With all the hectic running around from work order to work order that being a facility manager entails, it can be easy to overlook the simpler, more enjoyable aspects of your building. While maintaining your plumbing, HVAC and other essential infrastructure is crucial, neglecting the purely aesthetic aspects of your building isn't advisable.
Your facility's landscape plays just as important a role in the operation of your building as any other element. The exterior and grounds are often the first thing people see when walking past your facility. In some cases, keeping a pristine-looking garden can even add to the value of your property. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your landscape.
Know your area
Even if you have a green thumb and an extensive artistic vision for your landscape, these lofty aspirations need to be tempered with the logistics of your region of the country. Certain areas are more ideal for specific kinds of plants than others, whether it be for soil- or climate-related reasons. It's important to have an idea of what sorts of plants, trees and shrubs are indigenous to where you live. This will help ensure that whatever you plant is in its optimized environment, helping it to flourish and preventing you from having to replant as often.
Fertilizing is an important step in establishing and maintaining your facility's garden. Not only do you need to choose the best type of fertilizer for your plants, location and soil, but you also have to know the best times to lay that fertilizer down to achieve the desired results. In most regions of the country, it's advisable to fertilize at the beginning of spring during the planting season. In fact, some facility managers may even use a pre-emergent fertilizer, which prevents weeds and other pest plants from germinating and taking up valuable resources from your plants.
In general, fertilizers are distinguished by their chemical composition - each is made up of a combination of nitrogen, potash and potassium, Property Management Insider stated. These values are printed on the packaging, expressed as a ratio. The source recommended that a 3-2-1 ratio is typically sufficient for most places in the U.S. Lastly, don't make the common mistake of overfertilizing - this can be just as bad for your growing greenery as not laying down enough.
Plan your irrigation
An effective irrigation system can make or break your garden. This is why it's important to plan ahead when designing your landscape. Not only can ineffective irrigation be harmful to your plants, but it an also cost you money by wasting water. Regularly check hoses, sprinkler heads and other relevant equipment to make sure none of the hoses are cracked and none of the heads are broken. This is especially important if you have buried irrigation hoses, as the changing temperatures they're subjected to outside can put lots of stress on the material.
If you're strategic, you can even use your irrigation planning to cut down on the amount of water you need to use overall. If you start watering your plants for longer periods of time less often, Property Management Insider noted that you can actually encourage your plants to grow deeper roots. This means they'll be accustomed to receiving less water - ideal for hotter areas or parts of the country where droughts are common.
Anyone who's ever cultivated a Banzai tree knows that the frequency of pruning isn't nearly as important as its effectiveness. You may be tempted to overdo it with your hedge trimmers, but resist the urge. Too much pruning during the growing season can put undue stress on your plants, which will negatively impact their growth cycles. You should keep the majority of your pruning confined to the early spring or the late fall, when the plants are dormant and less reactive to outside stressors.