5 Advantages to Writing Maintenance Specs Specific to your Site
Specifications for landscape maintenance are instructions to the contractors performing the work – mowing, pruning, leaf clean up, irrigation management, pest monitoring and control, etc. They are written by professionals knowledgeable in horticulture, plant care, irrigation and landscape management. With a landscape inventory in place, maintenance specs specific to your site, and input from owners and managers, we can now drive effective long term landscape management plans within a clients budget.
- Intent of the task – why is the landscape contractor being asked to perform the task? What is the desired result and how specifically will it be achieved? For example, turf care. Simply stating that the turf shall be mowed and green gives the contractor a lot of room for interpretation. It could be a patch of green weeds which gets mowed once a month and that would meet the requirement of the spec. Too vague.
- Reference standards – in horticulture, standards for pruning, irrigation, mowing, planting, etc. exist. We do not have to reinvent the wheel. Simply make the bidders aware of the standards and how they will be enforced. The standards are accepted industry wide as best practices for landscape assets.
- Include specs in contract – Specifications for landscape maintenance are a vital part of the landscape contract. Contractors can bid competitively because they are all bidding the exact same things. Sites should be writing their own specs and contracts, having the contractor sign their document. Not the other way around.
- Consensus – all parties involved know what is expected, how to achieve it and how it will be monitored. Input from stakeholders is recognized to drive effective results on their site.
- Planning – revisit maintenance specs each year and decide if there are edits necessary. Look at the budget and see where the most money is spent on landscape maintenance. Hedging 6 times a year, water leaks, unused turf areas, blowing away costly mulch with the leaves, heavy fertilizer use, etc. can all be mitigated with good planning. With hindsight, we can plan better into the future for enhancements and upgrades to make sites more resource sustainable.