recreate the feel of a property, they
significantly decrease maintenance.
“The only maintenance we have
now is trimming the shrubs and raking the rocks that have poured onto
the sidewalk,” said Strehlow. “Now,
we’re just trimming about four times
a year, picking up the trash and cutting the small area of grass we’ve
kept. What once took us four hours a
week, now takes an hour-and-half to
two hours a week.”
a mass PlantInG of drouGht-tolerant rudbeckIa and Verbena at
suson PInes In st. louIs requIres no IrrIGatIon In thIs bed.
Photo courtesy of Gannon manaGement
One of the driving trends in landscaping today is water management.
While areas like California, Nevada
and parts of the Southeast are facing
water shortages and increasing water
costs, other areas like Texas, much
of the Midwest and Northeast are
not. Despite these differences, water
management is quickly become a rising landscaping concern across the
“You have to think about design-
ing your landscape to use less water,”
said Troutman. “There is going to
be more pressure to improve water
efficiencies than ever before.”
While many properties have rain
sensors that will turn off irrigation
when it is raining, today’s irriga-
tion systems are growing significantly
more advanced, like having sensors
in the ground to indicate whether
turf needs watering.
Today’s turbulent economic environment, however, has stymied some
property managers’ ability to invest in
sophisticated irrigation systems. But,
it is something that will likely take off
as the economy turns around.
“I think it will be the standard soon to have software to control your irrigation that creates optimal time and optimal delivery schedule,” said McConnell,
whose company is considering investing in these solutions down the road.
For now, Gannon Management utilizes a drip system at 85 percent of its
properties to save a minimum of 50 percent in water usage. Drip system lines
run under the mulch and water drips out of the system. According to Pence, drip
efficiency is 90 percent compared to overhead spraying efficiency at 75 percent.
“It is an easier type of system to install and it is a much more efficient way to
water, especially when paired with the [native-type] plants we use,” said Pence.
“There are times when we only need to run the system once a week compared
to three or four times a week with a more conventional irrigation system that
waters from the top. With a drip system, we’re under the mulch so we get the
water right to the roots and the mulch on top keeps the moisture in.”
knoWledge is Po Wer
Current economic conditions have created plenty of uncertainty in all aspects of
the business world. However, property managers can still take control of their
properties by spending the time and energy needed to understand landscaping
needs. Maintaining good relations with landscape contractors and/or in-house
landscaping managers can help keep landscape budgets under control.
“Landscaping and ground maintenance are part of the operating costs of
properties,” said McCarthy. “A property manager should have an understanding of every line item budget within those operating costs. The more information you have, the more control you will have of the process.” n
diana mirel is a contributing writer to JPM. send questions regarding this article to markisan naso