As summer nears, facilities managers are focused on maintaining beautiful outdoor spaces that enhance their customers’ experience. Yet this year, the annual “spring spruce-up” is likely to be impacted by rising costs and other global challenges. Let’s take a look at some of the key trends in grounds and landscaping.
Increasingly, sustainability must factor into the outdoor design and maintenance of commercial real estate. In California, for example, facilities must comply with the Model Water Efficient Landscaping Ordinance (MWELO), which regulates water usage in outdoor landscaping.
Experts recommend a range of best practices for incorporating sustainability into commercial landscaping. For example, you might consider:
- Choosing native plants that won’t become invasive, yet can withstand drought conditions.
- Adding strategic landscaping that can also help regulate building temperatures.
- Introducing beneficial insects that can help naturally deter pests.
Strengthening Resilience to Climate Change
With every landscaping decision, facilities managers must consider climate change resilience. You might begin by asking:
- How energy efficient is your organization’s landscaping?
- What incremental improvements could be made this year?
- Could you begin planning longer-term modifications over a five- or 10-year period?
- Are your customers likely to make decisions based on brand commitments?
- If so, is your organization on the same page as its customer base, in terms of climate change?
In addition to longer-term climate change, you must also plan for the impacts of seasonal weather patterns. Damage caused by summer storms and flooding, for example, often triggers reactive maintenance.
Unfortunately, reactive maintenance does not allow for adequate planning, and can lead to expensive repairs. Your organization may also experience costly downtime in the aftermath of unexpected events.
In today’s environment, you must make key decisions with both climate change and seasonal weather patterns in mind. Allocate a portion of your budget to reactive maintenance, while providing longer-term recommendations that sync with the values of your customers. This approach will buffer your maintenance budget from the unexpected.
Managing Supply Chain Disruptions
Are supply chain challenges delaying the delivery of preferred landscaping materials or equipment? If these global difficulties are affecting your commercial groundskeeping, you may want to recalibrate your near-term priorities. Simply put, use this time to focus on what you can more readily influence.
Start with an assessment of your existing outdoor space. Is there any overgrown shrubbery, possibly blocking signage? Are weeds creeping into curbs or parking lots? By proactively and regularly addressing these areas, you’ll help ensure a welcoming first impression of your premises.
Areas that are not commonly seen by the public tend to fall low on the maintenance priority list. Take the time now to uplift all outdoor zones, including storage spaces and employee break rooms. Relatively simple updates—such as adding colorful flowers or changing seasonal plantings—can help shape a positive and healthy work environment.
Tackling Labor Shortages
Labor shortages have impacted many groundskeeping teams across the country. The prevalence of covid continues to impact resourcing, while the general labor market remains tight.
If you’re finding it difficult to fill essential positions, consider an interim staffing solution. By leveraging a flexible talent partnership, you’ll get access to experienced workers when you need them most. Customizable or outsourced staffing solutions offer many benefits. They can help you reduce overhead, for example, while shortening the time to hire.
If you’re seeking a service provider to help support your groundskeeping efforts, look for a team with a track record in landscaping services. Make sure the company has up-to-date licenses and certifications, professional and vetted technicians, and a great attitude towards customer service.