Is Your Property’s Irrigation System Wasting Money?

It’s HOT!  Don’t send money down the drain! Your landscape provider can help you maintain and monitor your property’s automated irrigation system to ensure this is the most efficient way of watering your landscape. Having a properly maintained irrigation system is also one of the best ways to minimize water waste and lower overall watering costs.

Smart scheduling saves water

An irrigation controller can help monitor your system’s watering schedule to fit \ the watering needs of your property.  Here is what your landscape provider is looking to do:

  • Setting the timer for early in the morning or in the evening can minimize water evaporation by up to 30%.
  • A rain or soil moisture sensor controller to monitor and adjust your watering schedule regularly and based on seasonal weather conditions and other factors. Weather-based controllers automatically adjust the irrigation schedule as weather conditions change.
  • Consider the amount of sun, shade, and wind exposure on the plants and schedule individual zones to be most efficient. The type of soil will also affect how much water can be absorbed without runoff. The landscape provider will evaluate the setting to the irrigation system to run for three or four short intervals, allowing time between each for the water to soak more deeply into the soil.
  • Checking often on the sprinkler heads to ensure they are set properly to avoid watering driveways, sidewalks, or buildings.

 

Regular irrigation system maintenance saves water.

Like any other mechanical system, the irrigation system also needs regular maintenance to keep it working efficiently. Parts will break or wear out and must be replaced. An older system may not be able to handle the needs of a new landscape design or other changes to your property.

Retrofit the system with a rain or soil moisture sensor to prevent over watering. Rain sensors stop the system from operating when it rains; soil moisture sensors use long metal probes to measure moisture at the root zone and turn the system off when no additional water is needed, this is highly encouraged for water conservation practices.

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 optimally to distribute the water.

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Free Irrigation Audit

Employee Spotlight: Gabino DeLaCruz

Gabino DeLaCruz has been a dedicated part of the Terracare Associates team at the Milpitas branch in California since 2012. He works as a crew leader overseeing maintenance work for the City of Livermore. His main responsibilities include directing his crew, training new workers on the City of Livermore contract, and knowing all work sites and maintenance requirements for the City of Livermore. Above all, Gabino values the safety of his crew and the citizens of Livermore. He always thoroughly inspects sites before beginning work and makes sure to implement proper traffic control to ensure the safety of his crew and those who pass by.

“Gabino knows all of the work limits and requirements for the City of Livermore and always follows them. I can count on him to get the job done well and to keep his crew safe no matter how difficult the conditions,” said Sam Galvez, Operations Supervisor for the City of Livermore.

The City of Livermore has field inspectors who monitor maintenance activities of the crew performing work. Gabino works closely with the inspectors and when their priorities change he makes adjustments to maintenance services being performed to meet the inspector’s needs. He takes pride in maintaining a beautiful landscape that the citizens of Livermore can enjoy. Thank you for all of your hard word Gabino!

The Benefits of Creating Outdoor Space on Your Commercial Property

Many property owners think improving their property’s landscape only adds aesthetic value, therefore many believe implementing new landscape projects won’t pay off.  In fact, maintaining and enhancing your property, not only adds value, it can add usefulness too.  However, creating functional outdoor space for employees can be a great investment to attract employees to the property. Research shows that spending the entire day indoors can have negative effects on mental and physical health, causing employees to be less productive and to feel dissatisfied in the workplace. Giving employees an outlet to escape the office and get some fresh air has countless benefits. Spending as little as 20 minutes a day outside can improve memory, reduce stress, encourage team building and improve social interaction. Companies that offer employees access to an outdoor space attract workers and support an employee-centric company culture, which can increase the employee retention rate and attract more applicants.

There’s a variety of ways to create an outdoor space for your company, no matter what type of property you have.

Rooftops or balconiesRooftop

For buildings located in urban areas with limited space, rooftop green spaces are a great option. If you install outlets and a Wi-Fi connection, employees can enjoy a nice change of scenery without straying too far from their desks.

