Jess Stryker's Landscape Tutorial Series

Jess Stryker's Landscape Tutorials
 
Free Landscape Care and Maintenance Specification


Free Landscape Care and Maintenance Specification

The following is a generic Landscape Maintenance Specification Specification(the Specification) for use with commercial landscapes. It is also suitable for use with residential landscapes with some minor revisions. You are free to use the Specification, subject to the limitations below, however you assume all liability for your use. Use of this Maintenance Specification is solely at your own risk. By use of this Specification you agree to hold the author harmless against all claims arising out of your use or modification of the Specification. The Specification is copyrighted, you may not publish it, sell it, or distribute it to others except in connection with the maintenance of a specific property. Please feel free to use the Landscape Maintenance Specification in your own business, that's the whole point of making it available. If you are a landscape professional (landscape architect, landscape contractor, landscape maintenance firm, etc.) you are also encouraged to use this Specification for landscapes you design or maintain. Everyone who uses the Specification is strongly urged to edit it to meet your specific landscape needs, as outlined in the Instructions for Use below.

The bottom line is that you may not publish or distribute this Specification without written permission of Jess Stryker & Associates. The intent of all this legal stuff is to assure that various mutations of the Specification don't wind up floating around on the Internet, and, of course, to protect the author (me) from regretting that I ever posted it here for your use! If you can abide by those few restrictions listed above, then I hope you find the Specification of benefit!


****** IMPORTANT ****** IMPORTANT ******

Instructions for Use:

Review the entire Landscape Maintenance Specification (LMS) carefully. You are responsible for assuring that it is appropriate for your landscape and region! The LMS is generic, so you will need to edit it to fit your specific landscape needs. To edit it simply save the file to your hard drive, then open it in any html editing program.

When reviewing your LMS look for items in it that do not apply to your project or may not be legal at your location. Just edit them to be correct or remove them.

The LMS is not a contract in itself, rather it is designed to be a part of a contract or an attachment to a contract. When contracting for maintenance services you should use a separate contract form and refer to the LMS on the contract form. This is often done by including a line in the contract that says something like "the landscape maintenance contractor shall comply with the standards and conditions set forth in the attached Landscape Maintenance Specification". An attorney can help you with a contract, or there are often standardized contract forms available at office supply stores. Many of the legal software packages also have contract forms.

The LMS is designed to give you control over your landscape. Special attention has been given to creating strong enforcement tools for use in areas which have been shown over time to be problematic in landscape maintenance. By far the biggest problem area is that of "shrinkage". Shrinkage is the term applied to the plants that disappear over time. Maybe they die of old age, perhaps vandalism, or even lack of proper care. Whatever the cause, each time one disappears, and is not replaced, your landscape decreases in value by a substantial amount. The value of a single shrub is going to be at least $20.00. It is not uncommon for 20% or more of the plants in a landscape to disappear every year! Most businesses the size of a fast food outlet will have over 1000 shrubs in the landscape. A little quick math shows that for that fast food outlet a 20% loss of shrubs represents $4000.00 worth of plants. If you had an employee ripping you off for $4000.00 a year you would want to know about it, right? Well, the landscape inventory will tell you real quick if you've been had by your landscape maintenance company. So I want to stress the importance of conducting a yearly inventory of your landscape just as you would do for your other assets. Your landscape should increase in value each year as the plants mature, not decrease as they disappear!

Remember that the LMS is worthless if you don't understand and enforce the standards it sets. In most cases a few weeks of tough enforcement when the contractor first starts will get the message across, and from that point on the contractor knows what's expected and you can put considerably less effort into enforcement. Try to assign one person on your staff to be responsible for enforcement!

Don't forget to look through the LMS Questions and Answers found at http://www.JessStryker.com/lmsfaq.htm .


WEEKLY LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

(See Landscape Maintenance Specifications for details.)

Place a check mark by each item completed during the past week.

