LANDSCAPING: DESIGNING FOR MAINTENANCE

There exists a no more rewarding and aesthetically pleasing sight than that of a well designed landscape. However, executing a design and maintain the grounds can become the bane of the grounds manager’s existence. The key ingredient to a successful landscaped site is forethought and planning. Realistic, detailed strategies can smooth the way to an arranged landscape from conception to a fully realized scene of nature.

Plan
A landscape grounds manager should be involved with a landscaping project from day one. A manager can bring experience, advice, and a perspective to this type of project that can be ignored or overlooked by designers. Consulting a grounds manager can be viewed as seeking the input of an expert. Despite differing ideas, all involved in the planning and design phase have a common agenda: to create a successful landscape.

A manager can offer advice on:

  • Plants that thrive in the location and weather conditions
  • Refuse and recycling coordination
  • Access for snow removal vehicles and tools
  • The location of plantings of flowers, bushes, and trees
  • Optimal irrigation options that will benefit rather than harm plantlife
  • Cost-cutting measures that will keep the project within budget without cutting corners

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Construct
Managers should take a central role in the construction phase of the project as well. This can result in optimum use of space and land for the appropriate planting of trees, shrubs, flowers, and grass that can be successfully and reasonably maintained on the site. A manager can offer assistance in choosing the number and exact location for the installation of plant life that will make the grounds easier and cheaper to maintain while staying true to the landscaped design.

The construction phase is also the perfect time to delegate responsibilities to individuals that will work the grounds such as a person tasked with the irrigation of the grounds. Managers who take an active, vocal interest in the construction of the grounds can save themselves and their staffs extra work and damage control in the future.

Plant
The final and most haphazard stage, is the planting phase. At this point, the design crew is more concerned with finishing the project than making sure planting is done properly. This is when the grounds manager plays the most important role. The manager should closely monitor and implement the following decisions:

  • The appropriate amnount and use of topsoil
  • The choice of plants should any original choices be unattainable
  • The levelling of the ground before sod is installed
  • Certify the use of high quality materials for irrigation
  • Ensure that irrigation pipes are properly installed
  • Confirm that all trees are planted at an acceptable depth

Maintain
Before a grounds manager signs off on the project to begin regular maintenance of the site be sure to:

  • Inspect the brounds thoroughly for dead plants or trees
  • Test the irrigation system by running it through a complete cycle
  • Request a copy of the punch list and follow it
  • Address any problems with the contractors quickly

The involvement of a grounds manager from beginning to end should keep issues to a minimum.

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