Landscapes of the Month: Meeting High Maintenance Standards for Multi-Home Property - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Landscapes of the Month: Meeting High Maintenance Standards for Multi-Home Property

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting Inc.

David J. Frank Landscape Contracting Inc. has been managing four landscapes of stylistically different homes located in Mequon, Wisconsin, for a total of seven years. The client based the style of the landscape on the characteristics of each of her homes, matching the color palette with that of the unique houses.

David J. Frank’s ability to maintain the landscapes associated with each residence earned them a Gold Award in the 2021 Awards of Excellence.

“This is especially rewarding because you work on projects like this for many years to get them to a point of excellence, and then get the award and see the positive comments peers from all over the country tell you sure is exciting,” says Zach Lieven, a landscape architect at David J. Frank.

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting Inc.

Lieven says that the client was a family friend, so they have been working together for many years.

The main residence has an authentic, Victorian-style appearance that includes multiple pocket gardens that incorporate multi-season color; this requires weekly gardening, attention to pruning, and the removal of debris. The other three homes have a more traditional design as well as a more common level of service, including gardens that display hostas, roses, hydrangeas, and numerous amount of perennials and shrubs, which provide natural screening along the perimeter of the property.

“Each week detail work is done at each property to accommodate the kids’ requests who live in the 3 other homes, then the owner has her own requests for all of the homes,” Lieven says. “It is tough sometimes to keep everyone happy and the landscape horticulturally well maintained.”

The client ended up developing a high level of gardening skills, so she was quick to critique the crew members to ensure everything was done up to par. The client requested that each garden be admirably pruned, watered, fertilized, and managed for pest control.

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting Inc.

Adding on to the extensive work needed for the gardens, the spruce, birch, and ornamental trees needed consistent care in order to appear healthy.

“The biggest issues we have here is clay soil, and basic pH, so we have used a regular program of adding soil acidifier in both liquid and time release forms to keep trees like river birch and spruce happy and healthy,” Lieven says “We also have to watch watering, as many of the trees require more watering during drought periods with these treatments while many of the evergreens want to be kept drier. It is a delicate balance constantly watched to keep the plantings health as good as possible and everything in a lush green state.”

The lawn is kept rich and green through core aeration and a customized fertilization mix. The yard is mowed weekly, which allows for it to look fresh and manicured at all times.

In order to ensure that all plants are healthy and vibrant, consistent fertilizing and spraying is performed. Crabapple and serviceberry are continuously sprayed to prevent leaves from getting crab apple or powdery mildew.

Trimming and pruning is completed monthly to keep hedges crisp and trees from growing into the surrounding landscape and homes. If necessary, extra time is taken to hand prune plants to ensure a more natural look; something the client stressed through maintenance.

Photo: David J. Frank Landscape Contracting Inc.

The multiple-home properties require care throughout every season, which is accomplished by a multitude of crews working together to complete tasks weekly.

Each year, the crews wash and clean the pathways while still giving them that natural feel, per the client’s request. During the winter, walkways and decks are hand shoveled with plastic blades, so marks are not left on the pavement.

In the spring, algae and organic matter are removed from the paving.

To keep things on schedule, an irrigation technician comes twice a month, a spray tech crew three times a month, and a lawn care crew comes one to two times a month.

In total, the crew spends about five to eight hours a week caring for this property’s four different landscapes.

Interested in participating in the Awards of Excellence? Be sure to enter your projects when entries open in February 2023.