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First of the Year Landscaping Tips

Looking for ways to keep your commercial property’s clients and employees happy? Don’t underestimate the power of an attractive and well maintained landscape.

You don’t need to spend lot to create green spaces that will entice employees to go outside, relax, and explore your property’s grounds. Here are some tips that can ensure an effective commercial landscape design:

 

Start with a plan

It’s important that you know about the micro environment of your property, when considering where to invest in your landscape. Be sure to take note of areas that receive ample sunlight, areas of shade and even how the wind blows across your location. This will help you decide what to plant where and can even help decide where outdoor dining and break areas should be located. Plan for all seasons to maximize enjoyment of the space.

Enlist the help of a professional commercial landscape firm to develop a plan for your outdoor spaces. Pros can tell you what plant materials will look good in the space, and they also have a sound knowledge of the different kinds of plants that will work, the right trees for the right spots, and the most convenient systems for irrigation.

 

Make sure the landscape design harmonizes with the architecture of the building

Having a landscape design that goes with the building architecture is extremely important to an effective commercial landscape design. Keep in mind that the landscape is usually intended to enhance the aesthetic of the architecture, not than dominate it.

Also, consider developing a theme for the landscape, or adding some signature elements. It can help your clients characterize all your locations, just by their visual appearance.

 

Make sure the entrance is inviting

Any carefully planned commercial landscape design should start with a welcoming entrance. A captivating entry can be achieved by plantings such as colorful flowers, blooming perennials, bright grasses, and even incorporate hardscape elements around existing signage.

Incorporating some of these ideas in your main entry will add value and please employees and guests visiting your commercial property.

 

Think including about a focal point

Strengthen the visual appeal of your property by including a focal point, such as a water feature or a professionally designed annual flower bed. A strong focal point on the outside of the building draws more interest to the location, creating opportunities to showcase other features of the property.

 

Make sure it makes the right impression on clients

First impressions are important. An organized and tidy landscape means that your potential client will notice the landscape as a sign of a well managed building, giving them greater confidence in the products or services your clients are providing.  

 

Avoid overplanting

Make sure you consider what the plantings in your landscape plan will look like as they mature. We often see commercial landscape plantings that have overgrown the area as they developed. It not only decreases the visibility of the building and other amenities, but also makes the landscape look untidy and unkempt.

When you are planning to plant trees, keep in mind how quickly they will mature and how their roots will spread. Likewise, don’t plant shrubs too closely to each other. No one wants an overgrown landscape. It increases regular maintenance costs, and removing mature plant material can lead to expensive renovations and rejuvenation projects down the road.

 

Selecting what to plant

Carefully select plantings with colors and texture that harmonize with the color and texture of the building’s architecture.

It is also important that you pick plants according to where you are deciding to plant them. Choose locally grown, native plants when at all possible. You should know how much sun or shade the plants will need, the type of soil, and other factors a specific plant requires in order to thrive. Having a soil test performed before planting is also a good best practice to have your landscaper implement.

Also, keep in mind is the seasonal variations and plan the plantings in a way that ensures there is something blooming throughout the year You can make use of plants like evergreens and unique shrubs for color during the cold seasons.

 

Ensure your design is low maintenance and convenient

While it is difficult to create a landscape plan that requires zero maintenance, a plan that requires less maintenance is achievable.

A properly planned landscape will ensure that you spend less of your property’ budget on maintenance in the long run.

It’s also very important to consider your irrigation system in your landscape plan. Irrigation is meant to supplement rainfall, not replace it. It should never be your landscape’s only source of water. Options like smart controllers and drip irrigation lines can save your property thousands of dollars over the life of your system.

Finally, landscaping is a year-round activity. You and your landscaper will continue to work and care for new and mature new plantings in every month of the year. This is why it is so important that your commercial landscape partner is aware of the local fertilization and water requirements of every property to take great care of you and your landscape.

 

 

 

 

 

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You Deserve Better Than Average Landscaping

“On a scale of 1 to 10, we’re going for a 5. I want my property’s landscape to look really average”, said no one ever.

