5 Budget Tips For Commercial Property Managers

Each year, as a commercial property owner, you make a budget for landscape maintenance. And each year do unexpected costs arise? Even with careful planning, organizing and budgeting you may still be taken off guard.

 

Let Terracare help! Here are the benchmarks you need to make sure your budget covers to meet your landscaping goals.

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 applications needed, how many services are desired and provided. 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 have you wanted to add an unplanned enhancement to your property? 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 is the company’s safety record? Does the landscape provider hire certified, trained professionals? What awards nationally or regionally has their company won? It is very important to make sure you have all your questions answered before you enter a contract.

4. Prioritize enhancements

Analyze which services or projects 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 to avoid unexpected expenses.

5. Hire a qualified 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 your commercial property landscape goals or you need help to define a plan, take a moment, and schedule a consultation with your Project Manager at Terracare Associates. We at Terracare will help you achieve all your commercial landscape goals.

Schedule an Appointment.

The Benefits of Drip Irrigation

High summer heat can severely affect our trees, shrubs and turf grasses. With the climbing temperatures comes higher water costs. If you are a commercial property manager looking for ways to keep your landscape healthy and costs down, drip irrigation is your answer.

What is drip irrigation?

Drip irrigation is a low volume watering system that applies a small amount of water directly to plants over a period of time.

The benefits of drip irrigation:

Plant health

Landscape experts agree that low volume irrigation systems promote plant health by reducing changes in soil moisture levels. Drip irrigation can also be beneficial in avoiding plant diseases by limiting the amount of water on the plant’s foliage. A properly designed drip irrigation system will deliver water to your landscape at a uniform soil depth. This will bring the water to the root zone instead of to the surface of the planted area.

Water waste

Water is applied where it is most needed and is not wasted on unplanted areas or on streets and sidewalks.  Since the drip system is located closer to the root, little water is lost in evaporation. As a result, this process makes it extremely effective in controlling landscape water usage.

Maintenance costs

Another benefit of drip irrigation is lower maintenance costs. Because sprinkler systems can spray water onto unplanted areas, property managers must factor in the cost of eroded walkways and pavement, rotted wood fences, and peeling paint and plaster.

A properly designed and installed drip irrigation system can be a low cost and low maintenance option for many property owners. Contact the irrigation specialists at Terracare Associates to make healthy landscape changes that will meet all of your drip irrigation needs.

Your Irrigation System Checklist

Many property owners unintentionally over water their landscape every time their sprinkler system turns on. Using an automated irrigation system is one of the best ways to keep your lawn and landscape beautiful and healthy. A good irrigation system is also one of the best ways to keep watering costs low and protect the environment.

Are you planning to upgrade or make significant repairs to your irrigation system this year? There are a number of things you should consider before you invest in an irrigation system.

Investing in a good irrigation system

Plan carefully for a reliable, flexible irrigation system that can grow along with your property. The old adage, “You get what you pay for,” is often true, especially when you are investing in an irrigation system that can last for many years.

By using the best components you can afford, you minimize future maintenance and extend the lifetime cost of your system.

Plan for plant health

Designing an efficient irrigation system requires understanding of irrigation design principles and local environmental conditions. Even the best irrigation design won’t perform well if installed incorrectly or with inferior components. Something as simple as selecting the correct type of pipe can mean the difference between a system that lasts and one that requires ongoing repairs.

In addition to proper irrigation components, you should also consider your property’s features. You should select the appropriate trees, turf and plants that have right requirements for your area.

Plan your irrigation zones carefully, grouping plants with similar water needs together. Be sure your system will have enough capacity, both now and in the future. The more irrigation zones you plan, the more you can tailor watering even if you modify landscaping.

  • Include “smart” controls that automatically adjust watering based on rain, soil moisture, evaporation and plant water use.
  • Use quality components to minimize future maintenance needs and the total lifetime cost of your system.

Plan for Growth and Flexibility

Allow for future landscape redesigns and changes to your property.  The plants, turf areas and trees on your property each have different watering needs. Over time, these needs may change and your system should have the flexibility to change along with them.

Keep future expansion in mind when you install a new irrigation system. You will want to allow for excess irrigation zone capacity, including extra connections in your system design, to make it easier and less expensive to expand in the future.

Select an appropriate system for your property’s water pressure. Having water pressure that is either too low or too high can seriously affect an irrigation system’s performance.

If you have questions about how to improve your irrigation system, contact Terracare Associate’s irrigation specialists.

2018 Summer Weather Predictions. Will your Region Experience a Drought?

Summer is almost here! Now is the perfect time to evaluate your region’s weather. By doing this now you can prepare for any restrictions and potential drought conditions in your area. For these forecasts, we chose to use The Farmer’s Almanac along with other accredited weather sources.

10NorthCityReclamationPlant_previewCalifornia:

California is projected to have warmer conditions that combined with dryness can pose a risk for wildfires and drought. The southwestern part of the state will surely will be affected by these conditions the most. Additionally, The Farmer’s Almanac states, “the hottest periods will be from late May into early June and in mid-June and mid-July”. Fortunately, rainfall should increase for the area from July to August and bring much needed relief to this region.

Colorado:

According to The Farmer’s Almanac, temperatures throughout Colorado will be “warm to hot” and “the hottest periods will be all of July and mid-August”. The biggest issue facing Colorado however is lack of snowfall from the previous winter. The Natural Resources Conservation Service says, “The state would need over 14,000 percent of its normal precipitation now to reach normal peak levels”.

