his father’s work ethic that has led the way for his own success.
“My father loves work. He loves it every day, I’ll tell you that,” he said. He also knows how to adapt with the working environment.
“You have to change with the times to survive. You have to stay very aggressive, as far as bidding, getting out there, shaking hands,” said Muoio. “It is still leg work. You have to be healthy. You have to pound the pavement. It’s more about relationships. People (do) Facebook, Twitter, and then say, ‘We are good.’ Not in our business. You have to get out there and prove yourself and do everything you said you would.”
They also give back to the community, donating landscaping jobs and instructing students at both Cranston High School East and Tolgate High School.
“It’s a chance for the kids to come out and learn, something different rather than everyday books,” said Muoio.
He pondered his own and his father’s combined 60 years together on site, 40 officially.
“It’s great. I could never picture myself being in an office, sitting inside,” said Muoio. “I like what I do.”
For more information, visit www.nemulching.com or www.thelawnbeauticians.com or call 401/464-6600 or 401/942-4828.