A Look Inside Terracare’s Sustainable Practices

We hear the term “sustainable” a lot nowadays. From the food we eat to the energy we use, it seems like the word sustainable is everywhere. As a landscaping company, Terracare has a passion to be stewards of our environment while protecting the health, safety and welfare of our communities, clients and staff. This dedication has allowed Terracare to lead the outdoor industry in developing sustainable environments for more than 30 years. Furthermore, we believe it is our responsibility to preserve our landscapes and take steps towards sustainability. In turn, ensuring that our future generations have an environment they can enjoy. Below are a few practices Terracare regularly takes to make your property more sustainable:

Providing you with a new approach to landscape

Terracare positions itself as a leader that embraces new technologies in our field and that understands new trends. By taking this approach, TCA can offer solutions that are innovative and cutting- edge. A few examples of this are using smart controllers, xeriscaping, installing edible gardens and drought tolerant landscapes.

Providing you with safer, more efficient plant-health care

Our team of professionals will bring out the best in your landscape implementing a strict Integrated Pest Management (IPM) schedule. This will focus on properly feeding your landscape while monitoring the plant material and using pesticides only as a last resort.

Use recycling practices

Whenever possible, TCA composts and recycles plant materials and other organic material. By taking this approach, we cut down on the amount of waste in landfills and reduce greenhouse gases. Additionally, compost acts as a natural soil conditioner, which improves the soil structure and reduces needs for pesticide and synthetic fertilizer. We strive for zero waste on our projects.

What’s next?

If you need direction for your regenerative landscape and sustainable steps, reach out. Let us see what Terracare Associates and your organization can build together.

Five Benefits of Green Roofs

You may think living in an urban environment severely limits a commercial property’s ability to enjoy a landscape. However, the trend of growing a green roof now provides that opportunity. A green roof allows projects in high-density areas to be built with a landscape, by partially or completely covering their rooftops in vegetation and plant life. Green roofs have many more benefits and below are a few of these attributes.

Reduces Heat

In many urban or metropolitan environments, heat increases considerably due to the use of various materials such as the concrete and steel that cover most buildings. These materials absorb and store the sun’s energy as heat. Furthermore, as the population expands in these environments, so does the use of these materials. This dome of heated air in cities is referred to as the “urban heat island effect”. As a result of noticeably warmer cities, the cooling costs of the building are significantly raised. However, with the addition of a green roof to a building, it can reduce the heat a building generates by 50 degrees. The vegetation of the green roofs serve as a cooling property. This provides a natural insulation that result in a work environment with a pleasant temperature.

Storm Water Management

Throughout a typical day in an urban environment, dust and particles collect on rooftops. This dust then builds up until a storm washes it away. The precipitation then carries the dust that has been built up resulting in unwanted runoff.  When a property has a green roof, vegetation stores the water and other materials like a sponge. This results in a great reduction in the amount of runoff. Additionally, the green roof will delay the excess amount of storm water from the roof or into your property’s storm water system.

Allows for Employees/ Residents to Relax

Whether you are trying to escape the office or just need a chance to enjoy some beautiful foliage, green roofs can be your solution. A busy, loud city can add stress to the lives of occupants at a commercial property and the calming green roofs provide a much-needed respite. Having the opportunity to walk through and enjoy the scenery that a green roof brings is the perfect way to add some much-needed relaxation in the midst of a hectic day.

Create an Eco-system

With the expansion of growth, the urban setting has displaced the natural habitats of many animals, insects the native vegetation. With the addition of a green roof, a commercial property can attempt to recreate the eco-system. This attracts an assortment of wildlife to the green roof. From bees to migratory birds and even foxes that the Facebook campus in Menlo Park has, installing a green roof will help restore the environment that is no longer there. Additionally, green roofs allow for the replacement of the plants that were likely destroyed when the building was constructed. This is beneficial because the plants generate necessary oxygen and trap the hazardous carbon dioxide. The plants also catch particles and pollutants that reduce the dust and smog levels.

Farm to Table

One unique benefit that a green roof can offer is to cultivate fresh produce. This trend is growing in popularity as farm to table restaurants continue to spread throughout the country. This allows restaurants to incorporate the yield from the gardens into their menu. Guests enjoy eating the freshest foods and those preparing the food know that they had a hand in the process at every step along the way.

