Hudson Valley Hardscapes


As a 16-year-old high school student, Tom Taylor took a traditional path into the landscaping business. Mowing lawns in the mid-Hudson Valley of New York provided steady work, but didn’t involve a lot of creativity. But things took a fortuitous turn in 2016 when a homeowner asked him to build a paver walkway.

“It was a very simple walkway,” recalls Taylor, the owner of Hudson Valley Hardscapes. “I learned so much from building it, and I thought about how I could become more creative building them.

“Then another client asked me to build another one. I started looking into magazines and researching, and realized you can be so much more creative with these projects than just the basic materials. And I just grew it from there.”

Building on his experience, Taylor launched Hudson Valley Hardscapes in 2018. Based in Pine Bush, N.Y., he and his team focus on outdoor living design and built hardscapes.

Located 75 miles north of New York City, Hudson Valley Hardscapes builds simple entryways to backyard retreats. Taylor strives to create unique, custom outdoor living spaces and landscapes, and studies industry standards for all installations to ensure that projects are built to last.

He designs projects in 3D so customers can see what the finished hardscape will look like before construction begins. The renderings are all drawn to scale making the space feel realistic. With these drawings, Taylor can create detailed site plans, elevation maps, and material take-offs for accurate and efficient work flow.

Hudson Valley Hardscapes is also a certified installer by the industry’s leading paver and wall manufacturer,

Techo-Bloc, which requires rigorous contractor screening to make sure projects are built to current specifications. Being a Pro Contractor enables Hudson Valley Hardscapes to offer special financing to its customers through Techo-Bloc’s “Pave Now, Pay Later” financing program.

“Plants are the finishing touch to a hardscape project,” Taylor adds. “They make spaces feel softer and more natural and it’s something we always encourage in an outdoor living space.”

Mighty mini

In the summer of 2020, Taylor bought a new Cat® 301.8 Mini Excavator for digging and transporting materials.

“With the enclosed cab, we can still work in the rain,” Taylor says. “That was a big thing—I didn’t want an open- cab machine. Even if it starts to drizzle, we’re still able to keep working. And it’s the smallest machine equipped with air conditioning, which is very helpful during hot, humid summer days”

He also likes the adjustable track width, which enables him to more easily access confined spaces.

“It can fit into really tight backyards,” Taylor says. “The tracks go down to 39 inches, so it can fit into most gated backyards. The mini excavator has good reach for its size, and it’s capable of picking up quite a bit of weight. We use it to lift our 900-pound plate compactor on and off the trailers, and it picks it right up. Altogether, it’s a very impressive little machine.”

he started attracting larger hardscape projects, last year Taylor acquired a new Cat 249D3 Compact Track Loader (CTL) for transporting materials at his jobsites.

“With that machine, we’re moving material much faster,” he says. “We can bring stone in and out of backyards quickly. We can bring pavers right to where we’re working.

“The 249 is a quiet machine, and the air-ride is very comfortable for extended operation. And with the low ground pressure, we can travel over lawns. If we need to go back and forth a couple of times, it doesn’t tear anything up, which can save us a lot of time at the end of a project.”

The mini excavator and CTL enable Taylor and his crew to perform multiple tasks, while reducing the need for additional manpower.

“It has been challenging to find help, so if we can build efficiency with equipment and it’s not five guys on the ground with shovels and there’s one guy in one machine digging, we save time and money,” he says. “We are looking to bring on another full-time employee, but we’re trying to stay small and maximize our productivity with machinery and attachments—that’s a main focus of my business.”

No time for downtime

Taylor appreciates the timely support he receives from his Cat dealer, H.O. Penn.

“I have friends who operate another brand of equipment, and it can take days or even weeks for a service technician to arrive,” he says. “If an issue does arise, an H.O. Penn technician is here within hours—it’s almost immediate. We had a small leak with the excavator’s final drive motor, and I called my rep, and within 20 minutes, there was a service truck on our job, and the problem was fixed on the spot.

“Right now, we only have two machines, and there’s no time for downtime. So, service is really number one to me.”

Taylor acquired his machines through Cat Financial, which provides financing solutions and extended protection.

“When we bought the excavator, I went through the process with my H.O. Penn rep (Scott Cortright) to figure out the financing terms,” he says. “And when we got the CTL, Scott was able to drop it off on our site, and we were able to demo it before I even signed for it. The whole process went incredibly fast. He just emailed me the documents to sign and that was it. The process was very simple.”

Taylor relies on H.O. Penn for all of his equipment needs, which enables him to focus on the day-to-day aspects of

running the business and working in the field.

“If I need something, I can just shoot Scott a text and he’s on it. Within minutes, he’ll give me a call or shoot me a text back. He’s always on top of his game.

“I know that Cat machines may cost a little more than other brands, but what we’re paying for is reliable performance and high-quality parts and service support,” he adds. “I actually did look at another brand, but I wasn’t a fan of the machines. I know from experience that H.O. Penn’s services are top of the line in this area.”