Landscape of the Month: The Pearl Brewery by Clean Scapes - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Landscape of the Month: The Pearl Brewery by Clean Scapes

The Pearl Brewery located in San Antonio, Texas, hosts foot traffic of 14,000+ on a weekly basis. Clean Scapes handles the task of keeping the landscaping bright, open and enhancing the beauty of the architecture.

Photo: Clean Scapes

Founded in 1881, this brewery has been converted to a multi-use development including apartments, restaurants, retailers, public spaces and more. Preserving the history of the area is a priority at the Pearl, as well as highlighting the rich culture San Antonio offers.

Clean Scapes has been caring for this property for a little over five years now, and their work recently earned them a Gold Award in the 2020 Awards of Excellence.

Richie Bartek is the account manager for the Pearl. He says the previous company caring for the property was only coming once a week to mow and blow. The Pearl was looking for something more so Clean Scapes was able to step up to the plate.

Now a dedicated crew of two employees are stationed at The Pearl five days a week to ensure it is maintained at a high level of detail.

“They take a lot of pride in what they do,” Bartek says.

Overcoming Challenges

Photo: Clean Scapes

The heavy foot traffic and sheer scale of the Pearl presented Clean Scapes with some challenges such as pedestrians trampling flower beds and turf and the need for low-noise equipment to be used to not disturb those visiting.

“People would cut corners and stomp on plants, so we made little barriers to guide people around the area without them realizing it,” Bartek says.

Pulling from the Pearl’s brewery heritage, Clean Scapes utilized tank feet, which were used to hold vats of beer, as barricades to protect ground beds.  

“It’s been challenging,” Bartek says. “Some areas of the grass we’ve put artificial turf down because of that amount of foot traffic you can’t keep it alive. Everything else where we recognize that’s a path the public travels, we’ll do something to make it look nice and not a worn down spot.”

The Pearl features four public spaces, including the Parkito, which hosts farmers markets, musical series, a holiday market and more. Clean Scapes installed artificial turf to keep this space looking beautiful 365 days a year.

When they first installed the artificial turf, they had an issue with the morning sun reflecting off some windows from apartments nearby and it was getting hot enough to melt the plastic fibers of the artificial turf.

Photo: Clean Scapes

“We ended up having someone install a film on the windows to stop the reflective heat,” Bartek says. “The benefit of that is they had in the Parkito some Bald Cypress and those looked bad and were stressed out all the time but when they put that film on the windows it improved the health of those trees also.”

Bartek says they strive to get their projects done during the slower days of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so those visiting over the weekend can enjoy the space rather than seeing a lot of construction.

The Pearl is also committed to sustainability requesting that Clean Scapes use only organic weed controls and use battery-powered equipment. Bartek says aside from larger jobs or when it is rainy they use all battery-powered equipment on the property.

“It’s more for the experience while you’re down there at the Pearl, without hearing a blower and smelling the fumes and making it difficult to have a conversation there,” Bartek says. “With an electric blower you can still hear and you can still have a conversation without having to scream at each other.”

Bartek says the battery-powered blowers don’t blow as hard as a gas-powered model, but they do well enough.

Photo: Clean Scapes

“We had some issues when we first started using it but the vendor and manufacturer helped work through some of the issues we were having with them,” he says. “We just have a lot of batteries and switch them out and go.”

The Pearl requests an overgrown and native look to the property, which Clean Scapes achieves by doing a lot of hand pruning versus machine pruning.

Interested in participating in the Awards of Excellence? Be sure to enter your project when entries open in February 2021.  

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.

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