  1. Mow and edge lawns if needed.
  2. Prune back any shrubs overhanging curbs or sidewalks.
  3. Prune back any groundcover overhanging curbs or sidewalks.
  4. Remove litter and leaves from plants, planters, and parking lots.
  5. Remove any broken or fallen branches from trees. Remove sucker growth from tree trunks.
  6. Remove any weeds larger than 2 inches (5 cm) high or wide from planters. Weeds 2 inches (5 cm) and larger must be removed, not just killed.
  7. Replace bark mulch which has been knocked or washed out of planters. Smooth mulch layer if it has been disturbed.
  8. Replace decorative rock which has been knocked or washed out of planters. Smooth decorative rock surface if it has been disturbed.
  9. Check plants for signs of stress or disease. Replace any plants that meet conditions for replacement at the contractor's expense. Request authorization to replace other dead or missing plants. Note: You must request authorization to make replacements within one week of the damage becoming evident!
  10. Sweep or blow clean all walkways, curbs, and gutters.
  11. Treat for any signs of disease or pest infestation.
  12. Complete any items required on the Monthly Checklist.
  13. Hand water any plants that are dry and stressed.
  14. Check the irrigation system. Make emergency repairs as needed or request authorization to make major repairs. Note: you must request authorization for repairs within one week of the damage becoming evident!
  15. Adjust the irrigation controllers for current water needs of plants.

Checked by:__________________________________(Print Name)

Signature: __________________________________ Date:__________


MONTHLY MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

(See Landscape Maintenance Specifications for details.)

January:

  1. Prune any tree branches that interfere with public safety. Prune all parking lot and street trees yearly to encourage strong upward growth.

February:

  1. Apply granular fertilizer in late February. Be sure to make application prior to a moderate rainfall in drip-irrigated planters so the rain will wash the fertilizer in!
  2. Submit receipts to owner's authorized representative as proof of fertilizer purchase.
  3. Add new mulch to planters where the mulch depth has been reduced to less than 2 inches (5 cm) thick. Mulch not required where shrubs or groundcover completely hide the soil surface from view.

March:

  1. Plant annual color for spring/summer bloom.
  2. Flush out irrigation systems as needed and check for proper operation of each valve zone.
  3. Remove and clean wye filter screens.
  4. Clean or replace plugged sprinkler nozzles. Replace plugged drip emitters.
  5. Replace irrigation controller program back-up batteries.

April:

  1. Add new mulch to planters where the mulch depth has been reduced to less than 2 inches (5 cm) thick. Mulch not required where shrubs or groundcover completely hide the soil surface from view.

May:

  1. Apply fertilizer to all landscape areas. The May fertilization of shrubs/groundcover areas may be deleted when the plants reach maturity or completely fill the planters, without space between them. Written authorization from the owner's representative is required before the foliar fertilization may be deleted from the required work.
  2. Submit receipts to owner's authorized representative as proof of fertilizer purchase.

June:

  1. Prune spring & winter-flowering shrubs as needed to maintain proper shape.
  2. Add new mulch to planters where the mulch depth has been reduced to less than 2 inches (5 cm) thick. Mulch not required where shrubs or groundcover completely hide the soil surface from view.

July:

No additional items.

August:

  1. Apply fertilizer to all landscape areas. The August fertilization of shrubs/groundcover areas may be deleted when the plants reach maturity or completely fill the planters, without space between them. Written authorization from the owner's representative is required before the foliar fertilization may be deleted from the required work.
  2. Submit receipts to owner's authorized representative as proof of fertilizer purchase.
  3. Add new mulch to planters where the mulch depth has been reduced to less than 2 inches (5 cm) thick. Mulch not required where shrubs or groundcover completely hide the soil surface from view.

September:

  1. Inventory all plant materials. Inventory shall include an exact count of all shrubs and trees, itemized by planter. Replace any dead or missing plants subject to the terms of these specifications.
  2. Prune perennial bulbs back to ground level as soon as leaf blades yellow and wilt due to cold weather. Apply 3 inches of mulch on ground surface over bulbs to insulate from cold.
  3. In areas without snow, plant annual color for fall/winter bloom.

October:

  1. Apply fertilizer to all landscape areas. The October fertilization of shrubs/groundcover areas may be deleted when the plants reach maturity or completely fill the planters, without space between them. Written authorization from the owner's representative is required before the foliar fertilization may be deleted from the required work.
  2. Submit receipts to owner's authorized representative as proof of fertilizer purchase.
  3. Prepare irrigation system for winter. Make sure backflow preventer is well insulated or drained prior to first freeze. Blow out pipes using compressed air in areas where freezing could result in breakage.
  4. Add new mulch to planters where the mulch depth has been reduced to less than 2 inches (5 cm) thick. Mulch not required where shrubs or groundcover completely hide the soil surface from view.

November:

No additional items.

December:

  1. Prune any tree branches that interfere with public safety. Prune all parking lot and street trees yearly to encourage strong, upward growth.
  2. Prune summer and fall-blooming shrubs as needed to maintain proper shape.



LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE SPECIFICATIONS

I. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

  1. Part of Contract: This Landscape Maintenance Specification is a part of the contract for landscape maintenance services. Compliance with the requirements set forth in this specification are mandatory for the maintenance contractor. If any part of this specification is declared invalid for any reason, that invalidation shall apply only to that specific part declared invalid, it shall not nullify any of the requirements of any other part. In the event of question over applicability of any requirement, the requirement shall be assumed to apply, unless the owner provides a written clarification stating that it does not. All modifications to this specification must be in writing.
  2. Definitions:
    1. The term "owner" refers to the person, partnership, corporation, or agency that contracted for the performance of the landscape maintenance work.
    2. The term "contractor" refers to the person, partnership, corporation, or agency that will perform the landscape maintenance work.
    3. The term "excluded damage" as used in this document shall refer to damage caused by vandalism, pedestrians, vehicles, animals (except insects and rodents), or other unusual factors. It does not include damage caused by the contractor's actions, lack of reasonable care, pest damage (such as insects), diseases, or plant loss due to lack of water caused by an irrigation system programing error, irrigation system breakage, or irrigation malfunction. (It is assumed that most plants can survive for at least one week without irrigation, during which time any irrigation problems should become apparent to the contractor. Exceptions may be made if the owner's authorized representative determines that unusual circumstances contributed to a loss.)
  3. Insurance: The contractor shall provide the owner's authorized represent- ative with current Certificates of Insurance showing that the following requirements are met:
    1. Workman's compensation insurance to meet Government regulatory minimum requirements, but not less than an aggregate limit of _____.
    2. General liability insurance with an aggregate limit of not less than _____.
    3. Vehicle liability insurance with an aggregate limit of not less than ______. Insurance policies meeting these requirements shall remain in effect for the duration of the work. No payments to the contractor will be authorized unless current Certificates of Insurance have been filed with the owner's authorized representative.
  4. Contact Person: The contractor shall provide the owner's authorized representative with a phone number where a message can be left for the contractor 24 hours a day. An answering machine connected to the contractor's normal phone line is an acceptable method of meeting this requirement. The contractor shall check for messages left at this phone number every 24 hours or less.
  5. Additional Work: All requests for work that will require additional payment must be in writing. Do not start work until the request for additional work has been approved in writing by the owner's authorized representative. Failure to obtain advance approval before starting the work may result in non-payment or delays in processing payment. Emergency repairs may be made without authorization when immediate repairs are necessary to protect the health, safety, or welfare of the public, or immediate repairs are needed to prevent additional property damage. In these situations, make immediate repairs as needed to protect the public or stabilize the situation and immediately notify the Owner's Representative. Additional payment for the work will be negotiated with the contractor by the owner's authorized representative.Unless otherwise noted, requests for work that qualifies for an additional payment must be made within two weeks of the time when the need for the work becomes apparent. Failure to notify the owner of the need for the work within two weeks of the need for the work becoming apparent will result in the requirement that the work be completed at the contractor's expense. For example if the owner's authorized representative notes damage (including missing or dead plants) to landscape features and the contractor does not submit a request for extra work within two weeks of the damage occurring, then the damage shall be corrected completely at the contractor's expense. The purpose of this requirement is to encourage the contractor to check for problems weekly and promptly report them so they can be corrected.
  6. Existing Conditions, Examination of Site:
    1. Within two weeks of the starting date for work under this contract, the contractor shall make a thorough examination of the current conditions at the site. As part of this examination, the contractor shall create an inventory list of the name and quantity of each plant in each planter and confirm that the existing quantities in each planter meet or exceed those shown on any previous plant inventories. The contractor shall make a list of all landscape items at the site that he/she believes are broken, missing, not healthy, or otherwise are not in compliance with these specifications. A copy of this list, along with an additional itemized quote for correcting each item, shall be given to the owner's authorized representative. Upon confirmation of each item, the owner's authorized representative will either give the contractor written authorization to make the correction, or a written release from responsibility for the item.
    2. By the act of submitting a bid on this work, the contractor shall be considered to have examined both the landscape and these specifications, and to have thoroughly familiarized himself/herself with the scope of the required work.
  7. Loss Prevention: The owner may take any reasonable action necessary to control damage or protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public in the event of problems involving the landscape. Such action on the part of the owner shall not relieve the contractor of any responsibilities related to the problem.
  8. Safety:
    1. No part of this work shall be performed or installed in any location or manner which may endanger the health, safety, or welfare of the public now or in the future. Means, methods, techniques, sequencing, etc. are the sole responsibility of the contractor.
    2. The contractor agrees that he/she shall assume sole and complete responsibility for his/her work, including safety of all persons and property; and that the contractor shall defend, indemnify, and hold the owner and tenants harmless from any and all liability, real or alleged, in connection with the contractor's performance of work on this project, excepting for liability arising from the sole negligence of the owner or tenants.
  9. Laws, Codes, and Ordinances:
    1. Any requirement of this specification which conflicts with or is in violation of any government rule, ordinance, regulation, etc. shall be void. The contractor shall notify the owner immediately of any such requirement found in this specification.
    2. The contractor shall, throughout the course of this work, comply with all rules, ordinances, regulations, etc. set forth by agencies having jurisdiction, which apply to the work site, the contractor, and/or his/her employees.

