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Winter Risk Management

With the snow finally disappearing for the year, the summer months are a great time for commercial property managers to review their winter risk management plans. Assessing winter risk management plans in the warmer months will help streamline plans, improve performance, control costs, and better ensure the safety of visitors, staff, and the workers performing snow-related services. More importantly, summer gives managers an opportunity to identify these areas for improvement before winter returns.

RISK IDENTIFICATION

The foundation of any effective winter risk management plan is risk identification. To put together an effective plan, a thorough site review or walk-through of the property needs to be conducted. The warm summer weather will make it easier to walk around and find possible issues that could be hiding under the snow and ice during winter. Make sure to inspect these key areas of your property:

1. Building Entrances
Exterior doorways are prime areas for slip-and-fall hazards. Managers should not ignore awnings and other door or window coverings, either. These areas can collect snow and create runoff that can refreeze after a snow event, creating hazardous conditions.

2. Walkways, Stairs, and Ramp
Any surface that customers, staff, or other individuals walk on will need to be kept clear of snow and ice to prevent hazardous conditions and liability concerns. Applying de-icer before a snow event starts is a great way to help prevent snow and ice from accumulating on these surfaces.

3. Parking Lots
Crews should keep curb lines and other obstructions, including fire hydrants and decorative structures, clear of snow and ice buildup. Making good notes of the layout of your lot will minimize the risk of damage to curbs, medians, or other structures.

4. Drainage
The slope of the property can cause water to flow onto pedestrian areas and freeze. Identifying these areas is key to ensuring safety. Faulty building drainage and inoperable drains need to be identified as well so that they can be improved or repaired and minimize the risk of run-off water pooling up and freezing.

5. Snow Storage
Where to put all of the plowed snow also needs to be considered. It can take weeks or sometimes months for large snow piles to melt completely! Snow piles should be placed where they will not block driver or pedestrian visibility, or create slipping hazards from frozen run-off water. If the property does not have a suitable area for keeping all the plowed snow where it does not create any risk of liability, off-site snow removal should be considered.

6. Damage
Any damaged areas could indicate that changes are needed to your snow management plan to keep your property looking its best. For example, cracked sidewalks may be a result of run-off water that didn’t drain properly, and was able to freeze and thaw repeatedly over time, or grass and landscape damage can result from the overuse of deicers or improper snow storage.

RISK ANALYSIS – PRIORITIZE, PREPARE, AND BE READY TO RESPOND

After your commercial property has been thoroughly reviewed, you will be able to create a proper winter risk management plan that prioritizes the most heavily-trafficked areas of the property. Having these preparation and response strategies in place, and implementing them productively, will minimize liability risks and maximize the efficiency of the staff on hand. Ensuring that your winter risk management plan can stay within budget is also crucial. An efficient plan will control costs as well as possible, saving you money and the stress of going over-budget. By assessing risks, prioritizing the most important areas that need to be cared for, being prepared for a snow event beforehand, and being ready to respond as soon as possible, you can build an excellent winter risk management plan that will be efficient, cost-effective, and will maximize safety while mitigating risk and liability as much as possible.

Call Property Perfect today: (651) 777-7530.

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Fall Landscaping Tips

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to keeping your landscaping top-notch. For instance, autumn is great time to plant trees, but a terrible time for pruning certain shrubs. Don't wait until spring to find out that your fall garden maintenance did more harm than good. Read on to learn what not to do in the garden this fall.

Letting Leaves Pile Up

Don't let fall leaves pile up

Leaf raking isn’t purely for aesthetics. Just because no one rakes the forest floor and the trees seem to do fine, don't assume your lawn will fare as well. Matted leaves left on your lawn all winter can suffocate grass and compromise airflow. Making things even worse, snow mold, a lawn fungal infection, can fester beneath the fallen leaves, leading to ugly dead areas.

Forgetting About Spring

Plant spring bulbs in fall

After a long winter, who wants to wait until April for the first spring flowers? Don't forget to take steps now to make sure your garden gets some early color next year. These cool fall days are ideal for planting bulbs like snowdrops, which look great arranged in small clumps, and crocuses, which are lovely along a walkway or even scattered randomly throughout the lawn. In early spring, when these bright flowers pop up from beneath the snow, you'll know that warm weather can't be far behind.

Pruning Yews, Boxwood, and Spring-Flowering Shrubs

Don't prune certain shrubs in fall

Although they take pruning well, yews and boxwood shouldn’t be pruned after late August. Pruning too late stimulates new growth that won’t have a chance to harden off before the deep freeze arrives. This won't kill the shrub, but you'll have plenty of winter injury to remove come spring. Shrubs that flower in spring, such as forsythia, azaleas, and lilacs, should be pruned immediately after they stop flowering. If you prune too late, the shrub won't produce flowers next year.

Storing Tools Without Proper Cleanup

Clean tools before winter storage

Tools make the hard work of gardening a little easier, so you should show them a little love before you store them away for the winter. Maintenance will help them work more effectively and last longer, and you'll save the expense of having to replace them. Start by cleaning them—for hard-to-remove bits of mud and debris, a wire brush ought to do the trick. Use steel wool or fine sandpaper to take care of rust spots, and a file to restore the edge on shovels, pruners, and lawn-mower blades.

