The Groundskeeping Checklist Every Property Manager Needs

  • Written by: Killingsworth Environmental
  • March 29, 2019

The Ultimate Groundskeeping To-Do List

You know the old saying, “You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover”? While that’s true, it’s not always practiced—especially when it comes to groundskeeping.

When prospective tenants are looking for a new place to call home, you never want them to tuck tail and run when they see your property! As a property manager, it’s up to you to make sure your grounds are in tip-top shape, all through the year.

To help keep your landscaping fresh and inviting—and keep pests away—follow along with our ultimate groundskeeping checklist. (Heck, print it out while you’re at it and check it off as you go!)

Alright, it’s time to dive in and get your grounds looking brand new and pest-free! Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Choose the right plants

When planning out your landscaping, choose plants that one, can survive in the areas you plant them, and two, keep pests away. For example, you don’t want to plant a flower that needs to be in the sun in an area that stays in the shade. The goal here is working towards a green thumb, so you don’t want to kill the plants you just planted right off the bat!

Choosing plants that keep pests away will help your landscaping more than you know! Keeping pests out of lawns and gardens is a plus, but keeping as many away from tenants’ homes is what keeps them resigning. There are quite a few plants that are known to deter pests, but the most notable is chrysanthemums.

Chrysanthemums are known to deter pests like ants, Japanese beetles, roaches, bed bugs and more. Consider planting these around different areas of your grounds not only for the aesthetic but also to keep pests out of key areas of your property.

Step 2: Trim your trees

Not only do overgrown trees and shrubs look unsightly, but they offer plenty of hiding places for pests and wildlife, too! If your property is covered in trees, chances are you have pests like squirrels around. To deter squirrels (and other wildlife) from hiding in shrubs, or climbing all over your property, shape up your shrubs!

Trim any tree limbs that may be giving wildlife access into different areas of your property. It’s easy for pests like squirrels to run down a limb and leap onto the roof. Once there, you never know what kind of damage they might cause on the outside—not to mention what could happen if they get inside!

On the ground, maintain shrubs so that pests don’t have any hiding places. This includes regular trimming, as well as frequent maintenance such as raking away dead leaves or picking up fallen twigs. You’re bound to notice the difference in groundskeeping when your trees and shrubs are properly trimmed.

Step 3: Mulch it over

In natural areas, use mulch to retain water and help plants grow. A fresh layer of mulch will do wonders for your grounds! Not only will your plants be fed, but your landscaping will look refreshed, too. Just be sure you’re removing old mulch before laying new mulch down. You don’t want it piling up too much.

Plants won’t be the only things enjoying your mulch though. Since mulch retains water, it’s likely to attract pests like termites. To avoid termite damage, try keeping mulch a few feet away from any foundation. This will make it more difficult for termites to make their way into your structures.

To learn more about the threats termite pose to your property, check out our blog,

Termite Awareness Month: Termite Control for Property Managers.

Step 4: Water your plants

It’s no secret plants need water to survive. Make sure you are frequently watering your plants to keep them healthy. But don’t overwater them! Overwatering plants can harm them, and the excess moisture is bound to attract pests.

To keep pests from having a move-in day of their own, keep an eye on the areas of your property that receive the most moisture. If you have a sprinkler system, make sure the sprinklers aren’t working overtime or covering your foundations in water. Also, be aware of potential areas that may not be draining water properly. Improper drainage could harm your foundations, and be a breeding ground for pests.

The goal is to keep your grounds and property healthy, so don’t take chances when it comes to excess moisture and pests!

Step 5: Prepare for changing conditions

Are your plants annuals, biennials or perennials? Annual plants grow, bloom and die all within a year, unlike biennial plants that normally survive two years before dying. Perennials, on the other hand, can last three growing seasons or more. Knowing the life cycles of your plants is crucial to proper maintenance and planning.

Do your plants need lots of sun, a little sun, or no sun at all? Make sure to plant them in areas that will allow them to thrive. Besides, dead, wilted flowers will look worse than no flowers at all!

Make sure the flowers you have planted are ones that you can properly maintain. Also, chat with your groundskeeping team to create a landscaping plan. In the event of bad storms or unexpected weather, you need to have a plan in place to keep your landscaping maintained.

Groundskeeping To-Don’ts

To make sure your landscaping stays beautiful for years to come, here are some things you shouldn’t do:

Don’t: Plant without a plan

When you’re deciding on plants to place around your property, don’t start planting willy-nilly! Create a groundskeeping plan so that your grounds look put together, rather than a colorful mess.

Plan out where each plant needs to go based on its type, color, and size. Make sure each plant has enough room to grow, and that its colors compliment those around it!

Having a plan for your plants will keep your property looking top-notch—and it’ll pay off big time with prospective tenants!

Don’t: Leave weeds unattended

With any lawn or garden, you’re bound to have weeds. Without a proper weed control plan in place, weeds will run rampant all over your property!

By using preventative methods such as pre-emergent herbicides, mulch, and some pulling and hoeing, you should be able to keep weeds to a minimum.

Don’t: Overdo it

Less is definitely more when it comes to healthy landscaping. While you don’t want to skimp on the number of plants you have, you definitely don’t want to overdo it either!

Too many plants can overcrowd your lawn, making it difficult for each plant to get the nutrients it needs to grow. Not to mention, plant overload won’t look appealing to tenants either! When creating a groundskeeping plan, make sure to keep track of how many plants you place in one area. That way you can be sure you have the perfect amount.

Also, don’t over or under fertilize your plants! Too much fertilizer can burn your grass, and too little can damage your grounds. When in doubt, always contact a specialist.

Don’t: Forget to call Killingsworth

When it comes to commercial lawn care, you should always “Get your Killingsworth”! As a property manager, we know worrying about lawn care is not how you want, or need, to spend your time.

We want to help you appeal to new tenants, and maintain current ones, through beautiful, healthy groundskeeping. We have over 26 years of experience with lawn maintenance, so we know a thing or two about groundskeeping do’s and don’ts.  

Ready to tackle landscaping and give your property the healthy look it deserves? Perfect! Here are two things to get you started:

  1. Download our Killingsworth Workbook to get all of the tips, tricks, and checklists for the perfect lawn.
  2. Get in touch with us to talk about all the ways commercial lawn care and landscaping can benefit your property!

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