Integrity. Professionalism. Fiscal stability. Operating efficiencies. Ethical standards. These concepts are key traits of all top commercial real estate management companies. Not surprisingly, they describe top commercial landscape maintenance companies, as well.
As a commercial property manager or owner, you want to find a commercial landscape maintenance company who will partner with you in reaching your long- and short-term goals. With your daily priorities of meeting the needs and demands of tenants, establishing property security and controlling budgets, time management is critical. Therefore, it will make your job easier to work with a provider who honors your time. Finally, every property is unique, and so you want to work with a landscape service company who will maintain your property so that its strengths are maximized and, just as important, its weaknesses minimized.
Components of a Commercial Landscape Maintenance Program
First, the benefits. A quality maintenance program provides these four advantages:
Presents a positive image to your customers or tenants and their customers
Protects your investment
Extends and retains tenants by maintaining beautiful grounds
Helps conserve and enhance property value
The basic components of a commercial landscape maintenance program involve:
Landscape design services and installation-
1. Design and installation. In the landscape design phase, a landscape service provider will work with you on the program elements, permitting issues, design approach-including your likes and dislikes-and aesthetics. The next phase may include landscape layout, planting plans and cost studies. In providing landscape services, a true professional should work diligently and patiently to help you define the scope of your project, determine the scheduling, coordinate vendors, assist in the selection of materials, and develop a final budget.
2. Landscape lighting. A well-designed landscape lighting system gives a commercial property 24/7 visibility. Since lighting is a big deterrent of crime, one of the most important services that it delivers is safety, thereby providing an invaluable service to establishments that conduct business at night, such as hotels, country clubs, social clubs, colleges, schools, museums, and restaurants. Ultimately, though, the main propose of landscape lighting is to create a beautiful nighttime vista of the landscape.
3. Irrigation systems. Money savings and convenience are the two main descriptors of an irrigation system. It supplies the appropriate amount of water to the appropriate plant material. It separates the lawn, beds and color areas into different zones that require different watering conditions due to the various plant types and sunlight conditions. Finally, it utilizes controller box technologies, such as timers, time delays and rain sensors, that let you set an automatic schedule based on your landscape needs while, at the same time, allowing you to switch to manual for unplanned events.
4. Drainage systems. With Houston’s heavy soils, low-lying areas and torrential rains, a proper landscape drainage system is essential for three reasons: a) to protect your property from flooding b) to protect the foundation of the building(s) from cracking and uneven shrinkage or swelling c) to properly drain roofs and landscaped areas to avoid standing water that can cause slippery surfaces, breeding grounds for mosquitoes or drowned landscaping. A landscape drainage system should be viewed as a whole to ensure that its appropriate functions and fixtures work together properly.
1. Turf maintenance. One of the most basic features of a commercial landscape maintenance program, turf maintenance is more than just cutting the grass. It is edging, feeding and treating-all activities that promote healthy growth. And it is meticulous clean-up so that your tenants can quickly return to enjoying the grounds once the crew leaves.
2. Trimming hedges and ground covers. As part of a thorough commercial landscape maintenance program, hedges, shrubs and bushes should be trimmed regularly to the desired contours. Ground cover and vines should be edged to maintain a neat appearance. The intention is to ensure that all elements conform to the overall plan of the landscape design.
3. Tree care. A top-notch commercial landscape maintenance company will attend to trees, which are valuable assets. Houston summers can be very stressful for trees, so deep-root fertilization is important because it promotes healthy trees. Aeration also encourages root growth. Trees should be inspected regularly for any insect infestations. Insects, such as pine bark beetles and boring insects, can be tree killers, sometimes striking very quickly, especially when Houston’s weather turns hot or if trees are suffering due to construction duress.
4. Fertilizations. Critical to plant health, regular fertilization is a form of insurance for your plants. Commercial landscape maintenance providers should have a methodical feeding program that insures the health of tropical, acidic and seasonal color plants. The feeding program may also include spring and fall aeration of lawn areas with the application of fall rye grass.
5. Herbicide and insecticide treatments. These programs are also critical to plant health. Continual observation and diagnosis of plant pests and diseases are the last part of a complete and proactive commercial landscape maintenance program.
1. Seasonal plantings are an important part of presenting a positive image for any commercial property. You will want to work with a commercial landscape maintenance company whose extensive knowledge of plant material, color, and texture creates eye-catching designs.
Preventive maintenance can be your best defense against potential landscape and property damage-or something going wrong just when you need it to go right. In the long run, preventive maintenance saves money.
As a precaution, a professional commercial landscape maintenance company will make periodic surveys of your property to ensure that everything is in good order. Items on the checklist include:
Tree inspection. Watch for branches touching the building or overhead wires. Dead limbs need to be trimmed to promote vigorous growth. Trees should be regularly checked for disease, decay or wounds and swift action taken as needed.
Irrigation inspection. It is critical to have irrigation systems working smoothly as proper maintenance minimizes large amounts water pouring out of broken lines and heads. Jeff Halper with Exterior Worlds says, “This service is so important for commercial properties. For some of our clients, it has meant savings of as much as $5,000 to $10,000 per month.”