3 Reasons to Add Mulch to your Property this Spring

We have almost made it through the frigid months of winter! Now is a great time to get out and assess your commercial property’s landscape. When you are doing this, you might have realized that after months of moisture and colder temperatures your landscape beds need help. This is a great time to refresh and add new mulch to your landscape beds. Below are a few benefits your property receives when mulch is added.

Traps moisture in the summer:

During the warmer months of summer, mulch is such a helpful tool. One of the major benefits is the increased amount of moisture your plants receive. This moisture is essential to offset the water restrictions that are sure to come in the summer months. When applied, mulch helps conserve moisture in your landscape beds, keeping your trees, shrubs and flowers healthy.

Prevents weeds:

Weeds are a common and often unruly problem to your landscape beds. They steal the necessary nutrients and block much needed moisture. Weeds also make your property look unkempt. Using mulch however, is a phenomenal way to naturally combat this invasive weed. Just like other plants, weeds require light and warm soil to survive. When mulch is used, it creates a barrier that prevents weeds from sprouting because they do not have the strength to push through the mulch.

Provides a professional look:

You may have noticed that mulch loses its vibrancy and fades with time. Generally, your mulch has a shelf life of less than a year and after surviving winter, it is time to replace it for best impact. Although this is not the main purpose of mulch, the faded, dull coloring gives off a less than professional appearance. A few mulch options we recommend trying are pinestraw or wood mulch for a natural colorful look.

What’s Next:

Do you need help adding mulch to your property or deciding which type of mulch to add? Have a Terracare expert come out and assess your property now!
Schedule an Appointment.

Commercial Landscape Spring Checklist

Spring is in the air! The trees are blooming, the birds are chirping and flowers are beginning to poke out of the dirt. This is the perfect time to get your commercial landscape property in pristine condition for fhe upcoming year. We all want a beautiful commercial property; here are a few suggestions for a successful spring season.

Cleanup and Prep:

With the freshness of spring comes plenty of cleanup from the season before. This cleanup is an important first step to restore your commercial property to its former glory. Some keys areas for our Terracare landscape expert to focus on;

  • Cleaning up debris
  • Raking up leftover leaves, sticks or pine needles
  • Trimming back perennials and grasses
  • Removing excess mulch and leaf scraps from the base of your plants
  • Checking any metal edging to make sure that it is hasn’t heaved over the winter.

Lawn Prep and Maintenance:

Having a well-manicured, green yard is something that will increase the overall appearance of a property and have a lasting impact on the amount traffic and business your company attracts. Lawn preparation is a vital step for any commercial property. We recommend aeration which is poking small holes in the lawn so water and fertilizer can reach the roots effectively. Terracare recommends the application of both quality fertilizer and a product for pre- emergent weed control. These applications are very helpful in preventing weeds and boosting your plant’s nutrients.

IrrigationIrrigation System Startup:

Another crucial step when getting your commercial landscape property in order for the upcoming season is the proper preparation of your irrigation system. This process ranges from ensuring that the water pressure is correct to replacing damaged parts and even to checking that the ground is unfrozen. It may seem lengthy and challenging, however all of these steps are important to avoid future unnecessary costs.
For springtime irrigation steps, take a look at our article here:
Irrigation Steps.

Spring Planting:

Spring is also a great time for your commercial landscape property to set itself apart from the rest. A great way to do this and also attract more visitors is by adding color to your property. Studies show a beautiful commercial landscape can raise your property value and attractiveness by as much as 20%. To do this Terracare recommends adding perennials, because they will return year after year. To learn more about five perennials that can really make your property stand out click here:
Perennial Choices.

What’s Next?

These steps can be challenging and overwhelming for any commercial property owner. This is where Terracare Associates comes in. Our trained and certified professionals are here to help you achieve the commercial landscape property that you have always dreamed of. Click below to set up a meeting:

Contact Us.