II. SCOPE OF WORK

  1. The contractor shall provide regular, weekly maintenance services as outlined in these Landscape Maintenance Specifications and the Weekly and Monthly Checklists for this project site.
  2. The contractor shall examine the landscape, including irrigation, on a weekly basis, looking for problems or potential problems with the landscape.
  3. The contractor shall provide at his/her own risk all labor, materials, tools, equipment, insurance, transportation, hauling, dumping, and all other items needed to provide the services outlined in this Specification.
  4. The contractor shall make minor replacements and repairs to the landscape facilities as part of the required weekly maintenance work. Major items needing replacement or repair shall be reported to the owner's representative within one week of occurrence. A minor item would be something that takes less than 15 minutes to repair by skilled workmen, using minimal replacement parts. Some specific guidelines for determining if an item is minor or major are given in the section pertaining to each item. The contractor shall be available to perform additional work related to the landscape maintenance as may be authorized in writing by the owner. Such work shall be non-minor items relating to landscape care, which are not a part of the normal maintenance work as outlined in this specification.
  5. Any facilities or property damaged or destroyed as a result of the landscape maintenance contractor's operations at the site shall be repaired or replaced at the landscape maintenance contractor's expense.
  6. The contractor shall take all reasonable precautions required to protect plants from abnormal temperatures.

III. CHECKLISTS

  1. The WEEKLY LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST is made a part of this specification as if repeated in full here. The contractor shall review this checklist weekly and complete all applicable items on the list weekly.
  2. The MONTHLY MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST is made a part of this specification as if repeated in full here. The contractor shall review this checklist monthly and complete all the applicable items listed for the current month prior to the end of the month.

