A commercial property is no place to take safety lightly.
First of all, you have a lot of people coming and going on your property. This amplifies your liability risks. And it doesn’t matter what kind of property you manage. If you manage a hospital or health care facility, you have doctors, nurses, patients, and visitors moving about at all hours of the day.
If you run a college or educational facility, you have prime traffic during the school year and then visitor traffic in the summer from potential new students, as well as those attending summer school. If you take care of an office park, you have employees arriving in larger numbers in the morning and then leaving once work is done for the day – not to mention lunch time breaks. If you’re managing a retail facility, you have store employees and shoppers navigating the site during open hours and peak traffic on high sales days. And on industrial properties, you’ll have employee and delivery traffic to deal with during business hours daily.
Obviously, as these people come and go on your commercial property, they must traverse your landscape, and your goal is to make this as smooth as possible, while also elevating aesthetics and maintaining a professional, neat appearance.
This means keeping a watchful eye on commercial landscaping hazards that could crop up and cause trouble on your property. Let’s review some of the most common hazards you need to put on your radar so that you can increase your overall commercial landscaping safety.
7 Commercial Landscaping Hazards to Watch For On Your Property
Outdoor areas on commercial properties do so many things for those businesses.
They amplify professionalism on the site with a polished appearance. They make navigation smooth for people coming in and out with neat, well-maintained hardscapes and clear pathways. They make visitors feel safe with effective lighting and clear direction. And they boost brand image with colorful flowers and vibrant signage.
Letting landscape maintenance go or not keeping up with repairs and cleanup can result in escalated commercial landscape accidents, and no one wants that.
Let’s look at some common problems you might find on your commercial property that can quickly turn to hazards and how you can address these before they become bigger issues.
1. Standing Water Spots
Seeing standing water spots on your commercial site is never a good thing.
Why? Because they usually mean drainage problems might be present. Not only does standing water bring mess inside your commercial buildings as people navigate it as they enter, but it can also lead to other issues, including commercial landscape accidents. Think about it: Water can be slippery and slick, depending on the surface, and it creates mud, which can also be a hazard.
Standing water can also boost mosquito populations on your site, which no one wants. Fighting biting pests as they enter or exit your property may make customers or visitors want to avoid it entirely. The last thing a facility manager wants is an unusable space or one that sends people away.
As far as a fix for this issue, you certainly don’t want the problem to escalate. Proper grading can fix the issue or manage the flow of water, but other fixes include french drains, dry creek beds, or rain gardens, depending on your specific issue and how much water is regularly collecting on your site.
2. Erosion Problems
If you have hills on your commercial property, another commercial landscaping hazard you might notice slowly escalates is erosion.
You might have poor garding or maybe hardscapes nearby that aren’t built properly or a lack of plantings holding hillsides in place. The end result is the same: mud and debris sliding down hills into walkways and creating messy looking areas on your site.
This can create slippery areas and trip-and-fall hazards, as well as just plain ugly spots.
Evaluating the cause of the erosion issue and fixing it before it becomes a big problem is key in getting this landscape problem alleviated.
3. Overgrown Plants, Especially Trees & Shrubs
Trees and shrubs are great attractive assets on your commercial property. They add great aesthetics with spring and fall color in the form of flowers and vibrant leaves.
But if you don’t maintain them, they can grow pretty wild during the growing season, becoming unwieldy. This means branches reaching out over walkways or branches that grow big enough to become commercial landscaping hazards. Why? If you’re letting branches overgrow, you likely will have weak branches or even dead branches, which are more apt to fall in a storm or strong winds or just from excess weight.
Overgrown trees and shrubs can also block signage, doorways, and windows, as well as create heightened security risks at night by limiting views from security cameras or diminishing lighting.
Your solution would be to prune your trees and shrubs twice each year – once in early summer and once in autumn. Also, dormant pruning of your trees can be helpful to keep stress low and encourage larger cuts when needed.
4. Surface Dips, Cracks, Buckles, Etc.
Uneven ground is always a commercial landscaping hazard.
This condition results when pathways buckle, walkways are disrupted, roots grow and elevate hardscape areas, and cracks snake across driveways, walkways, and pathways, causing rises and dips.
For this issue, you want to repair cracking, buckling hardscapes before they become bigger, bringing about more trips and falls. In other cases, such as invasive roots, you may need to remove trees. Larger issues may require a complete hardscape renovation or redirection of pedestrian traffic to elevate safety on your property.
5. Lack of Mulch
Annual mulch applications may seem like a less problematic commercial landscaping hazard, but by not taking care of your landscape beds, especially where your larger trees and shrubs are located, you’re adding to some things that can create additional risks.
For instance, weeds may run rampant in mulch-less beds, causing some unsightly issues. Also, without mulch, you can retain soil moisture or regulate soil temperatures, so your trees and shrubs may suffer. If they suffer, they can fail, which leads to fallen branches or dead, dying plants.
Annual mulch applications are another way to keep your plants healthy and thriving so they remain safe, aesthetically pleasing assets on your commercial property.
6. Trash and Debris Patrol
Trash pickup, like mulch, may also seem like a simple commercial landscaping safety chore, but it’s an important one for so many reasons.
If trash pickup is neglected, debris and waste can pile up on your commercial site. Trash can include everything from twig and leaf litter to actual garbage and things that can blow around in wind and then get stuck in landscape plants and beds.
Not only is trash unsightly, but it could create issues of slipping or tripping to piling up and blocking property access areas.
Weekly trash patrol is essential on a busy commercial facility to ensure a clean, trip-free site.
7. Poor Lighting and Poor Visibility
If a visitor on your site can’t see or can’t find their way, then their safety on your site instantly falls.
That’s why proper lighting and visibility help avoid commercial landscape accidents. You want proper and clear lighting on your signage, directional markers, walkways, parking areas, and entryways. Your signage should be free of overgrown trees and shrubs and be visible at any time of day or night.
These simple tasks can increase security on your property for a small amount of time and cost.
Let Turfscape Help Eliminate Your Commercial Landscaping Hazards
Your commercial facility in Northeast Ohio is a place for people to visit, navigate, and enjoy. Whether they are workers at an office building, healthcare professionals at a hospital, students or teachers at a school, employees at a manufacturing plant, or shoppers at a clothing store, you don’t want liability issues to become a problem with regular or frequent trips, stumbles, falls, or other incidents. It’s not worth the costs or the time involved.
By keeping an eye on common commercial landscaping hazards, you can prevent and reduce accidents on your site and amplify your facility’s visible benefits at the same time. A little regular maintenance goes a long way in stopping minor issues from becoming major – and more costly – ones.
We know you have a ton of commercial property concerns and issues you have to deal with – from inside issues to those concerning people who work at your facility or manage your building. The last thing you need are more headaches to add to your plate.
When it comes to the outdoor areas of your commercial site, Turfscape can help eliminate your troubles and worries. With a customized, proactive plan of attack, we can quickly take your site from one with multiple hazards to problem-free. From proper, precise mowing and pruning to trash patrol to spring and fall cleanups to enhancements and repairs and even seasonal color boosts, we can make your property look more professional and eliminate risks simultaneously, making you look like a facility star.
Want a safer and more beautiful Northeast Ohio commercial facility? Request a proposal for a customized plan today from Turfscape. Together, we can help your grounds look more professional and more polished while amplifying your safety and security.
Image Source: Puddle in Grass