Five Steps to Tune-Up Your Irrigation this Spring

The sun is out and shining, the weather is warming up and the ground is thawing out. There is no better time than springtime to ensure that your commercial landscape property’s sprinkler system is ready for the rest of the year. By following these few simple steps you will be able to save money, prevent water loss and avoid a mid- summer landscape disaster! Start your warm watering season off the right way by following these easy steps:

Lone Tree Plaza-21. Don’t Jump the Gun

By starting your property’s irrigation system too early, you risk damaging the pipes, especially if the ground is still too hard. It is important to make sure that the soil at your commercial property is not still frozen. To do this you will want to take your shovel and push it down at least twelve inches. If it’s tough to do so or the ground is rock solid, it is a good idea to wait a week and try again.

2. Check the Controller

Now is the time to evaluate the irrigation controls and programs of your irrigation systems. It has been months since your commercial property’s irrigation system has been used. Many things could have happened to the controls during the colder months. It is important to make sure that the date and time are accurate, the setting fits correctly and that the back-up battery is up to date. We suggest that your irrigation system’s back-up battery be replaced every six months for optimal use.

3. Unhindered Flow

Over the course of a winter, debris can cover up your commercial property’s sprinkler heads. If unchecked, substances such as dirt, branches or rocks can lead to wasted water and an unhealthy landscape. It is very important to thoroughly inspect the commercial property’s sprinkler heads and remove any barrier that may be blocking the spray.

Irrigation4. Replace Damaged Parts

Was one of your property’s sprinkler heads run over by a lawn mower? Perhaps a community dog is pulling out the sprinkler heads. Sprinkler heads and valves are made to endure normal wear and tear; however, it is best to be ready for the occasional mishap. Springtime is the perfect time to address and repair these broken irrigation parts. By doing this you can prevent over watering which will wreak havoc on your plants and your water bill. Contact Terracare Associates trained and certified irrigation technicians to schedule any irrigation concerns or repairs.

Schedule an Appointment.

5. Check the Pressure

Now it is time to turn the main water valve back on. However, it is crucial to ensure that the water pressure is at a safe operating range for your irrigation system. If your commercial landscape property’s irrigation system is too high it can result in damages. A few examples of the potential damages could include cracked pipes, busted valves, sprinkler head leaks and inefficient watering. To counterattack any of these damages we recommend having your system at an operating range between 40-65 PSI.

What’s Next?

At Terracare Associates, we recommend performing a regular irrigation system audit. Your irrigation systems should be regularly inspected for leaks, broken sprinkler heads, or other damaged components. During our regular inspections, we evaluate pressure and adjust it as needed so your sprinklers work at the optimal level to distribute the water. To schedule an audit from one of our trained irrigation techs please fill out the form below:

Free Irrigation Audit

How to Respond to Four Common Spring Issues

The snow is melting and warmer weather is on the horizon! As a commercial landscape property owner, a few unexpected issues may arise as the nicer weather returns. Good news! Terracare Associates is here to help your commercial landscape property look phenomenal for the rest of the year. Below are four very common issues that you may run into and ways to address these issues.

Harm from Snow Removal and Winter Salt

Whether it be from improper shoveling or damaging salts, you may notice that brown spots have appeared throughout your commercial landscape property. This problem arises most frequently on turf areas that border sidewalks or parking lots. Salts that helped us in the winter have absorbed moisture and left brown or yellow sections in areas in your turf. To repair this issue, we recommend seeding now in early spring for early spot repair, keeping it green.

Invasive Crabgrass and weeds

When your property’s lawn is weak, it is the perfect opportunity for challenging weeds and crabgrass to move in. These weeds and crabgrass can be hard to get rid of especially the later it gets into the year. To regulate this issue and prevent these weeds, crabgrass control should be applied annually. By doing this a barrier will be created to protect your grass and combat the weeds from invading your property.

Drainage Issues

With spring comes precipitation throughout most of the United States. This precipitation is usually a blessing for your commercial landscape property and will lead to a green, vibrant property. However, when certain spots on your property have poor drainage and retain this precipitation you can have over watered turf that will destroy your lawn. Additionally, this extra water can lead to over watered turf and destroy your lawn. The solution to this problem is to walk the property early on with a Terracare professional and identify these problem areas. Our landscape professional will carefully access your property and prepare a clear solution to any drainage problem.

Sustainable landscapingErosion

Spring precipitation brings erosion to any sloped area you may have at your property. The moisture comes down and drives materials towards the bottom of the hill. To prevent this issue we recommend to either vary your root type, to mix up your leaf type or to fluctuate your plant height. By taking these actions, your soil will anchor in and prevent the erosion.

