Let's face it. We have all been in buildings with unkempt exteriors and ones that have splotchy piles of mulch with mismatched flowers as their welcoming greeting. Most of us pass some kind of judgment on these properties - and it's NOT flattering. Fortunately, most property owners want their building to leave a memorable impression that resonates, even subliminally, with visitors. The challenge with that is how to know if you are budgeting enough to properly care for and maintain your landscape. How can you make sure you are being smart and getting the most value out of the partnership with your landscape contractor?
Here are a few tips.
- Make sure you are budgeting enough for standard maintenance. Class A buildings, which are high profile, visible places, need regular, in most cases weekly, landscape maintenance. Every property is different and it is very hard to generalize, but a Class A building might have a yearly landscape maintenance budget of $10,000 - $30,000 (or more). Make sure you are budgeting enough based on the size and special conditions of your property. Class C buildings, like warehouses, generally require a smaller budget as they do not welcome a high volume of visitors. Regardless of the property type, however, your landscape should always present a professional appearance.
- Budget for annual improvements. Your maintenance contract is the backbone of your landscape budget, but you also need to budget for things that may not be included in your regular contract such as liming, plant replacement, etc. Many businesses budget 20%-30% on top of their maintenance contract for annual improvements.
- Plan for the long term. An average life cycle of your landscape plants and trees is approximately 10 years, factoring in disease, storm damage and other factors. Work with your landscape contractor to plan for replacing plants. They will give you an idea of the timeline and costs.
- Think strategically. It is easy to be focused on cutting costs and reducing the budget. It is wise to think about investing in your property and developing a long term plan. That is usually more cost effective than short term one-off fixes like replacing a tree here and there.
- Involve your landscape contractor in the budget process. Things like weather and labor and material costs affect landscape costs. It is beneficial to involye your landscape contractor in the budget process so you have all the information you need to make informed decisions. They can alert you to things you haven’t considered.
When you work with a good landscape contractor, they will be a partner, with the best interests of your property at heart. They can offer cost saving solutions that will help your property in the long run.