IV. CARE OF PLANTED AREAS

  1. Trees:
    1. Trees shall be maintained in a healthy, vigorous growing condition, free from disease and large concentrations of pests.
    2. Prune trees only to remove dead, diseased, broken, dangerous, or crossing branches, and as required below. Pruning of this type is a minor, non-reimbuseable, cost to be included as part of the regular maintenance.
    3. Prune trees only in appropriate months as determined by an arborist. Prune in accordance with generally accepted standards for proper pruning.
    4. Discard all tree trimmings off-site using a legal method.
    5. Any tree found to be dead or missing shall be replaced with plant material of identical species at the landscape maintenance contractor's expense, unless the loss was due to excluded damage. If the loss resulted from excluded damage, replacement will be paid for as additional work. Submit a quote for replacement within two weeks of the loss as outlined in the General Requirements section of these specifications. Replacement trees shall equal in size to the originally installed tree at the time it was planted at the site. In no case shall replacement trees be less than #24 box size as defined by the American Nursery Association. Example: if the tree was a #36 box size when originally planted the replacement shall be a #36 box size.
    6. Replacement trees shall be approved for size and appearance by the owner's authorized representative prior to planting. Replacement trees shall be double staked with 2 inches (5 cm) diameter stakes unless otherwise approved by the owner's authorized representative. Place 6 slow-release fertilizer tablets in backfill material, evenly spaced around rootball, but not touching the rootball.
    7. Remove tree stakes from trees when the trunks are larger than 2 inches (5 cm) caliper and the trees are able to support themselves. Remove stakes from site and dispose of by a legal method. Recycle used stakes if possible.
    8. Once a year, prune all trees to encourage a high-branching structure. Remove all non-structural branches between the ground and a point half the tree's total height (for very tall trees don't remove branches higher than 20' [6 m] above the ground). Exception to the above: trees planted for screening purposes, such as those at rear perimeters of many sites shall not be pruned except as needed to remove dead, diseased, broken, dangerous, or crossing branches. Some municipalities prohibit pruning trees without a permit. Check with local authorities prior to pruning. The contractor is responsible for determining if permits are needed and shall obtain and pay for any required permits as part of the basic landscape maintenance fee.
    9. The cutting blades on pruning shears, clippers, blades, saws, etc. shall be sterilized after pruning each tree to minimize the possibility of spreading disease. When pruning trees known or suspected to be diseased, cutting blades shall be sterilized after each cut. Sterilize blades by dipping them in a solution of 1 part bleach and 9 parts water or heavily spray them with a disinfectant spray, such as Lysol. After dipping or spraying, wait 20 seconds before using again.
    10. A vertical clearance of 114 inches is required above all parking spaces. A vertical clearance of 80 inches is required above all walkways. Trim trees to remove all limbs within these areas.
  2. Shrubs and Vines:
    1. Shrubs and vines shall be kept in a healthy, vigorous condition, free from disease and large concentrations of pests.
    2. Shrubs shall be pruned weekly only as needed to remove branches that are dead, broken, extending beyond the face of curbs or sidewalks, or are climbing building walls (unless they are intended to climb the wall, such as climbing vines). Formal hedges and topiary shall be regularly pruned to maintain a uniform height and width. Except as noted previously, allow the shrubs to grow unpruned to their natural sizes!
    3. Shrubs uniformly planted in rows, where it is clear the entent was to create a hedge, shall be pruned so as to encourage a hedge. Shrubs in hedges shall be encouraged through prunig to form a dense, continuous, hedge, branching fully to the ground. All other shrubs shall be pruned only as required for safety, visability, and plant health, and allowed to develop into the natural shapes expected of the plant variety. Do not shear shrubs into topiary (shapes) unless specifically instructed to do so in writing by the owner's authorized representative.
    4. Allow shrubs three (3) months to rejuvenate following a hard frost prior to pruning or replacing.
    5. Any shrub found to be dead or missing shall be replaced with plant material of identical species at the landscape maintenance contractor's expense, unless the loss was due to excluded damage. If the loss resulted from excluded damage, replacement will be paid for as additional work. Submit a quote for replacement within two weeks of the loss as outlined in the General Requirements section of these specifications. Replacement shrubs shall be #5 size as defined by the American Nursery Association.
    6. Replacement shrubs shall be at least 18 inches (45 cm) in height when planted, unless otherwise approved by the owner's authorized representative. Place 2 slow-release fertilizer tablets in backfill material, 6 inches (15 cm) deep on opposite sides of the rootball, but not touching the rootball.
    7. The cutting blades on pruning shears, clippers, blades, saws, etc. shall be sterilized between every three shrubs to minimize the possibility of spreading disease. When pruning shrubs known or suspected to be diseased, the cutting blades shall be sterilized after each cut. Sterilize blades by dipping them in a solution of 1 part bleach and 9 parts water or heavily spray them with a disinfectant spray, such as Lysol. After dipping or spraying, wait 20 seconds before using again.
  3. Groundcover:
    1. Groundcover shall be maintained in a healthy, vigorous growing condition.
    2. Any groundcover found to be dead or missing shall be replaced with plant material of identical species at the landscape maintenance contractor's expense, unless the loss was due to excluded damage. If the loss resulted from excluded damage, replacement will be paid for as additional work. Submit a quote for replacement within two weeks of the loss as outlined in the General Requirements section of these specifications. Replacement groundcover shall be planted at 8 inches (20 cm) spacing from flats to encourage quick coverage. Prior to planting replacement groundcover, the soil shall be tilled to a depth of 6 inches (15 cm) to prepare it for the new plants.
