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As a Property Manager or board member of an HOA, do you ever catch yourself wondering if the maintenance crew is really using the best practices in maintaining the landscape? Effective landscape maintenance must consider plant health first and foremost. Longevity in your community’s landscape requires a multi-prong approach, including specific pruning methods, well-planned irrigation systems, and consistent soil amendment applications. Unfortunately, these important practices often get overlooked in so many communities.

The Pruning Paradox

Ever watch a maintenance worker sculpt shrubs into odd geometric shapes that mother nature never intended? Yeah, me too. Although seemingly orderly, this practice strays significantly from a successful landscape management. It might be visually appealing, but this ‘Edward Scissorhands’ style of pruning, while fascinating, causes damage over time. This leads to jagged cuts that mutilate the plants, resulting in unnecessary stress over the lifetime of the plant, and making it more prone to diseases and pests.

photo of boxed shrubs along a sidewalk, an example of improper landscape maintenance.

Botched shrubs, improper landscape maintenance

The Leaf Blower Misconception

The dreaded leaf blower, a tool often misused by landscapers and middle-aged fathers alike. Routinely they are directed to blow every loose bit of plant material and leaf litter out from below the shrubbery, then they bag it and haul it to the dump. However, next time you witness this, let your landscape company know that leaving a bit of litter in place to act as natural mulch would be far more beneficial. This approach not only discourages water evaporation, but also enriches soil health and provides a conducive environment for beneficial insects to thrive. Just remember, mother nature has been doing fine without us for millions of years.

Irrigation: A Crucial Element

Irrigation is an indispensable facet of optimal plant health maintenance. Alas, the subtleties between different sprinkler systems frequently go overlooked. Each watering station should be managed individually, taking into account the plant type, age of the plant material, and the specific irrigation needs of the area. Understanding the different watering requirements of various plants is a critical component of effective landscape maintenance.

A landscaper adjusting the length of an irrigation hose with clippers, seated amidst vibrant garden foliage

Mastering garden tech: shaping the future of irrigation

Overcoming The Neglected Schedules Hurdle

Furthermore, a widespread issue many HOAs face is the disregard of regular schedules for fertilization and treatment applications. To circumvent this problem, it’s essential to demand monthly reports from the landscape crew leader or a landscape company representative. Staying on top of these schedules is vital, as most of these procedures are time-sensitive.

Photo of a Gardner dispensing fertilizer via hand. Another great example of effective landscape maintenance.

Gardner Cultivating Growth with Fertilizer.

When to Seek Professional Help

Lastly, if the responsibility of managing these aspects of effective landscape maintenance feels overwhelming, please consider a qualified landscape consultant. With our assistance, you can efficiently oversee maintenance practices, aid with RFP processes, and coordinate the efforts of multiple landscaping vendors, ensuring that your landscape remains vibrant and healthy.

We’ve all been home for a while now, staring out our windows at what surrounds us. If you’re like most people, your view may be less than impressive. Or at least in need of “sprucing” up. Several people have asked me, “Where do I begin?” Well, here we go, Landscape Design 101!

Best Landscape Design 101:

You need a plan. The best landscape designs are carefully planned and have a cohesive style throughout. Before you start digging, however, you need to do some thinking. What exactly you need to consider are layed out below.

Location, Location, Location

The conditions around your home should be considered first. This means both the climate where you live, along with the affect of external influences, such as large buildings or trees that cast shade. This phenomenon, called a microclimate, can be varied throughout your property. Finally, your proximity to some things, like the ocean or mountains for example, have a big effect on both plants and hardscape.

What’s it For? 

Next, the desired use of the space should be considered. You might need a play area, a place to entertain, or just a quiet spot to sit and reflect. Make sure to account for all seasons and possible changes of household members, like new baby arrivals or teens soon to leave for college.

Who’s Going to Take Care of it?

It is important to know the time and effort you’re willing to expend, or to pay someone else to do it. If your schedule and finances are limited, you might consider a low-maintenance landscape. If you are retired and have a green thumb, the opposite may be true!

Tried and True Styles

There are no rules to designing an outdoor space, but it helps to decide on a style that would best fit your home and lifestyle. There are numerous traditional garden styles which you can model your own after. Or you can choose elements from several to create your own design. This article discusses some common garden types that may work for you.

A landscape design that is well-planned will encourage you to spend a lot more time in your yard. And if you have a yard you enjoy on a regular basis, it’s like gaining a room in your home! So if you’re a DIY’er and can spend some time working on your plan, you can have a beautiful, functional space to enjoy for years.