 

 

 

Patio

Patios

If you have pre-existing green space on your property, building a patio is an easy way to give your employees a place to escape the office. It can be used as a place to re-charge while eating lunch, or a peaceful alternative to the conference room for meetings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking trailsWalking trail

If your office building is on a large plot of land, creating a walking trail encourages exercise and team building. Employees can take a quick walk to get their creative juices flowing, or have business discussions that would have otherwise taken place over cubicle walls. As an added bonus, companies that encourage exercise as part of a wellness program often receive discounted rates on healthcare.

 

 

 

 

If you’re interesting in enhancing the outdoor space on your commercial property, Terracare Associates can help. Just check out our website to see the variety of services we offer to make your dream a reality.

What is Sustainable Landscaping?

The term ‘sustainable’ is everywhere, but what does it mean to our landscapes? The common perception is that sustainability in the landscape means drought resistant spaces that require little or no additional water, which are maintained with an unkempt aesthetic and mulched with rock. This is completely inaccurate. Sustainable landscapes get a bad rap because they are often installed improperly, and almost always misunderstood. There is a much more meaningful, and appealing approach to sustainable landscaping that is generally unknown.

So what are the main characteristics of a proper sustainable landscape? Sustainable landscaping

Sustainable landscapes are planned as complex ecosystems. Similar to nature, sustainable landscapes (also called regenerative landscapes) consider even the smallest niches to ensure the health and function of the complete system. These considerations start at the soil, move through the plant canopy and touch everything in between.

While they do generally require less water than a traditional landscape, the reality is more nuanced. They are designed with specific features and species that are able to thrive in the ecosystem in which they are placed. We have all seen soggy spots and dry spots in our own yards. Sustainable landscapes address these features as separate microclimates that require different materials. The soggy spots would house plants that require more water, while the dry spots would be populated with species acclimated to more arid conditions.

Soil Health

Sustainable landscapes place a high priority on soil health. Without healthy soil you cannot have a healthy ecosystem. Regenerative landscapes add organic matter and soil biology to the soil. Critters like bacteria, fungi and other microbial creatures are the most important part of the soil. These creatures and the soil they create are the “immune system” of the planet. Regenerative landscapes passively build soil health as they mature, strengthening the entire system.

NatSustainable landscapingive Plants

Native plant species are another big part of regenerative landscapes. Natives are perfectly adapted to local conditions like precipitation, temperatures, pests and seasonal changes. If natives don’t pack enough punch for your space, many great cultivars have been developed for superior color and foliage displays.

 

What can sustainable landscapes be?

Sustainable landscapes can be anything. They can carry almost any aesthetic; natural and wild looking, or clean and compartmentalized. -Even with the same plant palette. They can display blocks of color, or show off muted textures. Turf can also be installed and maintained sustainably. Harvard Yard has been doing it that way for years!

The quickest way to build a truly sustainable landscape is to start from the beginning, but with enough foresight and thought, existing landscapes can be transitioned to a regenerative space.

Pockets can be carved out of a commercial landscape to keep the budget under control, or entire campuses can be transitioned to make a bold statement to your clients and your employees.

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

 

Team Spotlight: Terracare Success is Teamwork

Steve, Lalo and Larenzo

Steve Valdez, Lorenzo Acosta, Lalo Chavez and Mario Ramos in Colorado landscape operations at Terracare Associates -TCA are an example of how much more can be accomplished when people work together. Teamwork almost seems a cliché, but at TCA it is the essence of a productive operation. Each part of their operation is held up by the trust and hard work of the other. With a combined 60 years of experience between them, they are an invaluable asset to TCA. This dynamic quad is described by co-workers and supervisors as dedicated and dependable team members who can always be counted on to get the job done and to do it well.

“I am extremely lucky to be able to work with Lalo, Steve, Lorenzo and Mario. They bring a new level of professionalism and a get it done attitude unlike any I have ever seen,” said Nate Adams, Colorado landscape branch manager at TCA.

They not only do their jobs well, they have the expertise and problem solving skills to give our customers top-notch service every day. Each one of them shows up with a great attitude and a passion for their work that shines through in each job they complete.

“We make a great team because we are able to communicate openly with each other,” said Steve. “We’re able to take each other’s ideas and work as a team, use technology and adjust our practices to efficiently get services to our clients and support our field crews.”

