City Landscapes Keeping it green in the Concrete Jungle

It’s Spring, as the saying goes, and a young man’s fancy turns to love. Your co-op board, while they may be romantics at heart, smell Spring and their minds go to landscape maintenance. The landscaping of a property is the first thing visitors see; it adds value to the units and influences quality of life. Even so, many experts say not enough thought, time and money is going into this very important area. While it may be true that April showers bring May flowers, grooming the grounds is a January to December affair.

Robert Grant, director of Diversified Property Management, a company with offices in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island which manages over 4,000 units, has a passion for landscaping. Among Diversified’s clients are a 25-acre co-op complex in Queens and a ten-acre Staten Island Townhouse community. "[Property Managers] are always solving problems, fixing the leaks," Grant says, "Landscaping is the artistry and fun side of what we do." Grant follows a twelve month schedule for maintaining the grounds of his properties which includes not just planting, mowing, and weeding, but also soil preparation, pesticide spraying and disease control.

Landscaping Considerations

If you’ve decided that this is the year to spruce up your landscaping, there are several things to consider before sending the super off to Home Depot for some flats of impatiens. Grant recommends that buildings budget money for a landscape company and find one that does not only maintenance, but also has a knowledge of design. Even small buildings with limited funds can hire a consultant, and then save money by doing the work themselves.

Numerous factors affect what types of plants, trees, shrubs, and even grass, may be utilized on a particular property. A landscape designer examines many factors. How much light does the area get? What areas and views need enhancement or obstruction? What is the pitch of the land and the quality of the soil? What is the exposure of the landscaping to wind, pedestrians, and pets? Rooftop gardens have other considerations which include weight and construction restrictions imposed by the New York City Building codes, and soil-less planting mixtures. For every property, the answers and the combinations of plantings will be unique.

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