Marty Hartmann knows how to survive in a tough economy.

As the owner of Northern Lights Landscaping in New Milford, he has learned to adapt his business to changes in the industry during the past two decades.

Mr. Hartmann, who has worked in the landscaping business since he was in high school, established Northern Lights Landscaping when he was just 19.

"Business has fluctuated," Mr. Hartmann said. "In the early '90s we were engaged in 90 percent landscape construction. Now we do four-season property maintenance."

Property maintenance includes spring and fall clean-ups, mulching, mowing, planting and pruning in the summer, and snow plowing and ice control in the winter.

Mr. Hartman said that over the years the landscaping business has blossomed because busy two-income families have tended to hire professionals to do yard maintenance.

While Mr. Hartmann's company does provide residential landscaping services, most of his business comes from commercial property maintenance.

Northern Lights has just completed its annual spring cleanup for Yale New Haven Hospital and provides regular property maintenance services to area business like Ability Beyond Disability and Air Gas East.

His business also extends far beyond the local area.

"We've been traveling from the Hudson River to Hartford, down to the shore. We take pride in our work and go where people want quality work," said Mr. Hartmann, who lives in New Milford with his wife, Julie, and sons, Andrew and Jack.

In addition to property maintenance, Northern Lights does landscape construction, which includes building patios, walkways and walls, as well as excavation work, such as clearing, grading, drainage, septic systems and underground tank removal.

For the last several years, Northern Lights Landscaping has diversified and now rents roll-off containers used for household, landscape and construction debris.

Operating under Advanced Roll-Off, Mr. Hartmann provides weekly rentals of 10, 12, 15 and 20-yard dumpsters.

"This is now a large part of our business," said Mr. Hartmann. "We offer dumpsters at affordable prices."

He noted he has a website for this service at www.advancedroll-off.com.

These days, landscaping is a competitive business, and Mr. Hartmann makes an effort to keep on top of the latest developments to find ways to be the most cost effective.

Northern Lights is actively involved in several local and national associations, and Mr. Hartmann spends time networking and attending meetings on a regular basis.

Mr. Hartmann said he sees the big picture when it comes to property maintenance, and he strives to accomplish all aspects of landscaping -- taking a raw piece of property from clearing to grading, septic, installation of new lawn, patios, and walks, and then planting and maintaining the property for years to come.

"We are able to accomplish all aspects of landscaping, with no job too big or small," Mr. Hartmann said.

For more information about Northern Lights Landscaping, visit www.ct-landscaping.com or www.advancedroll-off.com, or call 203-740-7050.