Cutting Down the Entire Garden

Don't cut down entire garden in fall

It’s tempting to go for broke and level the entire garden in the fall. A clean canvas can be so appealing! But there are thousands of creatures that need to ride out the winter in the hollow stems, peeling bark, and other nooks and crannies of our gardens. Leave them a little sanctuary. As well, native bees, butterflies, birds, and pest-munching insects benefit from the "dead" gardens of winter.

Not Aerating the Lawn

Aerate lawn in fall

Compacted clay soil needs to loosen up a bit from time to time, and that's where core aeration comes in. This is commonly done in the spring, but at a cost: Weed seeds love the holes left behind by the aerator. Head off a weed assault by aerating in the fall, when the grass is still growing and weed seeds are minimal.

Not Protecting Young Trees

Protect young trees from winter frost

Young or thin-barked newly planted trees like maple, linden, and ash are susceptible to winter damage from temperature fluctuations and little critters that prey on their delicate flesh. By late November, protect young trees with tree wrap, starting from the bottom up, or with the plastic tube that may have come with a tree from a nursery.

Dividing/Transplanting Ornamental Grasses

Don't Divide and Transplant Ornamental Grass in fall

Warm-season grasses like miscanthus, pennisetum, and panicum require warm soil temperatures to establish good root systems. As air cools in the fall, these grasses enter dormancy. If you want to move or divide any of these warm-season grasses, wait until spring so they’ll have ample time to establish.

Pitching the Leaves

Mulch fall leaves

Take advantage of fallen leaves by packing them around new plantings as extra winter insulation. Better yet, mulch them by lowering your lawn mower and going back and forth over a pile of leaves until it's reduced to small bits that can be sprinkled over the lawn and garden beds. The leafy mulch will make the soil lighter and make earthworms and beneficial microbes happier.

Forgetting to Feed the Lawn

Fertilize lawn in fall

If you fertilize just one time a year, opt for the fall. The cooler temps of fall are conducive to root growth, so a fertilizer application now when the grass is actively growing means a stronger lawn next year.

Storing the Lawn Mower As Is

Clean mower before winter storage

After the final cut of the season, empty the gas tank by running the mower until it stops. This is important because any fuel left over the winter can gum up the carburetor. Before you put the mower away for the season, drain the oil, replace the air filter, remove the blade for sharpening, and clean the undercarriage.

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Late Summer Lawn Care Tips

For avid gardeners, there’s no better way to enjoy the beauty and bounty of a summer garden than puttering around the yard attending to essential gardening tasks. These 10 late-summer gardening tips can help extend the summer season and ensure that your garden looks great year round.

1. Water, water everywhere Water evaporates quickly in the dog days of summer, especially during mid-day. Water lawns and flowers beds early in the morning to give the vital moisture time to reach thirsty roots.

2. Grateful deadheads Extend the life of late-summer blooming perennials by deadheading flowers as soon as they fade. Instead of expending their energy into seeds, they’ll continue to send out buds as long as the weather permits.

3. Mow lawns strategically Raise the cutting height on your lawnmower. Longer blades of grass help keep the roots cooler on hot summer days. Cut grass in the cool of the evening to give the lawn time to recover.

4. Keep weeds at bay It’s much easier to control weeds by pulling them out as soon as they appear than by tugging at them later after they’ve establish a strong root system.

5. Divide and conquer Late summer is a good time to divide plants like peonies, day lilies and iris once the flowers have stopped blooming. Divided plants are less likely to succumb to pests and diseases as well.

6. Sharpen your pruning skills A little time spent making a few artful cuts to shape a rose bush, shrub or tree can reward you with more flowers and thicker foliage. Attack suckers that spring from the base of a plant with a vengeance to prevent them from stunting the plant’s growth. See also How to safely clean your gutters

7. Convert clippings into mulch Give young plants a bit of tender loving care with a mulch made of grass clippings from your lawn. Just make sure that the clippings are free of weeds and seeds.

8. Start composting An alternative use for lawn clippings is to start a compost heap. Layer the clippings with soil and leftover vegetative waste from your kitchen. After a few months of decomposition, the matter will be transformed into nutrient-rich compost.

9. Stay on top of pest patrol Keep on the lookout for damaging aphids. The tiny pests are easy enough to spray off with a hose if you catch them while their populations are small.

10. Shop for seeds What better way to laze away a summer afternoon than by perusing seed brochures to get inspiration for next spring’s blooms? Order seeds now so that you’ll have time to plant them before the first frost hits.

You’ve no doubt earned your share of summer relaxation, so be sure to take time to sit back, breathe and take in the beautiful effects of your hard work. Just remember that investing a little time in pruning, planting and planning now can pay off later with a fall harvest and spring color.

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Landscaping Trends

Intricate hardscaping

Flat, uniform surfaces are giving way to more ornate, geometric ones. Homeowners incorporating stone, concrete, and other hardscaping into their outdoor spaces are requesting waves, chevron, lattice, and basket weave patterns on everything from walkways to retaining walls, according to NALP. If you’re repaving a walkway or adding a fire feature, consider something with a pattern.

