Tag Archive for: landscape maintenance

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.

As a child I spent summer days laying on the grass or turf in the backyard, staring up at the blue sky with not a care in the world. My biggest concern would be if a half hour after lunch had yet passed so I could continue to swim “laps” in the blow-up pool.

I remember picking dandelions and blowing them to the four corners of the globe with glee, rolling races down hills of grass, and grass-stained knees and elbows – and the itch from it – all the memories of a time as a kid who grow up playing on grass.

The Fallacy of Turf:


As an adult and landscape professional, my knowledge of turf expanded significantly. In the past, Marathon sod dominated and fescue lawns prevailed. The allure of an immaculate green lawn was tempting, especially for those from lawn-centric regions like California.

During a recent trip to the East Coast, I explored historic mansions with vast lawns. Acres of green stretched before me, evoking images of owners enjoying croquet and picnics while children played nearby under a watchful nanny’s gaze.

Per usual, I was taking photos to keep my designing mind – and the business it shepards – remaining fresh and new. I thought to myself, this lawn, this huge expanse of seemingly perfect green perfection, this is what people are trying to attain! This is the goal! This is what people who want a lawn envision when they look out their living room window. My thoughts turned to the care of such a large swath of green.


I wanted to learn more. Getting closer to the turf, imperfections emerged. Uneven green swaths, bare spots, and water-logged areas appeared. Despite 60 gardeners tending to the property, the grass resembled the lawn of my childhood.

Weeds thrived, including spurge, clover, and dandelions, coexisting with unknown seeded grass. Crabgrass, zoysia, and nut grass infiltrated too. Together, they formed a visually pleasing carpet from afar. However, up close, it revealed a chaotic sight.