You hire a professional landscape company because you want your property’s landscape to stand out – in a good way. When you sign a contract with a big commercial landscaping company, you expect that you’ll get something much better than what you’re getting today, right?

Otherwise, why would you go to all the trouble to qualify vendors, conduct an RFP, evaluate the responses, and negotiate your contract? You’d just stick with whoever’s cutting the grass for you now and doing an “okay” job.

When we talk to the property managers we work with, they tell us that they expect more from us.  The same old, same old just doesn’t cut it for them.

But how do you get an above average landscape?  Without blowing your budget, how do you turn an utterly unremarkable landscape into one that really stands out?

Every property’s different, but here are 3 simple tips to help you get a landscape that stands out from the crowd.

  1. Start with a solid fertilization and pest management program. Your landscape is never going to look its best if it’s not getting the right nutrients. Have your landscape contractor take soil samples from various locations in your property, then design an application program that addresses the specific needs of your landscape and its environment. You can’t get an above average landscape if you don’t start with a healthy landscape.
  2. Second, make sure your irrigation system is regularly inspected by trained professionals. Most property managers don’t think about their irrigation system until there’s a broken head, or a huge water bill comes in. But just because you can’t see any problems, doesn’t mean that your irrigation system is doing all that it should for your landscape. During monthly inspections, irrigation pros don’t just look for problems. They make sure that your landscape is getting the right amount of water, in all the places that need it. Properly managed irrigation plans keep pests and disease out of your landscape and keep it looking it’s best.
  3. Finally, seek professional help. If you think about it, it’s easy to ignore most landscapes. After a while, they all start to look the same, don’t they? But what if your property had something that the others didn’t? We employ trained Landscape Designers, and we offer their expertise to our clients as a value-added service. Because sometimes the difference between an exceptional landscape and an average one is as simple as having one or two focal points to draw attention to your property. Adding some color to your landscape with a new annual flower bed, and keeping the design interesting with each rotation, gives you a chance to refresh your property's curb appeal several times a year.

These are just a few tips to get you started. Remember, the journey from average to remarkable isn’t as hard as you think, or as expensive. Your landscape probably doesn’t need a major overhaul. Instead, find the small, but important steps you and your landscape contractor can take to get you the landscape that you deserve.

 

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Your Landscape & Marketing Your Commercial Real Estate Property

 

Marketing a commercial real estate property can be a challenge. There is more competition for commercial space now than at any other time in history. And it’s easier than ever for buyers and lessees to search available inventory. That means getting your property noticed among all those other listings is more important (and more difficult) than ever before.

Whether selling or leasing, a few smart investments in your property’s landscape can help you stand out from the other listings your potential buyers and tenants are considering.

 

The Case for Making Your Landscape a Feature

Almost every commercial real estate listing starts by talking about the same things - proximity to interstates and public transit, hotels and restaurants nearby, parking areas, security and maintenance, energy efficiency. Sometimes a listing may mention a “park-like setting”, but a property’s landscape is rarely given top billing in its description.

We think the reason that landscapes aren’t given any special mention is that 99% of commercial properties have no distinguishing landscape features.  The result is that all properties end up looking basically the same from the outside.

If you want to make your property seem unique, but the exterior and grounds are no different than the competition, your only option is to make expensive updates inside the building. Landscape enhancements are significantly less expensive than interior improvements.  And once they’re installed, the new landscape improvements cost relatively little more to maintain than the boring old landscape that looks like everyone else’s.

 

Getting Your Property Ready for a Photo Shoot

There’s a lot more to closing a deal than having great photos of your property, but clients looking to buy or lease are starting their search online. Whether they’re viewing your property on your company’s website or another commercial real estate listing site, they’re looking through your pictures before they ever read a word about your property.

9 out of 10 listings will start with a photo of the building’s full exterior. I know you’ve seen the shot we’re talking about – lines of glass windows, gray concrete, a few small trees lining the front, and maybe a little strip of green grass.

Instead, why not highlight the interesting parts of your property’s grounds in the cover photo? A colorful installation of annual flowers at the main entry. A group of blooming perennials at an outdoor seating area. An aerial shot of a crushed granite walking path around the property’s lake.  Bright colors, or anything different than the typical cover photo, will help your listing stand out on the search results page.