Simple, functional design

Minimalism has taken the world by storm, and outdoor spaces are adopting the trend, too. According to NALP’s report, people are looking for sleek, contemporary landscape designs that look good and have some useful function, preferably in multiple seasons: Think native plants, heat lamps, and protective structures that allow people to spend more time outdoors year-round.

Shades of blue

With predictions for Color of the Year trending blue, it’s no surprise that outdoor spaces are expected to as well. Expect to see more blue sculptures, water features, and plants in yards near you this year.

Personalized spaces

More and more, people are adopting the landscape design ideas that better support their lifestyle preferences, whether that’s xeriscaping to be more sustainable, creating edible gardens to consume more local, organic foods and reduce carbon footprints, or planting only native greenery to preserve the local ecosystem.

Smart irrigation

Smart home devices have made maintaining a home easier, and they do the same outdoors, too. High-tech irrigation, such as smart sprinkler systems, makes grooming a large, green yard or garden both easier and more sustainable (no more accidental waterings on rainy days!) and NALP predicts it will be a top landscape design trend.

Native Plants

Native plants are increasingly popular in landscape design, and not only in places where water is an issue. Designing with natives and non- natives allows the homeowner to save water while maximizing aesthetic considerations. It also means you can be really water smart, putting plants that need more water at the bottom, because the water flows downhill. Your whole irrigation plan can change when you’re using particular plants.

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The Power of Perception: 15 Ways Commercial Landscaping Benefits Your Business

Perception matters, from the moment customers land on your business website to the first time a potential client turns their head toward your brick-and-mortar location. That cliché saying about first impressions is as true for companies as it is for individuals.

Hardly anyone can deny the importance of visual appeal and aesthetics. Humans are visual creatures, and we tend to form first impressions quickly.

We strive for better appearance in nearly all aspects of life, including grooming and clothes as well as homes and businesses. Hollywood stars have procedures, real-estate professionals obsess about the drive-up appeal, and pretty much everyone somehow improves their appearance from their waking state before going out into the world.

In an ultra-competitive business climate with thin profit margins, small and large companies alike can use all possible advantages. Property Perfect recognizes the value of landscaping because we specialize in creating beautiful settings that people perceive well and that make stellar first impressions. We offer expertise in all aspects of both welcoming design and effective horticulture, and we’re eager to share how commercial landscaping can help business.

What Is Commercial Landscaping?

A landscape might include trees, shrubs, grass, native plants, rocks, bricks, retaining walls, pathways, courtyards, rain gardens, filtration elements, lighting, irrigation systems, water features, patios, furniture and more. The environment is only limited by the imagination of its designer.

A professional master plan is usually the first step in creating a great indoor or outdoor space. Sit with a professional who can assess the site, analyze the sunlight and soil, and help you narrow down the choices of color, texture, shape and other characteristics.

Who Needs Commercial Landscaping?

Anyone with a place of business that sees people can benefit from landscaping. The rule of first impressions applies to absolutely every kind of business including:

Offices small and large, corporate and casual
Retail stores of all kinds
Homeowners’ associations
Multi-family living complexes
City/county/state/federal facilities such as government buildings and schools
Institutions of higher learning such as a tech school, community college or university
Houses of worship for all denominations
Manufacturing plants
Industrial businesses
Non-profit organizations
Clubs and associations
Boat marinas
Banks
Private-practice professionals
Restaurants
Hotels, resorts and other hospitality places

No business is exempt from the rules of decent aesthetics and environmental stewardship. At least, that’s likely to be most people’s opinion. Think about horror movies and all the special effects used to create that creepy feeling. It usually involves weedy, overgrown places with peeling paint, bad lighting and sad-looking plants.

A tastefully designed and well-maintained landscape creates the opposite — a positive impression that exudes good energy. While it requires an investment to have professionally placed and maintained landscape elements, the overall effect is proven to generate many benefits for any business. So, how does commercial landscaping benefit business? Property Perfect knows of many ways but offers some insight on the 15 noted most often, which every owner or manager would probably prioritize differently:

Landscaping Creates Economic Advantage

Economic advantage results from commercial landscaping because people spend more at businesses they perceive are good.

Studies have shown that people spend more money at a business that’s nice, neat and well-kept. They perceive it as a signal of efficiency and a caring approach to business. The effect of landscaping on business is broad, diverse and positive if strategically planned and well maintained. In fact, most people can achieve some objectives along with the benefits.

How Commercial Landscaping Benefits Your Business

Many types of landscaping can be designed to provide insulation and a snow screen during winter and cooling effects with shade during the summer. For example, well-placed trees and other elements to shade can help the cooling system operate 2 to 4 percent more efficiently, which leads to lower energy bills and better protection from the weather for people entering and exiting the business, including you.

Landscaping Attracts and Retains Clients and Employees

You can use landscaping to bring in more customers and to keep employees happier because of the positive, psychological effects it offers. When we think about the ideal workplace or shop, such as those cultures in the news as well as movies and TV, we probably think of ones where there is an investment into the environment.

