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Why a Landscape Maintenance Checklist is Essential for Facility Managers

landscape maintenance and Shrub trimming work

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From the sprawling campus of a vast company complex to the modest yard of a small business, landscape design is often the first thing people see. 

A comprehensive landscape maintenance checklist is the ideal tool for completing scheduled grounds upkeep and ensuring consistently performed maintenance tasks. Checklists provide quality control and produce a record to help track past and future groundskeeping endeavors.

Creating a Landscape Maintenance Checklist

A yard maintenance checklist ensures that landscape maintenance crews have a reliable, preplanned course of action to follow so maintenance tasks are done correctly every time.

When designing landscape maintenance tasks for your organization, consider each of these landscape elements and their respective maintenance tasks.


Lawns make up the largest portion of most landscape designs. Keeping them vibrant and lush is one of many organizations’ top landscape maintenance goals. Crucial lawn maintenance activities include the following.

  • Watering: Give lawns about 1/2 – 1 inch of water per week in spring, summer, and early fall.
  • Mowing: Weekly lawn mowing keeps grass at an ideal length (around 3-4 inches depending on grass type) and prevents lawns from going to seed.
  • Edging: Edging in late June and mid-September keeps lawn boundaries crisp and clean, maintaining a property’s visual appeal.
  • Clearing: In late fall and early spring, clear fallen leaves by leaf blowing, raking, or mowing with a mulching blade.
  • Fertilizing: Add fertilizer to lawns, particularly in the fall, to promote growth for the coming year – aiming for 3-4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet annually.
  • Aerating: Dethatching and aeration in the late summer and early fall help air, nutrients, and water reach the roots more easily, resulting in a fuller, greener lawn.

Trees and Shrubs

Trees and shrubs are often grouped together on a maintenance checklist. However, every species has its own special requirements. Consult an arborist or landscaping expert to ensure each plant receives proper care. Crucial tree and shrub maintenance activities include these tasks.

  • Pruning: To promote new, healthy growth, prune key limbs and branches.
  • Trimming: Cut back unnecessary limbs and remove dead branches to eliminate obstructions.
  • Fertilizing: Feed the plants essential nutrients to bolster their health and promote growth.
  • Pest control: Use pesticides or other pest-control measures to keep damaging bugs and worms away from trees and shrubs.


Non-living landscaping elements such as railroad ties, paving stones, and retaining walls can deteriorate over time or become dislodged as the ground freezes and thaws. Perform these landscape maintenance activities to ensure your landscaping continues to look pristine.

  • Inspect all hardscapes for signs of deterioration or damage and ensure all components remain level and flush.
  • Clean dirt and debris from hardscapes.
  • Reset dislodged paving stones, garden edging, and other recessed hard landscaping items.
  • Repair retaining walls, paths, and other fixable hardscape fixtures.
  • Replace broken or decayed components that can’t be repaired or reset.

Irrigation Systems

Regular maintenance keeps irrigation assemblies working optimally and reduces utility costs by preventing water waste. Make these seasonal tasks part of your property maintenance checklist.

  • Inspect the irrigation system semi-annually to ensure the control system and sprinklers work properly. Check for pinched or damaged irrigation lines and loose connections.
  • Conduct regular maintenance, such as replacing or clearing clogged emitters and changing out broken tubing.
  • Perform seasonal irrigation system adjustments. Turn off the system and purge lines for winter. Reactivate them in the spring and verify all components are in good working order.

Seasonal Landscape Maintenance Checklist Tasks

Depending on the climate of your location, you’ll likely need to conduct various maintenance tasks on a seasonal basis. If the changing of the seasons impacts the condition of your landscaping, be sure to add these essential tasks to your weekly landscape maintenance checklist.


Trim shrubs in early spring to promote new growth during the warmest months. In May, fertilizer should be applied to shrubs, lawns, and warm-season grasses, and debris that accumulates over the winter should be cleared away. Inspect irrigation systems and hardscapes. Schedule repairs and replacements for any damaged components.


Late summer is the best time to put down pesticides for grubs. A large population of grubs can ruin grass roots and kill a lawn.


Fertilize and put down grass seed in the early fall. In mid to late fall, perform an annual autumn cleanup. Prepare sensitive plants for winter and winterize irrigation systems. Prepare any outdoor furniture for any winter damage that may occur.


In the winter, groundskeeping duties typically shift to snow removal and deicing pavement.