For help with any of your springtime needs or concerns reach out below:
Contact Us.

5 Perennials to Make Your Property Pop!

Spring is the perfect time to add colorful flower beds to your commercial landscape property. Studies show a beautiful commercial landscape can raise your property value and attractiveness by as much as 20%. The addition of perennials is a cost effective investment. Perennials will bloom and return year after year cutting down on replanting. Below are five examples of perennials that we would recommend.

May Night Sage

This impressive perennial presents in tall spikes of indigo flowers with lush green foliage. The flower also has an exceptional hardiness to the cold and is the wonderful fit for any commercial landscape property in cooler climates. The May Night Sage blooms from late spring to early summer and matures to a height of 15 to 18 inches tall.

 

Blanket Flower

These beautiful flowers project a daisy-like feel with strong shades of wine red, orange and yellow. For the most part these flowers’ petals have a unique tubular shape. On the other hand, some of petals have frilled edges that also looked very stunning. The sizes of this plant will range from 10-12 inch high dwarfs to selections as tall as 24-30 inches.

Echinacea

Echinacea, better known as cone flowers, are colorful daisy-like flowers that bloom from mid-summer to early fall and can grow up to five feet tall. They thrive in areas with full sun and poor soil. These plants are drought resistant and do not require fertilization. You will see beautiful flowers return year after year with very little work if you choose this plant for your property.

Yarrow

Yarrow consists of flower heads full of small, tightly packed blossoms and aromatic leaves. This plant blooms from mid-summer to fall and typically grows to be two to four feet tall. It grows best when planted in well-drained soil with full sun. Yarrow is known for being durable and tolerates dry weather, so it is a perfect low-maintenance yet beautiful addition to any walkway.

Lavender Hidcote

Lavender Hidcote is a tall, purple flower known for its wonderful fragrance and its tendency to attract butterflies. It prefers hot, sunny and dry air and well-drained soil, making it the perfect choice for western climates. Lavender Hidcote does not require regular watering and will thrive on just 9-12 inches of rain per year. You can expect to see this plant bloom in mid to late summer.

For recommendations or help planting flowers for your commercial landscape property click here: Contact Us

A Guide for a Successful Commercial Landscape Request for Proposal

Finding the quality commercial landscaping company for you property will have a direct effect on the overall look of your location. When your organization uses a request for proposal or a RFP you will be able to let a potential landscape company know what to expect; from whom you are to what your budget is. Below is your guide to making the most out of your RFP to obtain and sustain a beautiful property.

Why is a RFP important?

Compare the RFP process to hiring an employee at your company. With so many potential employees seeking a position, it can be extremely overwhelming. However, when you look at the resumes you can more clearly filter through to find the stand out applicant.

An RFP allows potential applicants to:

  • Have a better idea who you are and what you’re looking for
  • Understand what kind of budget you have and whether it is fixed or flexible
  • Know what kind of materials are needed to be an effective applicant

Your RFP will identify the commercial landscaping provider that will meet and surpass your needs and expectations.

La JollaDescribe Your Property

An essential step when filling out your RFP is to provide pertinent information regarding your property to the prospective landscaping company. Clearly explaining your goals and expectations is extremely helpful. Whether your property is modest or large in size the more information received will be a real benefit.

Be Clear About Your Selection Criteria

The next focus you will want to address is your standards or criteria for the landscape provider. It’s important to gather specific information about a perspective landscape provider. Of course, cost the cost is at the top of your inquiry, but look for other essentials such as years of service, range of service, number of employees and timeliness can be very important too.

Determine Submission Requirements

The main goal of your RFP will be to have the potential landscape companies respond with the essential information to determine who is best for your budget and commercial landscape property’s needs. A few things to include in your submission guidelines might be:

  • BCBSTXSpecific formatting details, making it easier to compare the applications
  • A deadline for the RFP to be submitted
  • A length of proposed contract
  • References from similar clients
  • Proof of applicant’s fiscal stability
  • Detailed description of services
  • A depiction of the current staff and their expertise

Read RFP Submissions Carefully!

Once you are ready to send the RFP, decide on an appropriate period to get quality responses. Allowing the landscape companies time to a put together a quality proposal is always a good idea.