Also, consider the time of year when you’re shooting the photos of your property. Even a great listing can be ruined by bare trees and dormant turf. Consider having photos done after your spring cleanup when trees are full of green leaves and the flowers are blooming. Even if you’re marketing your listing in the winter, show the landscape when it looks its best to maximize views.

As more commercial real estate professionals begin using social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to market their listings, photos of your property and its landscape can become a huge asset, driving views to your website and property listings.  The right improvements to strategic areas of your property’s grounds could become a key component in your commercial real estate property’s marketing plan.

 

For more ideas on how to turn your landscape into a marketing feature, schedule a meeting with your local Yellowstone Landscape Professional. They have the tools and experience to help your commercial property’s listing stand out from the crowd.

 

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Central Houston Landscape Management Intern Finds Her New Passion!

This is a guest post, written by Baylee, about her intern experience with us this summer.

As a horticulture student from Texas A&M University, I came into this internship knowing I wanted to work in landscaping, but had absolutely no idea of where I would fit into this well-oiled machine known as Yellowstone Landscape! Over the past two months, I have experienced a little of everything; management, maintenance, irrigation, enhancements.  Use of my new knowledge of these various areas will help me figure out exactly what I want to do after I graduate.

I’ve enjoyed working in all areas of the company, and ultimately, I’ve found a passion for irrigation and enhancements.  I love troubleshooting and solving the puzzles that go into designing and running a successful irrigation system.  After spending a day with our irrigation Account Manager in the Houston Central Branch and observing him work on a backflow system, I was hooked!  I plan to not only become a certified irrigator, but to earn my own backflow license.  I already knew I loved plants, but lately I’ve begun to appreciate the need for a functional irrigation system to keep them alive!

I’ve also learned, perhaps most importantly, how hard the crews work.  They are the very foundation of our industry and absolutely nothing could be done without them.  They’re extremely knowledgeable and have been nothing but willing to teach me what they know.  They work long hours to keep our clients happy and make sure their properties are always in tip-top shape.  Working with, speaking with, and making friends with these men has brought home just how fortunate I am and how many opportunities I’ve had.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to work at Yellowstone Landscape this summer and learn real, practical skills that I can build my career on.  Thank you for everything, Yellowstone Landscape!

 

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Port St. Lucie Intern Falls in Love!

 

This is a guest post, written by Emily, about her intern experience with us this summer.

 

This summer I’ve had the pleasure of being an Intern at the Yellowstone Landscape, Port Saint Lucie Branch where I have been exposed to an entirely new world - the world of professional landscaping! Between mowing lawns, detailing palm trees, installing irrigation systems, and applying fertilizers and pesticides, I have gained an enormous amount of experience. These skills will be essential to my success in the future, as I’m certain this is the industry for me.

Before this summer, I had only been exposed to farming and small-scale horticultural practices, such as planting and harvesting fruits and vegetables, at my university’s gardens. As I went through each of the rotations of the internship, I experienced a different aspect of landscape maintenance, and I’ve fallen in love!

Every department has its own unique and essential role, and every crew member’s attention to detail and commitment to creating and maintaining premier properties impressed me to no end. In fact, I was incredibly impressed by every department I worked with, and I’m proud to say I believe that the relationships I have made this summer will last a lifetime.

This summer I learned a very valuable life lesson, “go with the flow” and it will work out. There were times throughout the summer that people wouldn’t show up or the weather would interfere with our plan for the day and the common approach was to stay calm and let things work out. This was a new concept to me, being a college student, when disaster strikes you, act! But in “the real world”, acting isn’t always the best option. Sometimes, the best course of action is to wait and let the situation work itself out. This lesson has proven to be invaluable to me not only in a professional setting, but in my every-day life. This summer has taught me more than how to operate a lawnmower and how to troubleshoot an irrigation clock; it has taught me how to be a more functional, professional, and go-with-the-flow adult with a tremendously useful skillset. I am grateful for my experiences with the crews and my Mentor and wouldn’t trade them for anything!

