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Landscape Maintenance vs Management: What’s the Difference?

If you are landscaping from scratch or planning to give an existing landscape a makeover, you would have heard these two terms: landscape maintenance and landscape management. Though landscape maintenance and management go hand-in-hand, the two terms should not be used interchangeably.

Landscape Maintenance

Maintaining a landscape involves taking steps to prevent it from deteriorating. During a maintenance session, your landscaper’s team will perform different tasks including: pruning plants, trimming tree branches, watering grass and flower beds, and laying down fresh mulch. Shrubs, trees, and flowers keep evolving. You cannot create a plan and expect it to last indefinitely. Your provider will periodically modify your maintenance plan to ensure the evolving needs of your plants and trees are met. Landscape maintenance professionals have a plan to reverse or stop any deterioration they notice. If your grass is beginning to dry out and turn brown unexpectedly, your provider’s team will perform reactionary tasks in addition to regularly scheduled tasks. Remember that the purpose of maintenance is to mitigate symptoms of landscape deterioration rather than solving the underlying issue. So, when your soil loses moisture, the maintenance team will water your lawn more frequently to mitigate the symptoms of moisture loss, instead of trying to find the root cause of the problem and treating it. Some common landscape maintenance services include: • Pruning • Detailing • Weeding • Mulching • Fertilizing • Pest control • Mowing • Raking

Landscape Management

Landscape management is a broader concept than landscape maintenance. A landscape management plan lays emphasis on the development of garden areas. The primary goal of landscape management is to get ahead of underlying issues and prevent them from occurring. It also involves mitigation when issues are expected. The focus of landscape management is to treat the root causes of issues, not just their symptoms. Before starting to work on your project, your contractor will take a tour of your garden to study such things as, the topography and slope of your yard. They will evaluate your soil and vegetation to acquire an in-depth understanding of the potential challenges impacting your garden. The professional will also interview you to better understand your needs, desire, expectations, and concerns. One large difference between maintenance and management is with water use for your landscape. With maintenance comes physical adjustments, repairs and cleaning of irrigation system components. Physical programming of an irrigation timer as well. The management part is setting up the irrigation system to meet the actual water needs of the plants installed or a water budget, using at least 8 data points. After they have answers to each of their questions, your contractor will be able to formulate a plan of action that’s tailor made to meet your unique landscaping needs. With a set maintenance plan, your lawn care company will continue to do the same tasks all year round even when there is a change in seasonal weather. On the other hand, a landscape management company will tweak their services to meet diverse lawn care needs, nutritional needs, apply integrated pest management and water budgeting as the means to program the maintenance duties and tasks. Our mission at Gardenworks is to help homeowners turn their design ideas into reality and transform their landscaping. Want to give your landscape a makeover but do not know where to start? Call our office at (707) 857-2050.


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