    3. Keep groundcover trimmed back from sidewalks, curbs, and paved areas on a weekly basis. Do not create vertical edges when pruning groundcover. Cut the edges at an angle /--\ for a more natural appearance and healthier plants.
    4. If regular foot traffic through a planter is preventing the groundcover from reaching full coverage of the soil, contact the owner's authorized representative to discuss options for redirecting the foot traffic. Consider installing pavers, stepping stones, a concrete walk, a gravel path, and/or barriers to redirect pedestrians. Provide costs for these options to the owner's authorized representative.
  4. Fertilizer:
    1. Foliar applied fertilizer shall be water soluble and non- burning. Formulation shall be 15-30-15 or similar. Apply at manufacturer's maximum recommended concentration for plant type. Saturate the entire foliage of each plant with foliar spray until it runs off.
    2. Granular fertilizer shall be 16-16-16 formulation or similar, applied at maximum label rate for plant type an 90 day interval. Water immediately after applying to move the fertilizer into the soil and wash the fertilizer off of plant surfaces.
    3. When applying granular fertilizers to drip-irrigated areas, the fertilizer must be washed in by hand or rainfall before turning on the drip system. Running the drip system immediately after application will push the fertilizer away from the emitters, resulting in a high concentration of fertilizer at the edge of the wetted zone. This highly-concentrated fertilizer can kill or damage plants. It is recommended that granular fertilizers be applied to drip-irrigated areas only in early spring, just prior to a moderate rainfall.
    4. Itemized receipts for fertilizer and other required soil amendments purchase (or for services of a fertilizer application company) must be submitted to the owner's authorized representative as proof of application. The contractor shall submit the receipts together with the next regular billing. Failure to submit receipts may result in payment delays or partial payment. Receipts must show the name and phone number of the seller and the date of sale. Receipts must also be itemized, showing the total quantity and description of each item. Prices and unrelated purchases may be blacked out.
  5. Weed control:
    1. Weeds in planted areas, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, or pavement shall be removed or killed weekly as the weeds emerge. Weeds shall be removed (not just killed) if they are larger than 2 inches (5 cm) in height or diameter. Dispose of weeds off-site. Pre and post-emergent herbicides may be used at the contractor's option. No additional payments will be made for herbicide applications. The cost of all weed control work shall be included in the contract price for landscape maintenance. Regular maintenance of the mulch or decorative rock layer will help minimize weeds in shrub and groundcover areas.
  6. Mulch and/or Rock Layer:
    1. Soil mulch and/or rock layer shall be cared for as needed to create and maintain an even and uniform appearance over the visible soil surface of each planter area.
    2. The contractor shall add additional mulch and/or decorative rock regularly to maintain a layer no less than 2 inches (5 cm) deep at all times in shrub planters. Decomposition of organic mulch is considered normal wear and tear and replacement of decomposed mulch shall be made by the contractor as part of this contract. Mulch and/or decorative rock is not required in areas where plant foliage completely covers the soil surface, such that the soil is not visible through the foliage. Note: only 2 inches (5 cm) of mulch is required, however maintaining a deeper layer of mulch and/or decorative rock greatly reduces the labor and chemicals needed to control weeds, reduces water use, and helps the plants stay healthy.
    3. Replacement of large amounts of mulch and/or decorative rock (over one cubic yard or 0.75 cubic meter) which has been stolen, vandalized, or washed away by a single storm will be paid as additional work. Submit a quote for the work as noted in the General Requirements section of these specifications.
    4. Any mulch or decorative rock found outside planter areas shall be returned to the planter on a weekly basis.
    5. Mulch and/or decorative rock shall be uniform in color and appearance, and free of leaves, sticks, or trash. Mulch may be chipped or shredded wood, bark, or decorative rock. When replacing existing mulch, use a mulch product that is similar in appearance to that already at the site.
    6. In areas of the site where wood-based mulch frequently washes away, submit a quote for replacement of the organic mulch with decorative rock having a similar color.
    7. Replacement rock shall be same size and color as existing decorative rock on site. In the event no rock is existing, the decorative rock used shall have a maximum diameter of 3/4 inch (2 cm) and a minimum diameter of 3/8 inch (1 cm).
  7. Lawns:
    1. Lawns shall be kept in a healthy, vigorous condition, free of disease and pests, except as noted below.
    2. Lawn height shall not exceed 5 inches (13 cm) at any time.
    3. Mow, edge and trim lawns weekly or as required to maintain an even, well-groomed appearance.
    4. Remove visible lawn clippings and dispose of them off-site in a legal manner. The contractor is encouraged to use mulching mowers which cut clippings into small pieces that sift down into the lawn.
    5. Weeds shall be controlled in lawn areas as noted above under the weed-control section.
    6. Any lawn found to be dead or severely yellowed shall be replaced with plant material of identical species at the landscape maintenance contractor's expense, unless the loss was due to excluded damage. If the loss resulted from excluded damage, replacement will be paid for as additional work. Submit a quote for replacement within two weeks of the loss as outlined in the General Requirements section of these specifications. Replacement sod shall be similar in all respects to the existing grass. Do not seed dead lawn areas, use sod only for replacement, unless directed, in writing, by the owner's authorized representative.