 

 

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Houston Construction Intern Applies Classroom Knowledge with Field Experience

This is a guest post, written by Blake, about his intern experience with us this summer.

 

Interning with the Houston Central Branch has been an experience unlike anything I expected.  As a Construction Intern, I was exposed to many new things and many different management styles.  Although I was assigned one Mentor, all four Project Managers stepped in to mentor me and make sure I got the most out of my internship.  Whether it be through shadowing, supervising crews, or helping manage projects.  I was exposed to everything that goes into project management and was able to apply what I am learning in school with those experiences, which is extremely valuable.

During my internship I experienced site analysis, plan take off’s, estimates, procurement and ordering, working on crews and managing crews.  I also participated in punch walks and pre-construction meetings, gaining an understanding of business language, client engagement and meeting topics which I found very valuable.

My favorite internship experience was a sustainability project at a landfill where we planted 60,000 grasses.  The process, known as Phytoremediation, uses various grasses and trees to clean pollutants and leachate water from the landfill so it can be recycled.  As part of this project, I attended client meetings and experienced behind the scenes discussions.  I also participated in the project start up, helped unload the 60,000 grasses, and saw the project through to the end.  Applying my knowledge of sustainability and water recycling from classroom studies in school was extremely valuable throughout this process.

Interning with Yellowstone Landscape has been a blessing and everything I could ask for in furthering my education in the landscape industry.  These lessons learned, as well as the importance of safety for all employees, and to be proactive rather than reactive, I will carry with me throughout my career.  I am forever grateful for my experience at Yellowstone Landscape and for the many opportunities provided by the managers and mentors I am working with.

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Infographic: Economic Benefits of Green Spaces

It's something we've written about many times before, but the economic impact of green spaces really is remarkable. Check out this infographic we created to share some facts about just how important professionally managed landscapes are.

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Spruce Up Your Commercial Landscape by Planting Some New Trees

Maintaining your commercial landscape is a task that is important to you. Not only does your landscaping say a great deal about how well your property is maintained, it brings countless benefits to you and your community. While it’s obvious that trees offer energy-saving and health benefits, there are at least two reasons to plant some new trees on your commercial property today: appearance and property value.


Appearance
A quick and fairly inexpensive way to make your landscaping appear more sophisticated is to plant new trees. Research has shown that commercial areas with trees are more attractive to shoppers and tenants. By simply planting some trees and properly maintaining them, you’re able to stimulate economic development. In addition to providing a beautiful environment, trees offer shade and reduced energy costs which are valuable to you and your customers. A laboratory experiment also claims that visual exposure to settings with trees reduces recovery time from a stressful situation. Adding some trees to your commercial landscape will not only add beauty but peace.


Property Value
With an abundance of tree types available, the possibilities for improving your commercial landscape are endless. If you’re looking for a great way to increase your property value, trees are an excellent solution. If you’re looking to benefit from increased property value sooner than later, look for trees that are known for their quick growth habit. Some examples of fast growing trees include Red Maple and Eastern White Pine. Because these types of trees grow quickly, it’s important to plant them in a suitable area and have them properly maintained. If you don’t need fast growing trees, there are plenty of trees to select based on other requirements.


A great way to improve the overall appearance of your commercial landscape is to plant new trees. In order to ensure that the right trees are selected for your specific landscape, consult the professionals at Yellowstone Landscape today.

 

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Landscape Expectations vs. Landscape Budgets

Let’s start with a quick story…

A few years ago we were awarded the landscape maintenance contract for a large townhome community. As the board president was signing our contract, he told us that he had voted for us because we were more than just “mow, blow, and go”, like his previous landscape providers had been. He scheduled an initial walkthrough with us to “have a look at some areas that could use a little extra help”.

Excited to start out on the right foot, we showed up for the property walk with notebooks and cameras ready.  We spent 3 hours walking around the community, listening to him talk about all the things he felt his previous landscaper did wrong. He also talked about all the choices he would have made, if he had been to one to select the plant palette for the community when it was built.  He then asked us to come back to him with a plan for how we were going to attack the areas he’d pointed out to us.