These happy atmospheres contain lots of windows and natural light, free snacks and beverages, break areas indoors and outdoors and a nice-looking building. Tech giants Google and Facebook are known for their high-end corporate campuses.

The attraction and retention claim comes from reams of studies that say people respond to positive environments. Natural light and design that features soothing colors, textures and patterns can actually create the basic psychology a company wants. Studies also show that employees who have plants around and a window naturally feel less pressure and tend to be more satisfied than employees who do not have access to those elements.

Nobody enjoys the thought of reporting to a dank, dark place with faded, old bricks and no color; overgrown weeds; and ratty carpet or buzzing lights, to name a few maladies. This is why the best and smartest companies work against making that impression and invest in outdoor spaces where clients and employees can enjoy a relaxing break, get fresh air and interact with nature and each other.

Stewardship Pays and Builds Loyalty

Responsible, well-planned landscaping builds in environmental stewardship because you can choose elements that are native, require little water and help filter the air and water. Going green isn’t a fad that’s going away, and already it is a status that people actively seek both indoors and outdoors. Natural prairie grasses, which don’t need to be mowed, evergreen and leafy trees, retaining walls, proper drainage and good water-runoff management are all ways to not only enhance the look of your business but also to send a message to those in the know, “We care about the Earth!”

How Commercial Landscaping Benefits Your Business

For example, one tree can remove 26 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year, which is comparable to saving the emissions of about 11,000 miles in a fuel-powered vehicle. People, including potential clients, employees and tenants, know these things and have respect for companies that use good practices and make an effort to do their part.

Plants Prevent Erosion and Protect Water Quality

As rain falls and water runs across the land, it carries more sediment away from places that have no plant roots to reinforce the soil, especially where there is a large or small natural waterway established. An old-but-true adage says, “Water will go its way,” but it’s beneficial to keep it from carrying away dirt. Erosion can have detrimental effects on buildings and property assets. Additionally, when plants keep soil in place, there is less of it to move around and fly into the air or run into the rivers. Plants, trees, shrubs and other landscape elements are effective ways to stabilize the soil.

Plants and their roots provide a filtration system to rainfall and the resulting water that runs off roofs, parking lots and roadways. Grass, trees, bushes and other plants filter dust and pollution out of the air, can lower the temperature in the concrete-dominant urban areas and help protect rivers, lakes and other water bodies by filtering out the particulate pollution that reaches them from developed areas.

Professional Maintenance Saves Time and Money

Hiring a comprehensive professional company such as Property Perfect to care for the outdoor spaces saves time and money plus it takes a load off you so that you can focus on your business. Good landscaping professionals will offer you all the services you might need for outdoor grounds work and most indoor green elements.

Some companies hesitate to invest in landscaping because of the maintenance it takes to cultivate trees, bushes, grass, prairie flowers, annual blooms and other plants. There’s proper spacing of the plants, soil matching and amendments, and a correct gauge of climate and sunlight. Most great landscapes also require fertilizer, periodic seeding, weed elimination and general trimming regularly.

For many time-starved business owners and managers, landscape maintenance seems like a far-off, unattainable concept. However, with the right professionals as a partner, any business can enhance its presence, image and overall appeal using well-designed and well-maintained landscape elements.

Professional Service Eliminates the Need to Own and Maintain Landscaping Equipment

When you consider all the tools necessary to do a nice job on the landscape, it adds up to a lot of money as well as the hassle of maintaining multiple, major tools. Depending on what the environment consists of, a business might need mowers, hedge trimmers, weed whackers, treatment-application equipment, tree trimmers, ladders, lift mechanisms, shovels and rakes.

A professional landscape company lets clients do away with the need to own this equipment and the associated expenses. Most companies admit that the professionals do a better and more efficient job than a maintenance person or someone else who doesn’t have specialized horticultural knowledge.

Landscaped Areas Create More Meeting and Living Space

Well-manicured outdoor areas create the opportunity for people to interact with nature during breaks and create a kind of natural meeting space and outdoor living area. You might invite a client to take a walk, or sit and talk there. The company would be able to hold yard-game days, barbecues and other activities right on company property and therefore save on event-venue bookings.

Indoor green space with trees and plants or even a water feature will not only enhance the look and feel of the indoor environment but will also clean it. Plants are known for their air-filtration quality, and that principle applies inside as well as outside.

Nature Can Help With Your Energy Bills

Not everyone realizes that properly planned and placed landscaping can actually help out the heating and cooling systems of the business. For example, the same statistic on homes is true for business buildings: Shade trees can help lower summer cooling bills by 25 percent, and other kinds of trees can create the perfect kind of wind block and snow barrier needed to keep things warmer in the structure during winter.

Outdoor Appeal Increases Property Value

Businesses and companies are not immune to the need for curb appeal during regular business or when selling. A sloppy or neglected landscape will work against the property value, while sharp landscaping proves a good investment. One study shows that quality landscaping yields a whopping return on investment with more than one dollar for every one invested.

