As a facility manager of a college or university landscape, you have a lot to worry about.

From interior building issues to working with different teams on your property, it’s easy for landscape maintenance to drop to the absolute last on your to-do list.

A well-maintained college campus with attractive, usable outdoor areas; vibrant blooms throughout the year; and trimmed and tidy trees, shrubs, and turf can improve a university’s student interest. This can work to raise enrollment numbers, while improving student attention spans and scores, enhancing safety and security, and projecting a higher quality brand and reputation.

In fact, a higher education learning environment becomes a second home for a period of time for college students. That’s why research shows that students can decide in just 10 minutes visiting a campus whether that university is or isn’t for them. The study says 62% of students base this immediate college decision solely on the outdoor appearance of campus buildings and landscapes.

For John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, the impending retirement of the majority of its in-house grounds crew forced the educational facility to look at outsourcing its commercial landscaping. They needed a dedicated landscape crew focused on quality so they could maintain a safe and presentable campus.

Commercial Landscaping Challenges

John Carroll University was founded in 1886. Since then, the college has inspired individuals to excel in learning, leadership, and service in the Northeast Ohio region and the world. This private, coeducational, Jesuit Catholic university provides programs of study in the liberal arts, sciences, and business at the undergraduate level and in selected areas at the master’s level.

For decades, John Carroll University had an in-house grounds crew taking care of its exterior campus maintenance.

Green lawn and landscaping near sign at john carroll university

But this system that had worked for years for the college campus started to deteriorate a bit after the grounds foreman left. Three additional crew members were dedicated to their jobs but preparing to retire. As a result, the college grounds appearance wasn’t up to the university’s standards.

John Carroll invited Northeast Ohio-based commercial grounds management company Turfscape to take over the work in 2017.

John Carroll University Landscaping Solutions

The Turfscape crew spent the first month getting the John Carroll campus back into shape. This included edging flower beds, pruning trees and shrubs, removing overgrown weeds, mowing the turf, and fertilizing.

landscape crew prunes plants at john carroll university

Then the Turfscape team created a three-year grounds maintenance plan, focused on high-quality maintenance and enhancements to keep the campus relevant and thriving.

1. A Weekly Grounds Maintenance Plan

Weekly attention on such a highly visible and well-trafficked college campus is crucial to maintaining consistent quality, a professional appearance, as well as securing a sound, solid reputation that matches its history.

commercial landscaping crew mows lawn at university

Turfscape crew members provide this university with a full-service grounds maintenance program that includes lawn care, mowing/maintenance, trash patrol, and spring and fall cleanup.

Everyone in charge of facility management and on the Turfscape team is aware of the daily and weekly plan, so they all know what’s going on and can work cohesively. This elevates quality on the job, as well as efficiency.

2. Additional Personnel for Special Events

John Carroll University holds many large, noteworthy events -- everything from graduations to alumni weekends to recruiting events. One can find several events happening throughout the year.

commercial landscaping crew raises flag at college campus

Turfscape knows that a college campus has to look presentable during these events even more than during an average day. Turfsacpe has the manpower necessary to send several landscape crews to the campus prior to these events so they can spruce up the grounds and get them ready for the additional traffic and attention, amplifying attractiveness as well as safety and security.

3. Landscape Design & Enhancement Plan

Over time, landscapes evolve and change. To keep campus grounds looking attractive and growing healthy, plans must be made to focus on areas of the 30-acre property to ensure they get the attention they need.

Turfscape’s landscape designer creates enhancement plans for John Carroll that fit the university’s budget and timeline.

These enhancements not only continue to elevate John Carroll’s reputation and usable space, but they also show students that the campus cares about its appearance. For instance, the university added an outside study area with work tables that have solar panels and charging stations for its students to use. This helps the college adapt to today’s necessities like Zoom or Google Classroom classes or study sessions.

4. Specialized Exterior Experts

Turfscape has many connections in the commercial landscaping industry in Northeast Ohio. As such, they can provide their clients with professionals who have expertise in areas they may need that extend beyond regular grounds maintenance work.

commercial landscaping crew maintains baseball field

Some of these experts include irrigation technicians, sports field maintenance technicians, and arborists that are certified in proper tree planting and removal. These additional focus areas ensure John Carroll facility managers only have to reach out to one company to take care of all of their outdoor care needs.

5. Seasonal Color

Each season, Turfscape crew members dedicate time to developing an annual color display for the John Carroll campus that brings color and light to the space, brightening the university grounds with lively, brilliant blooms.

commercial landscape crew plants mums

In fact, there is no time during the year when flowers can’t be seen in landscape beds and containers on the campus. Since the college maintains high traffic year-round and is constantly recruiting and promoting its value to current and potential students, this addition helps them look presentable and showcase that they care about students’ well-being and educational growth at their facility.

6. Comprehensive Snow & Ice Removal

In Northeast Ohio winters, a college campus with regular student activity throughout the year cannot survive without having a solid snow and ice management plan.

Having walkways, doorways, stairways, and parking lots clear ensures professors and students can get to and from their courses safely.

A Strong Commercial Landscaping Program for Colleges & Universities

A strong partnership between Turfscape and John Carroll has elevated the campus grounds so much that they have become a source of pride for all those that work and study at the university. The new maintenance and enhancement plans have positively impacted the overall health and appearance of the site.

Turfscape - Educational Campuses - Final HD-1

And the relationship between the two companies has also deepened. Turfscape supports John Carroll University by donating materials at special events, employing John Carroll students seasonally, and volunteering time to share landscape knowledge with students in relevant courses. Turfscape crew members feel like they are part of the John Carroll University family.

Want to learn more about our commercial landscaping services in Northeast Ohio? Get started today with a free quote. We’ll review your options together so you can make a great choice.

Ultimate Guide to College & University Landscaping

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