V. IRRIGATION

  1. Water Application & Scheduling:
    1. Hand water as needed to supplement natural rainfall and maintain plantings in a healthy, stress-free condition. It is the contractor's responsibility to make sure that plants receive adequate water regardless of weather conditions.
    2. It is the responsibility of the contractor to conserve water and assure that all watering rules and regulations are followed. Any penalties, fines, or citations for watering ordinance violations shall be paid by the contractor.
    3. Irrigation shall be made by the use of the permanent irrigation systems. Hand water as needed to supplement the permanent system. Failure of the irrigation system to provide full and proper coverage shall not relieve the landscape maintenance contractor of the responsibility to provide adequate irrigation. It is the contractor's responsibility to make sure that the irrigation system is maintained and operates properly.
    4. The contractor is responsible for the complete operation and maintenance of the irrigation systems, except as noted below. The contractor shall examine the irrigation system for damage or malfunction weekly and shall report damage or malfunction to the owner's authorized representative in writing. If the contractor fails to report the broken or malfunctioning irrigation system components within two weeks of the breakage or malfunction, the contractor shall be responsible for all damages resulting from the broken irrigation system component.
    5. Adjust watering times each week. Do not overwater plantings. Use multiple-start times and short run times to prevent run-off. Drip systems should be left on for sufficient time to allow for saturation of the root zone. Shorter runs with drip irrigation do not provide sufficient water penetration for healthy root development. Avoid multiple-start times with drip systems if possible. Do not allow run-off from any irrigation.
    6. When breakdowns or malfunctions exist, the contractor shall hand water, if necessary, to maintain all plant material in a healthy condition. If the irrigation repairs are major and will be billed as additional work (see items that qualify for additional work payments as outlined below), the labor costs for hand watering may also be submitted for payment as noted in the General Requirements section of these specifications. Do not wait for approval to begin hand watering if it is required to save the plantings.
  2. Irrigation System Scheduled Maintenance:
    1. Each valve zone shall be observed for signs of damage on a weekly basis during the irrigation season.
    2. The landscape maintenance contractor shall maintain the irrigation system, including cleaning of filter screens yearly or more often as needed, and flushing pipes, as part of this contract.
    3. Drip irrigation systems need periodic flushing to remove sediment. When flushing is necessary, it shall be performed as part of this contract. Drip systems shall be flushed at least once a year. Open ends of drip lines and run for at least 15 minutes at full flow to flush. It may be necessary to install flush outlets in order to flush the drip system.
    4. Run-off of water from irrigation systems into or onto streets, sidewalks, stairs, or gutters is not permitted. The contractor shall immediately shut down the irrigation system and make adjustments, repairs, or replacements as soon as possible to correct the source of the run-off.
  3. Irrigation System Repair:
    1. The landscape maintenance contractor shall replace or repair, at the landscape maintenance contractor's expense, any irrigation components damaged, unless due to excluded damage. Repair shall be made within two weeks of the day the damage occurred. If the damage was due to excluded damage, the irrigation repairs will be paid for as additional work. The contractor shall make notification of needed repairs within two weeks of the day the damage occurred as noted in the General Requirements section of these specifications. Regardless of the cause of damage, the contractor shall take immediate action to prevent further damage by shutting off the damaged part of the irrigation system and commencing with hand watering as needed. As soon as possible after receiving written authorization to proceed, the contractor shall make repairs. The following items are considered to be minor repairs: damaged or clogged sprinkler nozzles, adjustment of sprinkler patterns or arcs, adjustment of sprinkler position (ie; raise, lower, or straighten sprinkler head), replacement of clogged, broken, or missing barbed-style drip emitters, replacement or repositioning of drip distribution tubing smaller than 1/2 inch or 15 mm diameter. These minor repair items shall be corrected by contractor at contractor's expense.
    2. Any replacement of irrigation system components shall be made with materials of the same manufacturer and model as the original equipment. Substitutions of materials other than original equipment will be approved only when the original equipment has been discontinued and is no longer available for purchase at any location. The substituted equipment must be completely compatible with the original and must be approved in advance by the owner's authorized representative.
    3. All repairs to the system shall be identical to the original installation, unless approved otherwise in advance by the owner's authorized representative. If a change to the installation will result in lower future maintenance costs, less frequent breakage, or an increase in public safety, request authorization to make the change from the owner's authorized representative.
    4. For safety, never install sprinklers on risers above the ground level, even if the risers are flexible. Always use spring-operated, pop-up style, sprinkler heads. Sprinkler heads are available with pop-up heights up to 12 inches (30 cm) above ground level. If the existing sprinklers are mounted on above-ground risers, the replacements shall be pop-up type sprinklers. No exceptions, ever!
    5. If any existing sprinklers at this site are installed on risers above the ground level, submit a quote for additional work to the owner's authorized representative covering the cost of removal and replacement of these sprinklers with new, spring-loaded, pop-up type, sprinklers. Submit the quote within two weeks of being awarded this contract.
    6. The contractor shall check the entire irrigation system weekly for items such as dry spots and missing or malfuctioning irrigation components. Check for leaking valves, water running across sidewalks, water standing in puddles, or any other condition which hampers the correct operation of the system or the public safety. The contractor shall carefully observe plant materials for signs of wilting, indicating a lack of water. Plants which die due to irrigation failure will be considered to have died due to the contractor's negligence and shall be replaced at the contractor's expense.
    7. Plastic sprinkler nozzles with bad patterns shall be replaced with new nozzles of the same gallonage and arc as part of the regular maintenance of the sprinkler system. Do not attempt to clean plastic nozzles by sticking knife blades or wire into the openings. The plastic will be scratched and the pattern will be ruined. Brass nozzles may be carefully cleaned if needed.

