As 2018 begins, retailers need to get in tune with the seasonal trends. While every location is unique, we can all agree that landscaping is beneficial for business and costly at the same time. To kick-start the year, here are a few trends in the facility maintenance industry, and the methods of obtaining them.
3 ½ Trends That Are Laying the Groundwork for Landscaping in 2018
1. Saving with a Smart Irrigation System
Rather than using a sprinkler program with pre-set watering days, a smart irrigation system analyzes the soil type and absorption rate to irrigate accordingly. By adopting new processes, companies get one-step closer to irrigating efficiently. However, installing a smart controller isn't enough to reach desired savings. Companies have to alter the way they distribute water to their lawn as well.
- Monitor Irrigation and Change it: We all have seen the wasteful sprinklers with coverage that extends to the walkways and parking lots. When irrigation systems waste water, budgets go down the drain with it. Irrigation audits can identify problem areas of sprinkler systems, and investigating a sprinkler’s arc, working pressure and gallons per minute can validate the need for a change. For example, combining a smart controller with a rotary nozzle that emits dense streams of water, or a drip irrigation system that delivers water slowly and directly to the soil could save a company 40 percent of water by confining the sprinkler’s coverage and eliminating waste.
- Compare Controller Features: With smart controllers, there are options of weather-based controllers and soil moisture sensor-based controllers. While weather-based controllers gather local weather data and measure the amount of water lost from evaporation and transpiration, soil moisture sensor-based controllers measure the moisture level of the soil. It is important to choose the best controller based on the geographic location, soil type and plants in the landscape to get the best results. For example, a retail location in Florida that has soil with a sand texture will need a different controller than a location in Louisiana that has soil with a clay texture.
2. Adopting the Best Practices of Xeriscape
Xeriscape has grown in popularity due to the minimal maintenance and irrigation it requires. Locations with dry climates like Nevada and Arizona have high irrigation requirements due to the extreme heat and frequent evaporation. Instead of the continual fertilization and landscaping services to keep grass healthy, considering the benefits of xeriscaping might be worth it.
- Reduce Yearly Maintenance with Turf and Lawn: In serious cases, xeriscape can decrease water usage by 70 percent. The replacement of grass with stones and mulch is one of the reasons why xeriscaping is so effective in reducing water consumption and tightening up budgets for businesses. However, xeriscaping tends to be more effective for locations that require a lot of maintenance and irrigation. It would be productive for property managers to seek out data that illustrates the maintenance each location receives per season. This data can help decide which locations would profit from the change.
- Eliminate Costs and Grow Native Plants: Unbeknownst to most, traditional landscapes with perennials, shrubs and grass need constant maintenance to keep a lush appearance due to their shallow roots. However, it is the native plants with deep roots that need little irrigation and fertilization. While companies lay out the blueprints for greenery, soil type should play a big part. Soil with a low infiltration rate, meaning it does not absorb water and creates runoff, can be difficult to support plants that are not indigenous to that area. Choosing unnatural options for cosmetic purposes will always result in more maintenance and expenses.
3. Preventing and Protecting
When it comes to caring for greenery, it takes more than an irrigation system. Being proactive at locations can eliminate increased maintenance when transitioning into new seasons. By recognizing the spike in upkeep and costs after the winter season, companies can understand the benefits of preventive maintenance. Viewing landscaping as a full-time job leads to consistent and realistic budgets.
- Keeping Plants Insulated and Budgets Protected: Mulch is a hero of the landscaping arena. It is appealing to the eye and easy on the budget. However, it is important to know that mulch serves a much higher purpose as an insulator. Throughout the year, covered roots receive protection from freezing in the winter and drying in the summer. In between time, mulch regulates microclimates that occur with abnormal shade, sunlight, soil type and more. Insulating plants should be just as important to businesses as the insulation in their locations.
- Turn off Irrigation and Face Budget Irritation: Property managers can be unaware that plants need moisture in the cold. By making the mistake of turning a location’s irrigation system off too early, companies risk their plants and next year’s landscaping budget. Plants are like pipes, in order to avoid freezing, there needs to be a little water running. Instead of immediately turning the irrigation system off, companies can steadily decrease application rate and working pressure as temperatures drop.
- Save Money by Staking and Wrapping Trees: Stop trees from splitting, falling over and uprooting during the off-season by taking proper precautions. By wrapping a tree’s smooth bark with plastic, it prevents the sun from burning a crack into the bark. Supporting smaller trees with stakes can prevent the tree from uprooting or snapping in high-winds. Simply taking a few days of preparation can save down the line. The cost of protecting a tree is conveniently lower than replacing a tree.
3 1/2. No One or Nothing Benefited From Hedging—Ever
Perfect hedges are no longer popular for retailer scenery. However, a natural design that allows plants to bloom to their full potential has become more acceptable. Companies that want a healthy, visually appealing and cost-effective landscape should avoid hedging at all costs. Property managers can calculate their savings by eliminating hedging from their budget.
If you want your company’s facility maintenance program to benefit from landscaping trends, or you are looking for new ways to manage multiple retail, residential or restaurant locations, subscribe to our blog and look out for our upcoming landscaping webinar in February!