Visitors often ask me, "Who takes care of your facility?" Their question really is, "Who maintains the grounds at your Complex?" They ask because they want to compliment the appearance of the grounds around our offices; especially considering the drought last summer.
The answer could be the same for any park, recreational center, golf course, athletic complex, school or college campus. The responsible individuals mow for a large percentage of the time because the grass grows from April to November. As a result, they are often referred to as "yardmen" or "lawnmen."
There is much more to it than that, though. In reality these individuals prune, plant, re-plant, redesign the landscape, transplant, fertilize, irrigate, diagnose problems with plants; and, yes, they mow. It would be appropriate to refer to these individuals as grounds maintenance professionals.
The point of this article is to praise the professionals who are responsible for the public's image of your facility. The most lasting image of your organization is made when the visitor is approaching your offices. This is their first impression, so it better look right. If a picture is worth a thousand words, your landscape should speak volumes. This initial impression should come from a well-maintained landscape and trimmed turfgrass. Often, a landscape may outgrow its initial design or it may have been mismanaged in the past. Sometimes it is necessary to replace a planting after 10-15 years, similar to your living room furniture, kitchen appliances, or vehicle.
This is a good time of year to evaluate your landscape's function and appearance. If you already have a landscape manager, there are several meetings in Oklahoma and Texas for his or her continued professional development. If you decide you need to hire one, the Land Grant Universities in our area are good sources of potential turfgrass and grounds managers.
Image is vital to any business and we only have one chance to make that first impression a positive one that will stay with the potential client, investor, employee, donor, etc. The appearance of your facility's landscape is the first thing a visitor encounters and therefore is a major component of your image. If you would like more information on the benefits of a professional grounds manager, or assistance in locating one, give me a call.