Helps Establish a Brand and a Clean Image

Image is what comes after clients form that first impression, so the work to impress doesn’t end after the first visit. Your goal is always to keep people coming back. When customers and clients encounter a well-done landscape each time, it sends the signal that you’re detail-oriented and care about the look of the business.

If you pay attention, you’ll notice that the most image-conscious professionals — such as lawyers, accountants, doctors, politicians, etc — rarely office in a shabby place. The reason for this is that they know people’s perception is their reality. They know that people’s attitude towards your business is based on their perceptions of you. Clean landscaping is one of the best ways to control their perception of you.

Greenery Increases Tourism

Interestingly, studies show that spectacular landscaping is something folks will pay to be near. Examples include the Opryland Hotel in Knoxville, which has an elaborate, indoor jungle garden. Its occupancy rate runs unusually high at 85 percent, with the hotel netting about $7 million per year in additional revenue from guests willing to pay extra to overlook the green space. It’s one of the many forms of eco-tourism growing popular.

Pleasing Aesthetics Attract Attention

Inviting and soothing landscape elements will draw people into a business or district. Good landscaping will capture the positive attention of people walking and driving past a place. In a world of split-second actions and reactions, a good-looking place will attract vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Improvement Begets Other Improvement

When one business in a district exerts effort to make its landscaping look nice, it is logical to think others will follow the example. Often, there are design standards in place anyway, so improving the landscape periodically and having it professionally maintained stays ahead of the standard and helps business owner avoid any awkward encounters with the city or business-district committees.

Gardens Cultivate Healthy Communities

Some landscapes might include flowering plants for every season so that there’s color throughout the year, as well as fruit trees and food plants. Bonds are created when people tend a garden together and then harvest and eat its food. Additionally, many rehabilitative places and programs use plants and trees as part of healing therapy.

Greenery Provides Privacy

Some businesses are situated in places where it’s beneficial to have some screening between the building and the street or an adjoining business. Plants and trees can do wonders in filtering out visible and audible pollution and creating an oasis for your business. Landscaping can create inviting spaces anywhere and can also serve the functional purposes of frame a patio or a parking lot to make it more attractive.


Call Property Perfect today at (651) 777-7530 to get the job done right!

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11 Landscape Design Ideas to Improve Home Value

Are you looking for ways to increase your home’s value? Landscaping is one of the more cost-effective options for sprucing up your home before putting it on the market—it can even increase home value up to 20%. Use these 11 landscaping tips to improve your home’s curb appeal, boost property value, and attract more potential buyers!

Maintain a Healthy Lawn

A major factor behind making your home look presentable is to keep your lawn looking great. Overgrown grass, weeds, and dead spots are a sign of neglect and can drive the value of your home down. Fortunately, lawn care doesn’t need to be a budget-killer. Set up a fertilization schedule, mow regularly, and keep your lawn watered. And if you don’t want to do it yourself, lawn care companies are perfect to partner with!

Install an Irrigation System

One of the simplest solutions for maintaining your yard—and giving your home value a little boost—is to install an automatic irrigation system. Whether you’re looking to add a drip system or an in-ground sprinkler system, both distribute a selected amount of water so you can keep your landscape looking its best without worrying about overwatering or drying out.

Consider an Artificial Lawn

If you live in an area of the country where an arid, dry climate is the norm, artificial grass can provide your home with a quick value-add. Artificial grass eliminates the need to buy upkeep equipment or hire lawn maintenance companies. Better yet, yard turf can last up to 20 years, so you don’t need to worry about replacement if you plan to move within that timeframe. In addition, artificial grass conserves a lot of water, which can significantly lower water bills—an attractive selling point for your home!

Plant a Tree

Is your yard looking a little empty? Consider planting a tree! Depending on where you live, trees can add between $1,000 and $10,000 to your home’s value while also helping to fill empty space. That said, planting a tree isn’t an automatic boost, as mature trees are what buyers are looking for. It can take anywhere from three to eight years for a tree to reach maturity, so try to plant trees as early as possible. You can also look into landscaping companies that can assist you with planting mature trees—keep in mind, however, that this can get costly depending on tree size, relocation, and difficulty of planting.

Trim Shrubs & Bushes

If you have a lot of shrubs or bushes around your home, not taking care of them is noticeable to potential buyers. Make a point each year to prune and shape bushes in your yard to get rid of overgrowth or dead branches. Trimming shrubs and bushes down encourages healthy growth from the interior of the plant, which is vital to maintaining these landscape features long term.

Lay Down a Fresh Bed of Mulch

One of the best ways to keep your home landscaping looking fresh for longer is to add new mulch. Mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil. It prevents evaporation, insulates soil, and helps maintain lower root temperatures, providing plants with essential nutrients that help them look their best. Not to mention, it’s the a perfect complement to any landscape design!

Cultivate a Low-Maintenance Landscape

An excellent way to improve your curb appeal and boost home value is to opt for low-maintenance landscaping. Rock gardens don’t need upkeep beyond replacing stray rocks. Succulent gardens and xeriscaping require little to no watering and are ideal for arid climates. You can also plant perennials around your home, which come and go with the changing of the season, so there’s almost no maintenance.