Optimizing Your Landscaping Budget

Well-maintained company property goes a long way toward making a good first impression with clientele and visitors. Consider these factors when calculating your company’s landscape maintenance budget.

The Budgetary Impact of Preventive Maintenance

Allocate resources for preventive maintenance activities. Scheduling inspections and minor repair tasks greatly reduces the likelihood of costly repairs later.

Strategies for Yard Maintenance Cost Savings

For optimal savings, property managers should perform landscape maintenance in-house where it makes sense. Purchase landscape materials in bulk whenever possible. Get competitive bids for lawn and landscaping services. 

Balance Cost and Quality

Compare the quality of the work to landscaping expenses to ensure you’re getting the best value for your landscape maintenance expenses. If the cost is more than the company can sustain, consider replacing some landscaping with low- or no-maintenance fixtures. For example, consider adding a rock bed with statuary instead of a patch of high-maintenance bushes.

Conducting Regular Landscape Inspections and Site Assessments

Commercial properties everywhere can benefit from including routine grounds inspections in their landscape maintenance checklist. 

The Importance of Landscape Inspections

A thorough examination of the property gives you a snapshot of the effectiveness of current landscape maintenance practices and allows you to identify issues early before they become more expensive.

Key Elements to Include

Include these vital elements in your landscape maintenance checklist.

  • Lawn: Look for yellowing or browning patches and divots. Check for areas where puddles can form. Test soil to make sure the pH level is at or around 6.5. 
  • Trees and shrubs: Examine each tree and shrub to evaluate their health. Look for signs of disease or infestation, such as foliage discoloration and holes in leaves. 
  • Hardscapes and statuary: Check hard landscape elements for signs of wear and damage. Make sure recessed elements, such as railroad ties, remain securely in place. 

Use Landscape Inspections to Prioritize

By comparing the current state of facility grounds to the organization’s landscaping goals, facility managers can lay out a plan to improve and maintain the property in a budget-friendly manner.

Yard Maintenance Inspection Tips

While a landscape maintenance checklist is an invaluable resource for ensuring upkeep tasks are complete and performed in a timely and efficient manner, here are a few tips to keep in mind that might not be on the checklist.

  • Get a broad view: Wherever possible, look at the property from a distance on all accessible sides to determine whether or not this view matches the organization’s landscaping objectives.
  • Use external resources: Join local farmer and gardener internet groups and subscribe to relevant periodicals to stay current on regional conditions, such as pest infestations and expected weather.
  • Utilize technology: A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is a useful tool for scheduling maintenance tasks and tracking facility assets.

Implementing Sustainable Landscaping Practices

Sustainability practices help bolster an organization’s public image and help create a healthier environment. Consider a sustainability program for your organization’s landscape maintenance plan.

Benefits of Sustainable Landscaping

Sustainable landscaping offers many advantages. Water conservation methods can lower utility costs. Reducing the use of chemicals and creating habitats help reinvigorate vital pollinator populations. Some states also offer tax benefits for habitat creation.

Landscape Sustainability Strategies

Installing plants native to your local climate ensures balance with the environment. Xeriscaping works well in arid zones, utilizing succulents and cacti to produce a natural aesthetic. Integrating pest-repelling plants with your landscaping helps reduce the use of chemical pesticides. Green infrastructure elements such as rain barrels and soaker hoses reduce reliance on municipal water and your water bill. 

Communicating the Value of Landscape Maintenance to Upper Management

If a landscape maintenance plan could benefit your organization, you’ll likely need senior management to approve the expenditure. Presenting them with crucial information can help sway the case in your favor.

  • Explain key points in how a landscape maintenance plan aligns with the organization’s goals and values.
  • Present impact data and use visuals to explain how a well-maintained property enhances property value and customer satisfaction. 
  • Show how sustainable practices can save the company money.
  • Present management with strategies to secure and allocate budgetary resources.
  • Communicate the company’s landscaping progress and celebrate the successes with stakeholders.

Conclusion and Next Steps

All commercial properties are different, as are all the species of plants you could use for landscaping. Understand your specific needs and tailor your landscape maintenance checklists to meet them. Your checklist can help landscape maintenance personnel work consistently far into the future, and optimizing your landscape budget will offer peace of mind to management and shareholders. 

The ServiceChannel facility management platform offers an array of tools and templates to help in all aspects of facility maintenance. Check out ServiceChannel’s customizable checklist template to help you meet all your company’s grounds maintenance needs.

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