This level of professionalism in your hiring process will provide you with extra information about a landscape company. If a prospective landscape company cannot stick to the submission guidelines, required RFP format, or make the submission deadline, then you cannot expect them to provide timely, quality services. Their response to the RFP says a lot about the quality of their landscaping installation and maintenance services.

5 Steps for Handling Snow Damaged Trees

For many of us, snowy conditions can lead to potentially hazardous situations. One of the harmful conditions that commercial landscape property owners constantly have to deal with is snow-damaged trees. Snowstorms often create wet, heavy snow and the snow’s weight can cause considerable damage to a property’s trees and shrubs. Knowing how to react or prepare, can help minimize damages. Here are five tips for handling snow damaged trees and shrubs:

Assess the area.

Before clearing branches, make sure the surrounding area is safe. Broken tree branches often affect and damage utility lines. Be sure to take the proper steps to ensure the situation is safe – this could mean cutting the power to those lines until clean up can be handled.

Check the damage.

Trees and shrubs that bend under the weight of the snow will recover. If a tree is overall healthy and possess its main branch, most of its major limbs, and 50 percent or more of its crown (top branches), then the tree has good chances of making a full recovery.

Be patient.

During a snowstorm, or the days immediately following, there is little that you can do to help a tree. Remove any hazards and broken branches, but save major decisions for later. Concentrate on how to save the tree rather than making an impulse decision to chop it down.

Do not over prune.

Remove and prune the damaged parts of the tree. The tree might look uneven for a time however know that new foliage will soon cover up the bare areas.

Seek help.

If the job requires a chainsaw or ladder or is just too much to handle, contact an insured, certified, commercial company. They will be better equipped to access the situation and help with the cleanup.

It is not too late to get help with your snow removal needs. Send us a note or give us a call and we will get back to you with a proposal and estimate for how we can help you.
Contact Us.

5 Budget Tips For Commercial Property Managers

Stay UNDER Budget Every Year!


Each year, as a commercial property owner, you make a budget for landscape maintenance. And each year do surprising or unexpected costs arise? Even after careful planning, organizing and budgeting you may still be taken by surprise. You mean well, but you’re left wondering why you cannot stick to your budget? If this is you, you are not alone! 

We are here to help. By following these five simple steps, you will not only meet your budget, but also come in under budget! Are you ready to write a budget you can count on to make it through the entire year? Let’s get started!

1. Have strong guidelines


Be very critical when it comes to your bid. Make sure it is specific to your wants and needs. Ensure that it includes how many visits, how many services and which services are provided, and how many applications. To receive the most accurate bid possible every single detail needs to be accounted for in the contract.

2. Include extra expenses


Have you ever had a sprinkler head break or decide to include a property enhancement mid-year? Unexpected services are a common occurrence in the landscape maintenance world. There is no telling what may come up throughout the year so it is important to be ready when that time comes. Setting aside money now may be crucial down the road.

3. Ask questions


Don’t sign on those dotted lines until you ask some very important questions from your landscape provider. These can range from: What awards nationally or regionally has their company won? What is their company’s safety record? Does the landscape provider hire certified, trained professionals? It is very important to make sure you have all your questions answered before you are commit to a contract.

4. Prioritize enhancements


Analyze which services or projects are need to take place this year. Does your irrigation system need improved upon or modified? Does a flower bed need renovated? Do you have a turf conversion project to be done? These different projects can help keep your property in pristine condition; however, they can also influence your budget. Plan now and avoid unexpected revelations.

5. Hire a qualified landscape company


You may think that all you need from your landscaper is to ensure that your grass is cut and weeds are pulled. However, there is a lot more that goes into a quality landscape company. Search for a landscape provider that invests in the training and education of their employees. A landscape provider that guarantees that their legal workforce is held to a high standard whether that be by drug testing or by background checking their team. A professional landscape provider has a crew that holds industry certifications and also adheres to strict safety guidelines. In addition, you want a landscape provider that cares about the project not just the numbers. Simply put, these types of landscape providers are a step above their competition.

What’s next?


Whether you are clear about the commercial property landscape goals or you need help to define a plan, take a moment, and schedule a consultation with your Account Manager at Terracare. We at Terracare Associates will help you achieve all your commercial landscape goals.

Schedule an Appointment.