The Evolution of Grounds Management Solutions

Facility Management
Published on:
January 1, 2024
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Ground management is a critical part of the success of any property. The first impression of your property directly affects the public's perception.

We often like to call this curb appeal. This is in reference to the attractiveness of a property’s exterior, particularly as viewed from the street. In the context of a business, curb appeal can refer to the appearance of a building, storefront, and surrounding landscape seen from the road.

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According to a recent study, curb appeal accounts for 70% of first-time sales. Gaining new clients is half the battle, so how can you give your business this extra boost? It’s simple - invest in grounds management solutions.

Infographic of Curb Appeal of Effective Grounds Management

Grounds managers typically have poor processes for documentation and communication, which can lead to miscommunication and unsafe conditions.

The Grounds Management Solutions industry has changed a lot over the years. This shift has begun to focus on technology, sustainability, increased specialization, and greater integration with other systems.

Today, grounds management software is an integral part of many commercial spaces that are looking for ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs—and we're proud to be at the forefront of this movement!

This technology helps alleviate these concerns by providing an easy way to keep track of all aspects of grounds management, including maintenance schedules, service records, equipment maintenance, repairs, and more.

What is Grounds Management?

Grounds management refers to maintaining and managing an organization's grounds, such as a business, school, or public facility. This can include tasks such as landscaping, mowing the lawn, watering plants, removing debris, and maintaining walkways and other outdoor features.

The goal is to create and maintain an attractive, functional, and safe outdoor environment for the organization. This can involve a variety of tasks, depending on the specific needs and goals of the organization.

Market value of landscaping

Grounds management can be performed by in-house staff or outsourced to a grounds management company. In either case, it is vital to have efficient processes and tools in place to ensure that the grounds are well-maintained and that tasks are completed promptly and efficiently.

IBIS World acknowledges that the landscaping service industry has a market value of $128.8 billion in the United States. To say that this is a critical aspect of business management is an understatement.

So, how can you meet the needs of proper grounds management? Let’s dive in.

What is Needed for Grounds Management?

Ground management is the art of keeping your property looking its best. It requires a lot of knowledge and skill, but it also requires hard work and dedication. 

Grounds management starts with surveying your property to identify any problems and then making plans for how you can fix those problems. For example, if you have overgrown or dying trees, you should plan how to cut them down and remove them from your property.

Chart of Effective Grounds Management Strategy

You'll also have to decide what types of plants will work best for your location. For example, if you live in an area where it gets scorching during the summer months, it may not be wise to plant trees that require a lot of water; they might die due to lack of water during those hot months. 

On the other hand, if you live in an area that gets snow during winter months, it might be best not to plant plants that can't survive freezing temperatures—they may not stay alive until spring arrives!

Grounds management is a surprisingly complex field. While it might not seem like grounds management requires much, it can be a big task to manage the grounds of a large property.

Here are six crucial aspects needed for effective grounds management:

🔧 Tools and equipment

Depending on the specific tasks involved, grounds management may require various tools and equipment, such as lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, rakes, and pruning tools.

🧰 Materials and supplies

Grounds management may also require a variety of materials and supplies, such as fertilizers, pesticides, mulch, and other products that are used to maintain and improve the grounds.

🧑 Skilled personnel

Effective grounds management typically requires trained and skilled personnel who can use the tools and equipment and apply the materials and supplies safely and effectively.

📋 Processes and procedures

This typically involves a variety of tasks that need to be completed in a specific order, and it is essential to have transparent processes and procedures in place to ensure that tasks are completed efficiently and effectively.

📝 Documentation and record keeping

Proper documentation and record keeping are vital for tracking the completion of tasks and maintaining a history of the grounds. This can be helpful for compliance purposes and for planning future maintenance activities.

💰 Budget and financial resources

Effective grounds management requires sufficient budget and financial resources to support the necessary tools, materials, and personnel. It is essential to plan and manage these resources carefully to ensure that the grounds are well-maintained and that tasks are completed promptly and effectively.

Why is Grounds Management Important?

Grounds management is the upkeep and maintenance of outdoor spaces, including parks, gardens, athletic fields, and other green spaces. These spaces play a vital role in the aesthetic appeal and functionality of our communities, and their proper maintenance is essential for the health and well-being of residents and visitors alike. From maintaining the beauty of a public park to ensuring the safety of an athletic field, grounds management is critical for maintaining the quality of life in our communities.

Chart of Why is grounds management important

There are many benefits to grounds management:

🏠 Aesthetics

Well-maintained grounds can improve the overall appearance of an organization, creating a more attractive and welcoming environment for employees, customers, and clients. 

🦺 Safety

Ground maintenance can help improve safety by ensuring that all walkways are clear of debris and hazards around the property. 

💵 Maintaining the value of your property

Properly maintained grounds could help increase the value of any property, making it more appealing to potential buyers or tenants.

🎉 Reputation

Curb appeal can enhance the reputation of an organization, as it can be seen as a sign of professionalism and attention to detail.

In addition to these benefits, grounds management helps reduce the resources needed to maintain a property. This means less energy consumption and fewer greenhouse gas emissions from waste disposal.

New Trends in Grounds Management

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), small off-road engines (such as those used in lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and other outdoor power equipment) are a significant source of air pollution, particularly in urban areas. 

These engines can emit pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds. This directly contributes to poor air quality and negatively impacts public health.

To reduce the air pollution associated with grounds management, it is essential to use clean and efficient equipment and practices and to maintain and operate equipment to minimize emissions properly. 

