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Holmes Construction Takes ’Can-Do’ Attitude to All Jobs Across Rhode Island

Tue August 14, 2012 - Northeast Edition
Jay Adams

You’ve seen the shiny fleet of red trucks go by if you live in the East Bay of Rhode Island; bright red, an homage to fire trucks, a reminder of childhood.

Their owner, John A Holmes III, president of Holmes Landscape Construction LLC, had his first foray into landscaping as a 10-year-old boy.

Industriously, and ingeniously — armed with his Radio Flyer red wagon that he had converted into his first trailer, and the Toro lawnmower Santa had brought him for Christmas — “John’s Yard Work” was born.

After school and during summer vacations, young Holmes would rake leaves and mow lawns. His first clients were his neighbors who lived in the Country Club Plat in Barrington, R.I. Of such youthful alliances, loyalty is born and many of these clients continue to use Holmes today.

As Holmes grew up, his services grew as well. He bought his first red Ford pickup truck in the first year he could legally drive. This allowed him to branch out and serve more neighborhoods within his hometown.

Throughout high school, he continued working diligently to follow his passion. Following graduation from St. Andrew’s High School in 2000, he enrolled at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Yet, even while attending classes, he continued to serve his clients.

After earning his degree in criminal justice and spending some time in the detective/law enforcement arena, Holmes ultimately decided that a different kind of digging — landscaping and excavation — was his true calling. In spring 2005, he took a leap of faith and founded Holmes Landscape Construction LLC.

A Fleet of Red

The 10-year-old boy with a red wagon is now a man with a fleet of red trucks, trailers, equipment and manpower.

Whether adult or child, Holmes has never forgotten the importance of leaving a customer satisfied.

“That philosophy is carried out today, whether we are servicing your home or business, condo or apartment complex, ball field or industrial park, city or town,” said Holmes. “Let us design, construct or maintain your great outdoors.”

The “great outdoors” also has provided weather challenges that have fed his business.

“Last year, Hurricane Irene hit the East Bay (eastern Rhode Island) area hard. It shut down our operations for nearly two weeks,” said Holmes. “Nearly 20 men, plus trucks and equipment from Holmes assisted Rhode Island’s largest tree service, North East Tree, Cranston, R.I. We assisted them in the town of Barrington and the city of Pawtucket with a vast array of services, such as tree removal from homes, streets and cars. It was truly a team effort and I am very proud of my staff for their long hours and hard work during this time.”

In December 2011, one of the country’s largest recycling companies, Sims Metal Management, hired Holmes Landscaping and Construction LLC to enhance and beautify the street view of their property.

In mid-December, the company was given the green light to begin the project and it:

• Brought in 1,200 yds. (917 m) of material;

• Dug the earth and installed 40 25-ft. (7.6 m) spruce trees to create an instant hedge; and

• Constructed a 500-ft. (152 m) block retaining wall.

“Time was of the essence, due to the quickly approaching winter. The crew worked long hours and came in on Sundays to get the job completed in 18 days,” said Holmes. “We did whatever we had to do to complete the job, meet the deadline and beat the winter weather.”

In spring 2012, Holmes landed the digging/landscaping contract at Rhode Island’s pre-eminent casino, Twin River Casino in Lincoln. This is a 140-acre facility with a large variety of grounds, which required finish landscaping work.

“We are grateful for this kind of growth in today’s difficult economy,” said Holmes. “Rhode Island’s economy in the last few years has been hit hard and it is difficult to grow a small business.”

General ground work and landscape maintenance has taken precedence over building projects these days to stay in operation.

“What sets us apart from our competitors is that we do not say ’No,’ to any job, small or large,” he added.