Highlight Your Home with Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting has quickly become one of the most desired outdoor landscaping features for homebuyers. With good landscape lighting, you can illuminate the outside of your home, accentuate landscape design elements, and even improve home security. Keep costs on lighting low by looking for LED and solar options, both of which will be bright enough to light up the outside of your home without increasing your electric bill!

Accent Walkways with Lights

Pathway lights are a simple solution for improving curb appeal. Not only do they help light the exterior of your home and highlight its features, but they also provide safety for anyone walking up and down walkways, stairs, driveways, and other paved surfaces throughout your home’s landscape.

Design an Outdoor Living Space

If you’re thinking about a large-scale update to your current landscape design, consider adding an outdoor living space! Outdoor kitchens, patios, decks, pergolas, swimming pools, and fire pits can all increase your home’s value, as buyers seek out homes with these spaces.

Introduce a Water Feature

Looking for a way to make your front yard landscape design stand out? Add a water feature! Features like waterfalls, fountains, and even small ponds are perfect for sprucing up your curb appeal and giving your home value a boost! While some larger water features may need some upkeep, most are designed with water recycling features that require less maintenance.

Call Property Perfect today at (651) 777-7530 to get the job done right!

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Commercial Landscaping: Plants, Trees & Mulch

Whether you want to redesign your entire commercial landscape or simply refresh the mulch and update the flowerbeds, we can ensure your property will have the appeal and look you want.

Property Perfect provides our commercial customers with the following landscaping services:
i. Weed Maintenance
ii. Plant and Tree Installation
iii. Mulch and Sod Installation
iv. And more!!

Our services and expertise are backed by over 30 years of industry experience.

At Property Perfect, we pay special attention to the details of every project to ensure the complete satisfaction of each client. Our goal is to enhance the exterior of your commercial property so you can focus on what you do best!

At Property Perfect, your satisfaction is our priority, and we strive to provide a service we are proud of. We start every project by providing a thorough consultation to understand your goals and the needs of the project. We do this to guarantee that the project is completed according to your preferences.


Call Property Perfect today at (651) 777-7530 to get the job done right!

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The Case for Snow Relocation

If a client has limited space for storing and/or staging snow or large piles, then they need to be aware of the unsafe conditions these piles pose to the general public. In addition, these heaping mounds of snow and ice provide contractors with an opportunity to offer hauling and relocation services to move these piles to another location on their property or offsite to a snow disposal facility.

Here are three scenarios to point out to property owners that help make the case for snow pile relocation and removal.

Unwanted attention
What may seem like innocent winter fun could be a death trap for children and even adults. Although they may look hard and sturdy, large snow piles contain soft spots or pockets of air that can lead to sink holes. Kids, especially, can fall in, causing the pile to collapse, trapping them and leading to suffocation. If they survive, long-term exposure can result in hypothermia and death.

Furthermore, while building snow forts and making snow angels in piles at the apron of condo or apartment complex driveways, children typically do not pay attention to vehicles and snowplows as they approach. It’s very difficult for drivers to see over piles while children are playing. Furthermore, they often have to plow into the pile to move snow away from the street. The result is often a serious injury to anyone on the pile.

Pile Placement
In the event of a snow storm, plow trucks should be cautious about what areas snow is piled to avoid creating potential hazards. Piles should be away from stop signs, fire hydrants, street corners, driveway aprons and handicap accessible locations.

They should also be kept as far away from entry and exit points of buildings in the event of an emergency. These piles make entering and exiting a facility extremely difficult and unsafe for EMS providers when responding to emergency calls. Addressing and the relocation or removal of these piles alleviates any possible obstruction of signage or lot entryways.

Refreeze
Throughout the day the sun heats the surfaces around the pile causing them to melt. The water generated from these piles will naturally make its way to a low spot or drain. As the sun sets temperatures begin to cool, creating refreeze and icy conditions. As a result, parking lots, sidewalks, driveways and roadways can become extremely slick and dangerous to pedestrians.

When possible, piles should always be placed close to the high side near a drain to capture the water as it melts. As a precautionary measure, the area around the piles may need to be salted to eliminate slippery conditions. Again, removal of these piles mitigates the potential for refreeze and conditions for an unnecessary, and avoidable, slip-and-fall incident.

Properties such as condominiums, townhomes, apartments, retail, and even large manufacturing and industrial sites that operate 24/7 all benefit from snow removal, relocation and hauling services. With this in mind, these three real-world scenarios make a solid case for contractors to work with clients to address these potential problems, either at contract time or during the snow season if unseasonable winter conditions result in a large number or sized snow piles on a property.

Call Property Perfect today at (651) 777-7530 to get the job done right!

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Commercial Snow Removal

As your business looks ahead to winter, it's important to be aware of how snow accumulation can impede your operations and hinder its success. There are many reasons to consider hiring a professional snow removal company, such as Property Perfect, for your commercial property.

1. Our snow removal services reduce your expenses.

Removing snow yourself takes a significant amount of time and energy. Plus, you have to invest in equipment like snow blowers and shovels. Some large areas may even require a plow. Another important part of snow removal is access to salt. Salt can be expensive and hard to find because of its high demand in the wintertime.

