Your construction project is complete, your business is up and running and your building is beautifully landscaped. Most likely you were required to invest thousands of dollars in landscaping and maintaining it is probably the last thing on your mind. You’re focused on your business and utilizing your new and/or improved building, however, the City, Township or County may be more focused on how your building and landscaping represents their community.
As part of your building and project approval, you likely had to prepare a Landscape Plan in addition to your building construction plans, interior layout plans, interior selections, etc. That plan typically includes different species of trees and shrubs, just like desks, chairs, and computers on an interior finish plan. Investing in your building is more than just the bricks and mortar and the desk and computers that you use each day. Landscaping is required by the City, Township or County and typically requires at least a one-year warranty. Warranties are required to make sure that the landscaping is kept alive and in good condition.
Typically after one year (or longer), the warranty period is up, the planner or zoning administrator responsible for the site plan will conduct a site visit. During that site visit, they will evaluate the condition of the trees and shrubs. If the trees or shrubs are dead, dying or diseased (depending on the jurisdiction’s ordinance language) you may be required to replace them. If mulch is not at the required depth (usually 3-4”) additional mulch may be required. Replacement of required trees and shrubs can cost thousands of dollars if they die.
Just like building maintenance, landscaping and exterior maintenance is equally as important in protecting all that you have invested. Although you are not in the business of landscaping or landscaping maintenance it is just as important as building maintenance to avoid having to spend limited budgets on non-revenue generating expenses. Here are a few steps that you can follow to ensure the longevity of your landscaping:
How to Protect Your Landscaping Investment
- MULCH – Mulch provides insulation and protects the soil from hot and cold temperatures. Mulch also prevents weeds from growing, which allows for healthy root growth. Mulch retains water and keeps the soil moist. It is recommended to have 3 to 4″ of mulch.
- WATER or IRRIGATE – Having an irrigation system is ideal. This way you can regulate watering and not let it interrupt your workday. If you do not have an irrigation system, you newly planted trees and shrubs should be watered daily for the first 2 weeks and every few days thereafter. Here is a great chart for reference.
- WEED – Remove weeds when they appear. Not only are they an eyesore, but they can rob your soil and plants of water and important nutrients.
- TRIM – Pruning trees and shrubs produce growth. Trimming limbs allows sunlight and airflow. Removing dead and damaged branches will prevent insects and organisms from entering.
Trees and plants are a costly investment. Even with small renovations and additions, most townships and cities require you to comply with their landscaping ordinance. To protect your investment, it is important to consider location, species, soils and long-term maintenance when working with your design team to make sure that you can properly maintain and care for the landscaping. Without proper long-term landscaping maintenance, you may end up having to spend large amounts of money replacing plant material.