MarioSteve, Lorenzo, Lalo and Mario make up the field leadership team in Colorado and are responsible for deploying field crews, prioritizing projects, making recommendations on maintenance improvements and handling all on-site emergencies. The field leadership team works closely with account managers, whose main responsibility is to communicate directly with the customers and review assignments with the team. Account managers have an open book policy with field leadership teams to ensure that they are comfortable making suggestions. This open line of communication is the key to excellent customer service.

In addition to ongoing meetings with account managers, the team has scheduled weekly meetings to evaluate property maintenance, site performance and discuss their successes and improvements. They pride themselves on communicating openly with their crews and supporting their work and recommendations to produce the best possible outcome for each client. This is what teamwork is all about.

This field leadership team in Colorado has been working together for more than three years and it shows.

“I’m glad we can play our part in making the company stronger and growing with it. It really is a great place to work,” said Steve.

3 Landscape Enhancements Worth the Investment

Enhancements to a property are an easy way to add curb appeal and value to your property. So what’s holding you back from investing in enhancements for your property?

 

Terracare Associates — TCA knows that enhancement projects, which fall outside the ongoing maintenance contract, often fall to the bottom of the to-do list or budget allocation. However whether you’re investing for the first time or reinvesting in upgrading or refurbishing sections of your landscapes, many property managers agree that enhancement projects are worth the time, manpower, and budget allocation.

 

Before getting started on enhancements projects, work with your landscape provider to evaluate the purpose you want the enhancement to provide. They will help evaluate the main purpose for investing in landscape enhancements on your property include beautifying, safety and damage control, and cost savings. All enhancements should add a clear purpose or interest to your landscape. For instance, when adding sprinklers or irrigation to a property make sure that proper drainage is installed as well. This ensures excess water can properly drain so areas do not flood, become damaging to concrete or unsafe to visitors.

 

Once you’ve evaluated the purpose for enhancement to your property, here are three quick ideas for enhancements worth investing in right now:

1.Integrated Perennial Plants

Perennial plants return year after year blooming on their own. Perennial flower beds and plants (often referred to in short as “perennials”) help enhance a property in two ways — reducing costs and establishing a property. While the upfront costs for purchasing perennials can be substantial, over the long-term, they reduce costs by enabling properties to purchase and plant flowers once. They also can make a property feel like it’s been there longer. As Terracare Associates Enhancements Manager, Khalana Gocken notes, “Perennials attract investment. They give visitors and passersby the impression the property is established, approachable, and pays attention to detail.” In addition, your landscape provider can recommend annuals flowers to add pop of color to incorporate with perennials creating that “wow” factor for your landscape.

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2. Trees

It’s no secret that trees add value to your property. Trees provide shade and cool the surrounding area, help create a welcoming atmosphere around a property, and provide food and shelter for wildlife. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture believes, “The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.” Trees can save money and protect the visitors from the harsh hot summer sun. However, adding trees shouldn’t be haphazard; every tree is different so think about the ideal placement for the size, shape, and growth habits of each tree. Your landscape provider can work with you to find the perfect trees for your landscape needs.

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3.Drainage

So you’ve invested in trees, bushes, shrubs, and flower beds – a big rain storm hits your property and the surrounding area and now it is flooded. But you haven’t invested in adequate drainage so your plants are drowning in excess water having nowhere to flow. Worst yet, poor drainage can flood area buildings, parking lots, and even surrounding parking areas and roads making it unsafe. Keeping your landscape, plants, and trees properly watered by allowing excess water to drain is extremely important to your property. In severe cases, building detention or retention ponds, serving an important flood control, may be necessary in extreme flood stricken areas. Swales are low track lands, specifically moist or marshy land areas, that can be naturally created or manmade, and are designed to manage water runoff, filter pollutants, and guide water run off away from populated areas. All of these drainage enhancements can protect your property investment from rain and snow run off making your landscape areas safe and healthy.

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Looking to add enhancements to your property? Why not drop Terracare Associates a line to learn how our experts would help add value to your property?