Planning Improves the Value of Landscape Care
How often have you heard yourself or someone else talk about how they’re always “putting out fires”?
Many of these “fires” are caused by not being able to get far enough ahead of ourselves to plan properly. Planning grounds and landscape care is too often left until the last possible date before services need to begin. There are many good reasons to take the time to think through your needs for next season well in advance and arrange for getting the work done. The further in advance these types of decisions are made, the smoother and more cost-effective your overall program can be. Take a close look at what services you received during the last several seasons, at their effectiveness and their cost in evaluating future needs. Bear in mind that your landscape will be another year older too. As your plantings mature, their maintenance needs change. Your program of care should not remain static, but rather attempt to reflect the current requirements of your property. Equipment, material and labor considerations will also have an impact on your program and its cost. All these areas require and
deserve your careful consideration.
DETERMINING CHANGES IN PROPERTY NEEDS IS AN IMPORTANT FIRST STEP
Before proposing or purchasing grounds care services, look at any ways in which the needs of your
property are likely to change during the coming year. Here are several questions you may want to
answer before making final decisions:
- Is there any new construction anticipated or scheduled for the coming year? Does the construction project have a landscaping budget?
- Has the purpose or use of your property changed in ways that will affect your grounds care needs? Will there be more foot or vehicle traffic requiring special attention? More visitors for whom the appearance of the landscape should be especially attractive? Are there any events
scheduled (grand opening, open house, special meetings, etc.) that may call for more floral displays, special treatments or additional mowing, trimming or clean-up
- If yours is an older landscape, do you have a systematic plan for rejuvenating a section or area of the property each year?
- Were there particular problems which developed during this season which should be corrected during the year ahead?
• irrigation systems
• drainage problems
• unusual turf loss requiring reseeding or sodding
• a significant change in the use of a neighboring property
- If you’ve experienced recurring plant loss due to winter weather, plant age or other reasons, the causes should be isolated and corrected if possible, and an allowance for plant replacement should be included in the budget.
- Look at the “special” services that were necessary over the past few years. Include these in your proposal which will optimize your scheduling and avoid delays in completing the needed work.
DETERMINE WHAT IS NEEDED AND WHEN
Appropriate care of your property involves many decisions about materials, labor, equipment and timing. It’s in everyone’s best interest to settle these issues as far in advance as possible. Below is a partial listing of the tasks to consider in planning your maintenance program for the coming season.
What frequency should be planned for the mowing schedule? Should clippings be collected on all areas of the property or only on some? Should concrete walks and drives be edged? If so, how often? Where does weed eating need to be done? Do walks and drives need to be cleared of clippings by blowing them off after each mowing?
Bed & Ornamental Maintenance
When should clean-up and edging of beds take place? What type of mulch should be used and how much should be applied? How often will
ornamentals need to be pruned and shaped? Will weed control be done with spot chemical treatments, by hand or both?
When will fertilizers and weed controls be applied to your lawn? Is any unusual scheduling necessary? Will special insect or disease applications need to be made to your turf? What disease and insect applications will be needed for your trees and shrubs? Does deep-root feeding need to be scheduled? Should a winter application of ant desiccant be planned?
- Work needed on an irrigation system
- New landscape installations or replacements
- Seasonal floral displays
- Chemical trimming of foundations or fences
- Turf renovation (seeding or sod)
- Traffic control and screening projects
- Aquatic weed and algae control
- Growth retardants for hard-to-maintain areas
Maintaining your property in top form while delivering the best possible value is a complex process requiring careful planning and ongoing
cooperation. Working with a landscape professional to prepare a comprehensive plan of care in advance will improve the quality of your program and minimize unforeseen and unwelcome surprises throughout the season.