Clients Designers Contractors Property Managers

Garth Ruffner Landscape Architect


Good landscape maintenance requires qualified personnel, but it also depends on knowledgeable oversight.

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.


Landscaping for Senior Apartments in Sacramento
Maintenance at Granite Bay Pavilions in Roseville

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).

Granite Bay Pavilions

Planting Design at Vista Park in Sacramento, California

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 healthy growth.



New Planting at Mather Commerce Center in Rancho Cordova

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.



Planting Design at Laguna Professional Center in Elk Grove

Laguna Professional Center

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 run excessively.


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.  

Landscaping at Five Hundred Capitol Mall in Sacramento

500 Capitol Mall

Landscaping at Sterling Point Center in Lincoln, CA

Sterling Point

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).



Mather Commerce Center

Vista Park

Monitoring Landscape Maintenance

River’s Edge II

Increase your website traffic with