Chart of Top trends in grounds management

In addition, alternative maintenance methods, such as manual labor or electric equipment, can also help reduce air pollution from grounds management activities.

Some potential negative impacts of grounds management on the environment include:

💧 Water pollution

The use of synthetic chemicals, such as fertilizers and pesticides, can contribute to water pollution if they are not used correctly or washed off the grounds into nearby waterways.

🍃 Air pollution

Using gas-powered equipment, such as lawnmowers and leaf blowers, can emit pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. According to a recent study by Edmund, a consumer-grade leaf blower releases more pollutants than a high-performance pick-up truck.

🌳 Habitat destruction

The removal of native plants and the planting of non-native species can disrupt local ecosystems and habitats and may harm local wildlife.

🌤️ Climate change

The use of fossil fuels to power equipment and the production and transportation of synthetic chemicals can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Several trends in grounds management are emerging in recent years to minimize these negative impacts, including

🌻 Sustainability

Sustainable landscaping practices are techniques and materials used in grounds management to minimize the environmental impact of outdoor spaces and improve the sustainability of the landscape. 

Some examples of commonly used environmentally friendly practices in grounds management include drought-resistant plants, organic fertilizers, water-saving irrigation systems, and recycled materials.

Chart of Environmental impact of gas engines

📱 Use of technology

There is an increasing use of technology in grounds management, including software and digital tools that can help to streamline and automate tasks, improve communication and collaboration, and track and manage resources.

Specialization - Artificial Turf

There is an increasing trend towards specialization within the grounds management industry, with some companies focusing on specific areas such as sports turf management.

Artificial turf is a popular and versatile option for grounds management and can offer a number of benefits, including low maintenance, environmental friendliness, durability, and versatility.

Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure is a term used to describe the use of natural elements and processes to manage stormwater and reduce the impact of development on the environment. 

Some examples of green infrastructure commonly used in grounds management include green roofs, rain gardens, and permeable pavement

💡 Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting is a growing trend in grounds management, as it can enhance the aesthetic appeal and safety of outdoor spaces. LED lighting is often used for its energy efficiency and durability.

💪🏻 Focus on health and wellness

There is a growing focus on using grounds management to create outdoor environments that promote health and wellness, such as by incorporating features such as walking paths or outdoor fitness equipment.

Adopting sustainable practices and technologies in grounds management can improve a business's reputation. It demonstrates a commitment to environmental stewardship and can be seen as a sign of corporate responsibility.

In a recent survey by Deloitte, 87% of consumers believe companies have a result to address environmental issues. This new trend in consumer spending suggests that your brand must encompass sustainability to stay competitive.

Grounds Management Solutions for Tracking and Measurement

Tracking and measurement are essential to meeting the goals and objectives of grounds management. Traditional methods of tracking and measurement include pen and paper or radio communication.

Using pen and paper or radio communication to track and measure grounds management activities can be time-consuming and prone to errors, as it requires manual data entry and relies on accurate communication between staff. It can be difficult to accurately track and measure tasks using these methods, mainly if multiple staff members work on different tasks simultaneously.

Grounds management software can significantly improve data tracking efficiency and accuracy. With software, staff can use tablets or other mobile devices to track and measure their work in real time, and the data can be automatically synced to a central database. 

This can help reduce the risk of errors and ensure that the organization has accurate and up-to-date data on the condition of the grounds and the progress of maintenance tasks.

Benefits of Using Grounds Management Solutions like Xenia

Using grounds management solutions like Xenia can help businesses manage their outdoor spaces better, leading to increased profitability and growth. These software solutions offer a range of features and capabilities that can help companies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their grounds management activities.

Some of the features and capabilities of software solutions like the one Xenia offers include:

👍 Standardization of processes

Xenia is a comprehensive software platform that allows you to standardize procedures for every client's groundskeeping needs. With the Form Template Library and Builder, you can create and customize checklists and forms that ensure every aspect of the process is followed, from planting and soil preparation to landscaping and maintenance. Additionally, the ability to require images and checklist completion ensures accountability and quality, giving your clients peace of mind.

🛠️ Work Order Management & Task Scheduling

The Task and Work Order Management feature allows you to easily assign tasks and work orders to your team, providing details such as the task's location, priority, and start and due date. This ensures that all tasks are tracked, and progress can be monitored in real-time. Plus, with the ability to attach templates, you can easily ensure that standard operating procedures (SOPs) are followed, increasing safety and quality assurance.

The Task and Work Order Scheduling feature is another powerful tool that allows you to standardize and streamline preventive maintenance by scheduling inspections and PPMs on machinery such as lawn mowers, blowers, power tools, hedge clippers and more. This helps to ensure that all machinery is operating at its best and that any issues are identified and addressed in a timely manner.

💻 Real-time tracking and monitoring

Track and monitor grounds management activities in real-time, providing up-to-date information on the condition of the grounds and the progress of maintenance tasks. Require photos and make notes about the condition of the grounds, providing a record of the grounds' health efficiency.

📲 Communication

The messaging feature of Xenia allows you to communicate with your team quickly and easily. This feature allows you to send company-wide, team or individual messages and also message within tasks to loop in teammates or ask for help. This streamlines communication of teams in the field, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and that issues are resolved quickly.

📊 Reporting

Generate reports on the condition of the grounds and the progress of maintenance tasks, providing valuable insights into the effectiveness of the organization's grounds management activities.

Using software technology for grounds management will improve labor tracking, streamline communication, and enhance customer satisfaction. Take your business to the next level with Xenia.

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