What does grounds maintenance mean?

What does grounds maintenance mean? Let’s break it down…

What are grounds?

While grounds are usually associated with commercial or industrial sites, the word can be applied to any public or private outdoor area, including parks, public gardens, recreational areas and domestic gardens or yards. In fact, the term sometimes incorporates indoor areas (e.g. plant nurseries) too.

Two types of maintenance

In simple terms, there are two types of maintenance: corrective and preventative. Corrective maintenance is the least efficient because it is only carried out once a problem has been recognised.

For example, pruning an overgrown tree which has encroached on a public right of way is corrective. Corrective maintenance is usually more expensive, since the work is more involved.

There may also be issues with contractor availability, especially where there is a seasonal aspect (e.g. leaf litter build-up in autumn or frozen paths in winter).

Leaving grounds to become neglected before attending to them can also lead to extensive damage. For example, overgrown trees can damage walls and fences, adding to your repair bill.

Preventative maintenance is a better strategy for businesses and homeowners. Having a regular maintenance plan in place prevents most problems from occurring in the first place, while bringing others to attention before they cause any damage. Since contractors are booked a year in advance, there are fewer problems with availability.

So what does grounds maintenance mean in practise? Grounds maintenance covers a wide range of tasks, so it can be useful to group them into separate areas.

The four main areas of ground maintenance are:

  • Lawn care
  • Pruning
  • Planting
  • Clearing

Caring for public and private lawns

Lawns and other grassed areas can quickly become unsightly without regular mowing and trimming. Lawn care is a core element of ground maintenance.

Pruning trees, shrubs and hedges

Pruning is a vital activity that has an impact on productivity (amount of fruit and flowers) and the overall health and shape of plants. Arborists specialise in this area and can optimise the health and appearance of your trees and bushes, applying treatments where necessary.

Planting trees and flower beds

Effective planting is a specialist task that requires an understanding of the needs of each tree, shrub, flower, grass type, etc. and the physical characteristics of the grounds (soil type, light, drainage, etc.).

Clearing paths, roads and areas of land

From keeping the path of a nursing home free from slippery leaves to clearing an acre of land for a tree-planting project, grounds clearance is an important element of grounds maintenance.

Other tasks that can come under the umbrella of grounds maintenance include watering and managing irrigation systems; mulching; pest control; weeding and soil aeration.

The 3 benefits of grounds maintenance

We’ve covered the basic definition and types of work, but what does grounds maintenance mean for the customer? Why is it so important?

The three main benefits of having well-maintained grounds are:

  • Health and safety
  • Appearance (aesthetics)
  • Usability

First, well-maintained grounds provide a healthy and safe environment.

When grounds become overgrown, they can pose a serious risk to the health and safety of anyone living in, working or visiting them. Long grass can conceal hazards such as ponds, waste and old machinery, while trees and bushes can grow against and underneath walls, fences and buildings, causing them to become unstable.

Leaves, mould and debris can build up on neglected paths, causing tripping and slipping hazards. Diseases and rogue plants, some of which could be harmful to humans or pets, can start to spread.

The second main benefit of regular maintenance is optimising the appearance of your grounds. Having attractive grounds is not just a matter of pride and enjoyment, it also has financial benefits. For event venues and public attractions, pleasant grounds can encourage people to visit, return and spread positive messages via social media and word of mouth.

For a business premises, clean and tidy grounds give the impression of a well-run establishment, encouraging more custom. And for both homes and commercial premises, well-maintained grounds will often increase the value of the property and increase the likelihood of a sale.

A third benefit, less often mentioned, is that keeping your grounds maintained will ensure they remain fit for purpose. For example, if the grass on a sports field is allowed to grow too long, or the markings are not kept bright and clear, this can affect the performance of the individuals and teams competing on it. In some cases, games or events can be called off due to the poor state of repair of the grounds.

Have you looked at our Ground Maintenance service?

What does grounds maintenance mean to Kneebone Trees? We can provide most of the services detailed above, and as qualified arboriculturists, we are specialists in tree care, including pruning, planting and removal.

We always prioritise health and safety and will treat your grounds, staff and visitors with respect. Although we can carry out ad-hoc services, we recommend talking to us about our cost-effective grounds maintenance contracts.

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