New Season Preparation
A Guide to Landscape Rejuvenation and Functional Appeal
The winter’s snowfall is slowly melting away and your commercial exterior is beginning to expose the effects that Old Man Winter can have on your exterior assets. The trees may be damaged, plant material may be dead and your hard surfaces are no doubt in need of inspection and likely repair.The good news is that with proper planning and a little diligence, you can reclaim you exterior assets with a well-prepared and well-executed plan for spring rejuvenation. The onset of spring and summer is still weeks away and there is time for you, the facility manager, to act and achieve an aesthetic and functional exterior that will not only attract your customer but keep them coming back as well. A high percentage of customers note that exterior appeal is often a determining factor in their choice of businesses to patronize and will also affect their decision to be a repeat customer. Insuring that perception is achieved is of utmost importance to the company, as well as those responsible for facilities.
Green is Not Enough
As mentioned above, an appealing landscape is a crucial factor in determining a company “brand”. Not only should a landscape be aesthetic, but also functional and safety-oriented. The first analysis a facility manager must make is an assessment of the grounds to identify and correct eyesores and potential hazards.
- Inspect all trees on site checking for dead or diseased limbs, which can pose a serious liability to your patrons.
- The most frequent form of winter damage is broken limbs, branches, and root systems killed by severe temperatures.
- Inspect all turf areas for any potential frost heaving or soil splits from winter freezes. Not only can these areas be unsightly, but they may present a trip hazard to pedestrians and customers.
- Note the amount of leaf litter and deadfall that may have accumulated after the completion of the previous autumn’s clean ups.
- Visually inspect all curb lines and corners to check for rutting from delivery trucks and probable damage to irrigation lines and heads.
- Is your organic mulch showing signs of weathering and indicating depletion due to rainfalls or pedestrian traffic? If so, it’s time to measure the depth of your remaining mulch and if not satisfactory, schedule a mulch replenishment with your exterior services firm.
- Ensure that you are aware of average temperatures and monitoring your turf. The use of a pre-emergent herbicide can be critical in achieving weed-free vigorous turf and must be applied prior to temperatures achieving a steady 60 degrees plus.
- Ornamental shrubs should also be fertilized now to insure maximum bloom and vigor from your landscape’s bed and ornamental areas.
- Place your order now for any seasonal plantings you incorporate to insure availability and top-notch selection.
The items highlighted above are just a few of the important facets a facility manager must consider when preparing the exterior landscape for the new year and even more new customers. Nowadays, a growing majority of companies are utilizing an ESM, or Exterior Services Management company to insure an attention-grabbing and safe exterior while enjoying the double benefit of freeing up a facility manager’s time to concentrate on other core duties. From spec development to site assessment and implementation, a professional ESM firm can insure you start the new season on the right foot to attract your customer’s eye.
Black is Not Enough….The Understated Impact of Hard Surfaces
One of the most unappealing and dissatisfying experiences a customer can encounter is to drive through your parking lot and feel their tires plunging into potholes or the sound of gravel spray clattering against their fenders. Winter can often have a very detrimental effect on asphalt and concrete hard surfaces. Here are a few more items to inspect as part of your spring start-up:
- If you have facilities in the Snow Belt, the first order of business is to check for plow damage. Two important steps to plow damage monitoring are a before-season inspection and an after-season inspection, using a digital camera to record your findings.
- Typical plow damage will include broken curb lines and gouged asphalt surfaces. It is also wise to check the corners of structures for truck or plow impacts.
- Asphalt parking lots will inevitably suffer from pitting, pothole development and cracking over winter periods. Cold patch may be sufficient for a quick fix but proper cut out, hot application and roll are the best long-term solution. Cracks can be addressed through the use of hot rubber sealants.
- If your parking lot is really starting to show its age, it may require roto-milling and an overlay. If its overall condition is fair, a simple sealcoat and striping will suffice.
- Is all your public address lettering and ADA usage in good repair? Inspect your fire lanes, handicap spaces, arrows, and ADA accesses whether concrete or asphalt to insure that they are in acceptable condition.
All of these hard surface items and others are crucial to insuring a pleasant experience for your customers when visiting your establishment. A customer may remember a good price or a smiling clerk, but they will never forget a flat tire, broken axle or damaged paint job from your parking areas. Most professional ESM companies provide specialized and custom-tailored programs to meet your hard surface needs and can be readily relied upon to meet those needs in a timely and thorough fashion. Additionally, their expertise will likely provide insight not yet gained or applied by your facilities department.
An ESM Company Keeps the Green Coming and Helps You Stay in the Black
As the spring season approaches, the site level and regional level facilities team has much to consider. You can spend a considerable amount of time contemplating your exteriors or you can focus on interior sales and appeal and entrust your exteriors to a tried and tested professional ESM company. Green, black, or otherwise, the benefits may astound you!