We came back to him a week later with renderings of the beautifully reimagined landscape that could be his. It was like a work of art we were unveiling to him. The drawings incorporated the exact plant materials he had told us he preferred, and we expected to hear nothing but praise for how well we’d paid attention to his needs.

Instead, he was just embarrassed.

“It’s absolutely beautiful. But we don’t have the money for all this. We just want you to do what’s in the contract we signed with you. If you do a good job, maybe next year we can talk about doing a little something extra.”

 

Sometimes clarifying the client’s expectations is the most difficult part of what we do. Serving a client well often starts with helping them to define what they expect from us. Then, we have to delicately balance their expectations with their budget.

We can design a beautiful space for a client that would rival anything they’ve ever seen on Pinterest, but if they can’t afford to install and maintain it, then we’ve failed to serve that client well.

This is the challenge we face when working with a lot of new clients. It’s easy to look at other properties’ landscaping and say “I want that”, without understanding the level of investment is to get “that” particular look.

Here’s something we like to remind our clients - landscapes are living things that are in a constant state of change. With the help of trained Landscape Professionals, they are constantly improving, becoming healthier and more beautiful. And the client’s vision of what their landscape should look like won’t happen overnight, no matter how much they spend.

Improving and enhancing a landscape takes time, and many of the things we do will not be immediately apparent. In fact, if the client is serious about making a dramatic change to their landscape, it will often require making it look worse before it gets better.

But over time, the client’s expectation will become their reality. Turf will get greener. Shrubs and trees will look healthier and more full. Flowers will be more vibrant.

As budgets change, the key to serving a client well is to help them define and adjust expectations accordingly.  With consistent communication and planning, their budget and their expectations can be aligned.

Are you searching for a new commercial landscape partner? One who will take the time to understand what you really expect from your property’s landscape.

Request an appointment to meet with your local Yellowstone Landscape Professional today. You can afford a more beautiful landscape.

 

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Movin’ On Up

It’s that time of year again.

The time of year when landscape companies find out where we rank among our competition.

Each summer the landscape industry’s major publications create their listings of the largest landscape companies in North America. The data is gathered, analyzed, and rankings are sorted by each company’s revenue.

We used to wonder who, outside of our employees and others in the industry, would care about these rankings. But for the last couple of years, the article on our blog where we revealed where Yellowstone sits on this listing has been one of our most popular posts of the year.

Obviously, it’s a tremendous honor to be included anywhere on these listings, but over the past few years, we’ve been steadily “movin’ on up” the list and, in the 2017 edition, we’re up one spot to number 12.

Why do we look forward to these listings every year?

Two reasons.

First, it tracks the growth of our industry from year to year. This year, the Top 100 companies generated $9.16 billion (yes, billion with a “b”). That’s an increase from 2016 of almost 7%. This means that customers are investing in the services we offer across the country. It means that our industry’s largest companies are healthy and growing.

Second, we care about these rankings because they give us a chance to show how far we’ve come in a relatively short time. We’re proud of the company that we’re becoming, and these listings allow us to share our progress with our employees, our customers, our colleagues, and our future Yellowstone Landscape Professionals.

More than two years ago, we laid out 5 key elements of how we track our company’s success. One of those keys is growth. So, as we continue to climb up the rankings, and especially now as we enter the top 12, there’s no doubt that we are growing. But what the listings don’t show are all the other positive changes in our company that come with growth.

In the last year, we’ve hired new employees and promoted existing team members, deserving of more responsibility. We’ve begun partnerships with dozens of new clients. We’ve renewed relationships with clients we’ve been proudly serving, some for more than a decade. We’ve expanded to new service areas and welcomed our new team members in North Carolina.

None of that shows up directly in a Top 100 listing, but those are the kinds of things that are the truest measure of why our growth is something to be proud of.

In closing, as has become our practice when these listings come out each year, we pause and say a heartfelt “Thank you” to our clients, our employees, and everyone else who’s helped us get to where we are today.

It is a great honor to be a part of such a vibrant and growing industry.

 

To see the entire 2017 list of Lawn and Landscape’s Top 100 companies in their May issue, click here.

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PO Box 849

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