Creating a Lively Landscape on a Budget
By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | March 29, 2015
Hotel executives must make tough budget decisions every day. When funds are limited, it’s tempting to limit expenditures on a hotel’s exterior landscape. But this is a mistake—a beautiful landscape can bring more guests (and, consequently, more revenue) through the door. If you’re working with a limited budget, follow these best practices to make sure that you see a positive return on your landscaping investment.
Start with the Basics: Before Your Invest, Evaluate Your Maintenance Plan and Your Landscape
Before you talk to your landscaping contractor about making any big investments on your hotel’s property—take a deep breath—and evaluate the landscape first. The easiest way to improve a hotel’s overall look and feel (without breaking the bank) is to look over your routine maintenance procedures and make sure that they are effective and efficient. At a bare minimum, your property should appear clean, safe, and well taken care of. Sidewalks, curbs, parking lots, and flowerbeds should be crisply edged at all times. If that’s not the case, it’s time to talk with your landscaper and reset expectations. These regular maintenance services should be included in your contract, so there should be no additional cost to you.
Refreshing your mulch throughout the year, at least four or five times annually, is cost-effective way to keep your landscape looking continuously fresh. Many hoteliers replace their mulch right before spring or sometime during the warmer months, so by the fall and winter the landscape looks tired. Having your contractor replace the mulch regularly gives your property a well-cared-for appearance and helps your shrubs and flowers stand out. Replacing mulch also is a very minimal cost and definitely won’t make a dent in your budget. So it’s a good conversation to have with your contractor, if you’re looking to brighten up your property.
Additionally, replacing any unhealthy or unsightly shrubs, plans, or turf is absolutely essential. You and your landscaper should routinely survey to identify landscape elements that need to be replaced. Staying on top of “one-off” issues will save you the money (and time) of more extensive landscape overhauls down the road.
Invest in High-Traffic Areas, and Keep Your Target Customer in Mind
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