VI. CLEAN UP AND LITTER REMOVAL

  1. Sweep or blow-off all walks, curbs, and gutters weekly. Sweeping of parking lots is not part of this work unless noted otherwise in contract.
    1. Do not sweep or blow trash, leaves, clippings, or landscape debris into planters or onto adjacent property. Collect all debris swept or blown from landscape areas and remove from the site.
    2. Do not use blowers prior to 7:00 A.M. or after 8:00 P.M. or at any other hours restricted by law. Do not use blowers around parked vehicles to avoid scratching vehicle paint with blowing sand and debris. Blowers may not be used where prohibited by law. A. All litter shall be removed from sidewalks, gutters, and all planted areas each week. In no case shall trash, litter, or leaves be blown or swept onto the property of others. All trash, litter, leaves, etc. shall be collected, hauled away, and disposed of legally.
  2. In addition to removing all litter from sidewalks, gutters, and planted areas, the contractor shall remove and dispose of any large miscellaneous debris or trash in the parking lot. For the purpose of this contract, "large" shall mean items the size of a small beverage cup or larger. The intent of this requirement is that the contractor's workers should take sufficient pride in the appearance of the site that they would pick up any significant litter they come across at the site. Sweeping of the parking lots is not included in the landscape maintenance. All litter shall be removed from planter areas and sidewalks, regardless of the size of the litter.

VII. CHEMICALS, HERBICIDES, PESTICIDES

  1. All chemicals shall be used in accordance with label directions and the manufacturer's recommended handling methods. All chemicals shall be handled in accordance with all applicable regulations. Registered chemicals shall be used only on the advise of a qualified, licensed if required, pest control advisor. Nothing in this specification shall be construed to be the advice of, or to substitute for the advice of, a pest control adviser.
  2. Pesticides shall not be applied within one hour of the start of operating hours for businesses at the site. In the event that it is not possible to complete the application by one hour prior to business hours (ie; 24 hour operations), applications shall be made at times when customer presence is minimal. Areas to be treated shall be blocked off and warning signs posted.
  3. The landscape maintenance contractor shall take precautions to keep persons away from pesticide and herbicide-treated areas until the applied material is fully dry and the treated area is safe for entry. Follow the recommendations of the pesticide manufacturer and all applicable governmental and industry regulations.

VIII. COMMUNICATIONS AND REPORTS

  1. Regular communication between the contractor and the owner's authorized representative is encouraged.
  2. The contractor is encouraged to ask questions, rather than make assumptions.
  3. As the landscape matures, some of the maintenance procedures will be eliminated and others may have to be added. For example, as the shrubs mature they will require less fertilizer. Regular communication will eliminate most surprises to the owner of changing maintenance costs, which will vary as the landscape grows. Remember, all changes to these specifications must be approved in writing by the owner's authorized representative.
  4. The contractor shall provide the owner's authorized representative with the name and phone number of the contractor's representative for this site. The contractor's representative shall be a person in the employ of the contractor who is familiar with, and regularly updated on, all the contractor's activities at the site. The contractor's representative shall personally perform regular reviews of the contractor's work at the site.
  5. The contractor shall turn in a copy of the Weekly Maintenance Checklist to the owner's authorized representative each week. The checklist copy shall have a check mark by all items completed at the site during the week by the contractor. Any items completed that are not on the checklist shall be noted on the back of the checklist. The checklist shall be dated and contain the name and signature of the contractor's representative for the work at this site.

END OF LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE SPECIFICATION


 

Sponsored links:

Glossary     Conversion Formulas     About the Author

Jess Stryker's Homepage with lots of FREE stuff!

 

Landscape Maintenance Specification
Text by Jess Stryker
Copyright © Jess Stryker, 1999