Recruiting Property Perfect’s regular snow removal services is a smart move for your business. We reduce your expenses with one cost that includes the necessary labor and access to snow removal equipment. We always have the supplies on hand that we need to keep your property snow-free.

We are experts at what we do, so we ensure your property is efficiently accessible even in the harshest of winters.

2. Minimize customer and employee injuries with our snow removal services.

Thousands of people get injured every year due to slipping on snow and ice. Common injuries associated with slipping on snow include:
• Spinal compression fractures
• Ligament strains
• Muscle sprains
• Concussions and other head injuries
• Back pain

Don't allow accumulated snow to create an unsafe environment for your customers and employees. Hire Property Perfect to take care of all of your snow removal needs.

3. Prevent liability with regular snow removal.

In addition to maintaining the trust of your customers and employees, regular snow removal prevents you from acquiring costly expenses. Lawsuits due to slips and falls on snow can make you responsible for a victim's medical bills, lost wages, and other costs.

If you enlist our regular snow removal services for your commercial property, you won't need to worry about someone, whether it be a customer, partner, or employee, slipping on snow or ice.

Property Perfect’s snow removal team gives your employees safe access to your building.

Slippery ice and accumulated snow can prevent employees from safely accessing your building. To minimize lost time, recruit our snow removal team to clear a safe path to your building. With an accessible way to enter your company's facility, your employees' productivity won't be compromised.

Property Perfect employees are trained to clear snow from a variety of tight and large spaces including:
• Entryways
• Parking lots
• Driveways
• Walkways
• Loading docks

When you choose Property Perfect, we will grant an enhanced sense of visibility and mobility for your commercial property in the winter. You can focus on your business's operations without worrying about environmental factors.

Does your commercial property need snow removal services? Call Property Perfect today: (651) 777-7530.

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Winter Readiness

Winter may conjure up imagery suitable for a Norman Rockwell painting: sitting by the fire with a hot drink in hand, watching through the window as snowflakes drift lazily through the air. But the business impact of winter weather is anything but idyllic.

AccuWeather estimates the total U.S. damage and economic loss due to winter storms in 2019 was a staggering $8 billion. From lost wages of hourly workers to property damage to lost tax revenue, winter weather can cause a devastating economic ripple effect. And small businesses are particularly vulnerable to the impact of extreme weather: An estimated 25 percent of small businesses don’t reopen after a disaster, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety.

But it’s not just companies in the path of those epic nor’easters that need to consider winter storm preparations. The Arctic blast that swept across the nation in November 2019 affected more than 200 million Americans as far as the state of Texas. While the characteristics of winter weather vary with location, every business faces changing threats as winter approaches. Snow, rain, plummeting temperatures, COVID-19, and increased fire dangers are just a few of the threats that may impact your people and business this winter.

Whether your organization is a small business or large-scale enterprise, winter weather preparedness is key to mitigating potential disruptions. By preparing for the many hazards of winter weather, you can minimize the impact of such incidents on your employees, customers, and bottom line.

From physical winter storm preparations to ensuring employees have access to all the information they need during a winter event, here are six steps you can take to protect your business all season long.

Step 1: Assess Your Risks

There are several hazards businesses need to watch out for when it comes to cold weather. It’s not just icy roads and snow accumulation. An increased likelihood of structural stress and damage, dangerous fire activity, and slip and fall injuries are just a few of the risks that businesses face when winter arrives.

The first step to preparing your business for winter is to assess your organization’s unique risks. Where your employees live, where your offices are located, what industry you operate in—even how your employees work—will all affect which threats pose the greatest danger to your people and your business.

Winter weather threats

Here are just a few potential winter hazards to consider as you evaluate your specific risks:

COVID-19
Flu and other seasonal illnesses
Unsafe driving conditions
Road closures
Slip and fall injuries
Hypothermia and frostbite
Flight delays and cancellations
Local school delays and closures
Structural stress and damage
Fire activity
Power outages (both in the workplace and for employees working remotely)

A winter storm warning is typically issued 12-36 hours before a winter event is expected to start, so vigilantly checking local news and following travel safety recommendations can help you stay on top of regional threats. But the reality is, that’s only half the battle.

What about traveling or field-based employees? Or offices in other cities? The rise in remote working due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic also presents unique safety and preparedness challenges. With an increasingly dispersed workforce, it’s not enough to track winter weather threats in one locale—you need to track the myriad of threats that could impact all of your employees, no matter where they are located.

Winter weather events are hyper-local, and tracking such a wide array of threats manually is simply not feasible. For this reason, many companies rely on a global threat intelligence solution to track winter weather threats automatically. Providing 24/7 situational awareness, a threat intelligence solution allows you to rapidly identify emerging winter threats that could impact your people or facilities, anywhere in the world.

Step 2: Determine Who’s Responsible

When a snowstorm hits, who needs to ensure the office parking lot is safe and driveable? Who will track the storm and communicate weather-related updates to employees? The midst of a storm is not the time to figure out who is responsible for these tasks.

