Good landscape maintenance requires qualified personnel, but it also depends on knowledgeable
If the work of land-scape maintenance companies is not monitored by owners, property
managers, or their agents, complaints from tenants and customers are likely to drive
the scope of maintenance work. Usually, issues will arise after a problem has become
difficult to correct. Actively collaborating with the landscape maintenance supervisors
can keep plants healthy and save money.
Pointless and amateurish pruning is commonplace. Knowing what a plant species should
look like as it matures is a major tool to prevent unskilled laborers from turning
every plant into a variation on a cube or a ball.
Links to photos and descriptions of trees and other plants are available, listed
by the botanic names of the plants on your site (found on the Planting Plan Legend).
Attentive mainte-nance is critical in the first year after planting. If irrigation
is adjusted, weeds are controlled, and the plants are allow-ed to establish and spread,
future main-tenance will be greatly reduced and the plants can thrive. Every 3-5
years, tree pruning by a certified arborist will help prevent problems and insure
Fertilization regularly occurs in turf areas, but tends to be very sporadic elsewhere.
Nitrogen, which is a primary plant nutrient, must be replenished frequently using
good compost or fertilizers. Failure to do so results in yellowed, stunted plants
that will be unable to compete with weeds. Annual soil testing insures proper fertilization
and simplifies monitoring of the applications.
The most common irrigation problem is over-watering. Drought tolerant plants and
many other species are more likely to be damaged by too much water than by too little.
If soil regularly appears mushy, it is likely that the irrigation system is being
In some situations, most of the water applied to a planter may be running off. If
you frequently see water draining from planters, request multiple short applications,
with about an hour in between to allow the irrigation water to soak into the soil.
Three start times of 3 minutes can apply more useable water than one 12 minute application.
The normal process of landscape development decreases the involvement of the landscape
architect over time. Maintenance personnel ultimately have the most influence on
whether a project is an asset or an eyesore.
The Landscape Architect is committed to improving long-term maintenance by assisting
property owners or managers who would like his help. A maintenance observation walk,
including the landscape architect, the maintenance contractor and the owner’s representative
can improve maintenance practices significantly.
Projects designed by this office are subject to a 50% hourly rate reduction (from
$100/hour to $50/hour) for maintenance observation walks (including travel time and
excluding letters or drawings).