Just Grounds…Just the First Impression
By: Lori Hammond
Coveted by property managers far and wide is an individual with the knowledge and skill to plan, execute and care for grounds. Hiring or discovering someone on your management team is blessed with a green thumb, is truly a treasure. Most communities suffer from the fatal floral fantasy. Believing tearing out that big space at the entry, and armed with a $100 budget, the results will look just like that display at Disney.
Sad is the day, that a Regional visits a property to discover a foot wide trench cut through the precious sod with a proud manager and supporting team member, who announce..”Sam’s great with plants we’re going to fill this with flowers.” Either there’s no budget for the soil, plants and irrigation or no time to daily care for the plants that wither away from neglect. Most of the season will be needed to replace the grass that was removed. With plants in the ground, adding new area, less is more.
Equally disappointing is the point of sale purchase by the team member. Leaving the grocery or big box store with office supplies, we think this planter will be beautiful next to the office entry. Its quickly painlessly added to our purchase. Kerplunk! its placed in the planter (with or without its plastic liner) and a week later we notice the plants have died. A skilled staff member can save us from ourselves.
Selecting plants for containers or planting beds requires planning and understanding. Distractions of beautiful blossoms can be fatal. The decision should be based on sunlight exposure and availability of water.
Some plants need 6 hours of direct sunlight. some need shade. some will bloom continuously with some daily attention. another amazing discovery is many plants only bloom once a season. they all need water…but how often, how much.?
This simple task, get some flowers in the ground. Is actually a complicated decision, if you want the purchases to be investment decisions for the season.
Again, if you have a talented team member, count yourself among the fortunate. If not, consult the professionals! Incorporate grounds and curb appeal into your community outreach.
Seasonal flower displays in planting beds or attractive arrangements in planters are a major contributor to property curb appeal. But failure to make the correct selection will create a grounds nightmare of high maintenance or quickly dying plants.
Partnering with a local business can provide the expertise to select plants that will thrive in the specified location. Discussion of the time the maintenance the staff can dedicate to the care and feeding of the floral display should also be considered.
Giving the nursery staff pictures of the planter (guessing its probably too large to take to the nursery.)will help them design a colorful container combination. A label in the plant can provide the credit with “Floral design by…” Additional recognition can be offered through the newsletter. The display of flowers at the East and West entries were designed by ….
Another service could be planning a resident activity. Offering a “How To” event with tips on container gardening with flowering plants or vegetables, gives the vendor an opportunity to build relationship with residents by providing information and possibly selling their products.