Your organization is accountable for your employees’ overall safety and well-being. To fulfill your organization’s duty of care, you must ensure all necessary safety precautions are taken—regardless of whether those precautionary measures are executed by your organization or a third party. As part of your winter storm preparations, review your contracts with vendors, insurance providers, property managers, and landlords. There should be specific callouts for weather-related events. If not, contact the contract owners directly to determine contractual obligations and responsibilities.

Aside from outlining the responsibilities of all external parties, it’s equally important to take a similar approach internally. From keeping employees informed of rapidly developing situations to ensuring all employees are accounted for to keeping facilities and equipment in safe operating condition, preparing your business for winter requires support from a variety of internal functions.

Assemble a project team of involved stakeholders to clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of each function. This team should include departments such as HR, Facilities, Business Continuity, Emergency Operations, and IT. In a small business where functions often overlap, a clear, documented plan of who will do what during a winter event is just as important. Having this will help avoid confusion, finger-pointing, and missteps when it matters most.

Does your commercial property need snow removal services? Call Property Perfect today: (651) 777-7530.

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Fall Lawn Care Tips

1. Remove the leaves.

A carpet of colorful autumn leaves may look nice and be fun to play in, but they're no good for grass. They block the light and trap moisture, potentially fatal knockout punches for the unlucky turf underneath. So when the leaves are falling, blow or rake them away as often as you can. Even after the trees are bare, continue raking out the corners where the wind piles leaves up. If you don't, come spring, the grass under that soggy, decaying mat will be dead.

2. Keep cutting, but to the correct height.

Don't put that mower away yet. Grass continues to grown up to the first hard frost, and so will need regular cuts to keep it at an ideal 2½- to 3-inch height. If you let it get too long, it will mat and be vulnerable to fungi like snow mold.

Cutting grass too short is just as bad, because it curtails the root system—root depth is proportional to cutting height—and impedes the lawn's ability to withstand winter cold and dryness. Regular mowing also gets rid of those pesky leaves, chopping them up and leaving behind a soil-enhancing mulch.

3. Continue watering.

People tend to let up on watering in the fall as the weather gets cooler. They figure that nature will take care of things for them. While it's true that there's more rain, more dew, and less evaporation at this time of year, that may not be enough to keep the grass roots well hydrated and healthy going into the winter.

If your lawn isn't getting at least an inch of water a week—a simple rain gauge is a useful way to keep track—then keep the sprinklers or irrigation system running until the end of October. By that time, you'll want to disconnect hoses and flush the irrigation system to avoid frozen pipes and spigots.

4. Loosen the soil.

Regular aeration—once every couple of yearsprevents soil from becoming compacted and covered with thatch, a thick layer of roots, stems, and debris that blocks water, oxygen, and nutrients from reaching the soil.

A core aerator corrects both problems by punching holes through that thatch and pulling up plugs of soil. It's a good idea to aerate a lawn right before fertilizing. All those holes in your turf will let the fertilizer reach right to the roots, where it can do the most good.

5. Add fertilizer.

Just as grass roots need water to last the winter, they also benefit from a shot of the plant sugars that protect roots from freezing and give the entire plant the energy to bounce back in the spring. Those sugars are produced by chlorophyll, which grass produces in abundance when there's enough nitrogen.

That's why we recommend a late-fall application of a slow-release granular 24-0-10 fertilizer. The numbers indicate the percentage by weight of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, respectively. Potassium is also important at this time because it aids in root growth, disease protection, drought tolerance, and cold resistance. (A soil test can tell you how much of each nutrient your lawn actually needs.)

6. Spread seed.

A dense lawn also is good protection against weeds, which is why it's important to overseed existing turf. Not only does that fill in thin spots or bare patches, it allows you to introduce the latest in resilient, drought-tolerant grasses. Fall is the best time to overseed because the ground is still warm, moisture is more plentiful, nights are cool, and the sun is not as hot during the day.

You can't simply broadcast seeds over an established lawn and expect them to take hold. They need to be in full contact with the soil, kept moist until they germinate, and be well enough established before it gets too cold. Renting a slit seeder is a better option than broadcasting, but those machines are notorious for tearing up turf and leaving your lawn looking like a harrowed field.

7. Stay on schedule.

Each of the steps above has to be done at the right time for best results. Otherwise, it's wasted effort. For instance, overseed too late and the seedlings will be too tender to survive. Fertilize too early and the grass will send up tender blades that will get hammered by the cold. Fertilize too late and the grass roots won't be able to absorb all those nutrients you're feeding them. Thinking about aerating in the spring because you can't get around to it this fall? Don't bother. Spring aeration just makes it easier for weed seeds to get established.

If sticking to the schedule during the fall is proving too difficult, a lawn care service can handle the jobs that aren't getting done. Most often, those are the ones that require renting heavy machinery like core aerators and slit seeders, which are hard to transport, a bear to operate, and often in short supply at the rental yards at this time of year. Delegating one or two of those chores to a pro during this busy season will ensure the work gets done when it should—and that you will be enjoying a thick carpet of green grass next year.

Call Property Perfect today at (651) 777-7530 to get the job done right!

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