Texas:

Texas is predicted to have a “very warm, average rainfall with plenty of thunderstorms” with “the hottest periods in mid-July and mid-August”. However, in spite of this rainfall, Texas currently has almost 50 percent of the state dealing with a drought that is still threatening to spread. In addition, the Texas Tribune says “six Texas cities already limit residents to two days a week of outdoor watering: Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Lubbock and The Woodlands”.

Drought conditions may seem daunting especially for your commercial property’s landscape. It may be hard to keep up the appeal you want while adhering to mandatory water restrictions. However, they do not have to be. Each Thursday this month, we will be releasing articles on how to respond to these conditions. Terracare can also help you with any questions you have in the meantime.  If you have any questions please contact us below!

Contact Us.

5 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

5 Budget Tips For Commercial Property Managers

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 applications needed, how many services are desired and provided. 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 decided 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 enter a contract.

4. Prioritize enhancements

Analyze which services or projects 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 to avoid unexpected expenses.

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 to choosing 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 Project Manager at Terracare Associates. We at Terracare will help you achieve all your commercial landscape goals.

Schedule an Appointment.

Winterizing Your Property’s Irrigation

With colder temperatures fast approaching it’s time to think about winterizing your property’s irrigation system. This will prevent water loss and icy walkways. Prepare your irrigation system for winter by performing a system audit to check for potential problems.

Step 1: Check the sprinkler heads

  • Check for missing or broken sprinkler heads and replace any broken sprinkler heads.

  • Remove clogged heads and clean the filter or replace, if necessary.

  • Adjust tilted heads to ensure that they are not spraying in the wrong direction.

  • Replace all leaky valves in the valve box to prevent leaking water and high water costs.

  • Remove and trim back grass, shrubs or other plants that cause misdirected or blocked spray pattern and obstruction of raising the heads.

  • Adjust the sprinkler heads to avoid spraying sidewalks, driveways or other hardscapes. This will not only save money on watering costs, but it will also prevent icy, slippery pedestrian walkways.

Step 2: Consider the watering needs of cool season plants

During colder weather many cool season plants need less water. Turf grasses like St. Augustine and Bermuda grass go dormant during the winter months. You need to adjust the timing and zone settings on your irrigation system to prevent over watering.

Step 3: Use weather-based smart controllers

SnowWeather-based controllers are designed to adjust your irrigation schedules based on weather conditions. These climate-based systems gather local weather information and factor in your exact landscape to make irrigation run-time adjustments so your landscape receives the appropriate amount of water.

Step 4 Install rain/freeze sensors

Contact the irrigation system specialists at Terracare Associates to ensure your property is ready for winter.

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%.
  • irrigationA 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.

(see call to action below)

Free Irrigation Audit

Tips for Water Wise Landscaping

After an unusually warm and dry winter in many parts of the country, it’s more important than ever to conserve water as summer approaches. What can you do to save your lawn and save money on your monthly water bill? Here are a few easy tips to help you be more water wise with your landscaping.

Drip systemPrevent water evaporation: Water your lawn early in the morning or in the evening, especially during the hot summer months. Never water on windy days. Use drip irrigation systems for bedded plants, trees, or shrubs and use low-angle sprinklers for lawns. Also, be sure to cover pools and spas to prevent loss of water through evaporation.

One inch of water is enough: Just one inch of water each week will keep most grasses healthy. To determine how long you should run your sprinklers — place straight-edged cans at various distances away from each sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill an average of 1 inch of water in each can.

MulchMulch… Mulch… Mulch!: Cover all flower beds and planted areas with mulch. It keeps the soil moist and slows down the evaporation of water from the soil, allowing water to infiltrate it efficiently. Maintain at least a 2 to 4 inch layer of mulch in all planted beds and containers.

Maintain your sprinkler system: Repair any broken, missing or misdirected sprinkler heads. You should also install rain and freeze sensors on your sprinkler system and monitor your total water usage.

Terracare Associates can help with any of your landscaping needs from installing a more efficient irrigation system to laying down mulch in your plant beds. Visit our website to see what we can do for you.

Free Irrigation Audit

Property Highlight: Ceronix, LLC

Our Sacramento area team helps manage and procure the grounds at Ceronix’s corporate headquarters in Auburn, California. The company is an online retailer and supplier for high quality LCD replacement monitors and outdoor displays. Within the Auburn community, Ceronix has become a special area for community and wildlife to relax and refresh. Here are some fun facts about the property:

  • The 21-acre corporate complex in northern California operates as a wildlife sanctuary.
  • Its corporate grounds double as a licensed bird sanctuary with rare exotic birds, fish, turtles, and other amphibians.
  • More than 30 different bird species inhabit the area
  • The series of streams and ponds are home to more than 2,500 koi fish.
  • The landscaping maintenance and enhancement projects are so extensive they require a full-time gardener, an aquatics specialist, and experienced crews on the property throughout the week.
  • The water filtration and management system was so complex that Ceronix worked with TCA and a pond system builder to build, adjust and dial-in efficiencies on new and improved water pumps and irrigations systems. This allowed the high phosphorus stream and pond water to be distributed by a booster pump into the irrigation. The changes to the system and filtration created a true recycled process for both fertilization and conserving water.

Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 6.29.47 PM Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 6.29.41 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in learning about the other properties we’ve maintained, enhanced and procured? Read about our work in Texas and Napa Valley, California.