With, for the Best

Holmes has worked with some of the most notable general contractors and municipalities over some of the most noteworthy land in the state and region, including past and present contracts with: Cardi Corporation, the state of Rhode Island, town of Barrington, town of Warren, Narragansett Improvement, CB Utility, Gilbane Co., JAM Construction, Roger Williams University, St. Andrew’s School, The Warwick Mall, Paolino Properties, CVS Corporation, Shell Corporation, Dunkin’ Donuts, EBCA Program, Twin River Casino, Sims Metal Management, Chili’s, Wal-Mart, Brickman Group, Case Snow Management, RI Snow Management Corporation, Narragansett Village Condos, Dean Estates, Royal Apartments, Sandy Lane Estates, Mansion House, Leland Point Town Homes, Fuji Film, AAA, Mobil, ADP and Site Tech Corp.

Headquartered on Hospital Drive in East Providence, Holmes’ many construction services include:

• Home construction, general contracting, water and sewer utilities, and construction services that include, but are not limited to, land clearing, house foundations and earthmoving.

• Construction demolition: Holmes is available to tear down commercial buildings or homes and also offers clean-outs.

• Snowplowing and sanding services, including snow removal (under a Rhode Island Department of Transportation contract).

• Hydro-seeding and sod installation, new lawns for commercial property, large or small.

• Acreage cutting, large landscaping areas.

• Erosion control.

• Landscape lighting and curbing.

Holmes’ lawn and lot services include:

• Maintenance of yards and grounds, including spring and fall clean-up, maintenance of sprinklers, trimming of hedges, tree pruning and leaf removal, bush and hedge service, mulching services;

• Paving services, which include driveways and grounds, laying asphalt, concrete and stone driveways;

• Drains: Holmes provides the installation of sub-pumps, French drains and trench drains;

• Installation of new plantings, from a one-gallon hydrangea to a 40-ft. spruce tree;

• Plant transplanting: Taking trees from old properties to a new one;

• Lawn installation: Finish grading, seeding and sodding, domestic and commercial;

• Hydro seeding and sod installation on commercial property, large or small; repairs and leveling problem areas, such as slopes;

• Fencing and installation of sprinkler systems;

• Masonry: Skilled masons take care of any stone needs in a driveway, walkway, along with chimney repointing, patio, fire pit or retaining wall construction; and

• Commercially, Holmes maintains contracts that include weekly/nightly sweeping of condo complexes, industrial parks, strip malls, etc.

“We will police for litter and debris and manicure the properties. We also offer power washing services,” Holmes said of his company’s diversity.

Trucking Needs: Holmes has a fleet of six-wheel dumps, 10-wheel dumps and tri-axle dumps, available for hourly rental to transport materials.

Equipment Rental: “We offer the rental of our skid steer, backhoe and excavator. The state of Rhode Island and many of its towns and cities, along with some of the largest construction outfits in the area use our equipment,” said Holmes.

Offering Creativity

Being proactive and forward-thinking during a prolonged and challenging economy requires expansion of any and all types of work, even including creating some new features. As a result, Holmes offers a few unique services that many of its competitors don’t.

“We are able to install a putting green, a beach or any other unusual outdoor request you may have,” Holmes explained. “Our heated driveways and patios keep snow and ice away from your beautiful property, keeping the appearance attractive and free of rock salt damage.

“Some of the more unique services we offer pizza ovens and custom veneering (the placement of stone over concrete, on the foundation of a house, for example). We also offer repairs, such as damaged steps or an area in your driveway that may be collecting water,” he added. “A variety of materials are available including cobblestone, bluestone and pavers.

To our competitors: Let us assist you in any larger projects you may have.”

But it doesn’t end there. Holmes also offers after-hour services to bring interior plantings into commercial buildings/businesses, including unique and tropical designs for any business, office complex, hotel, restaurant, apartment complex or mall.

Many larger general contractors have called on the company to do so, touching off large building projects with just the right foliage and gardens.

For example, John T. Ruggieri, senior vice president and CFO of one of Rhode Island’s largest general contractors, Gilbane Co., said “John was a pleasure to work with.

He was very reliable and responsive to our needs. The combination of design, creativity, craftsmanship, attention to detail and high quality was evident in every aspect of our project.”

And to think, it all began with a single red wagon, pulled by a little boy who just wanted to cut the grass.

For more information, visit the company’s new Web site (still under construction) or


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