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5 Tips to Improve School Grounds
By: George Hohman

Those in charge of the grounds at schools should not underestimate the importance of grounds in contributing to school pride, first impressions and a professional image. It matters little the state of your school buildings when your grounds are the first thing people see. So, put some serious thought into ensuring your school grounds are appropriate to the image you want to have.

1. Pay Attention to the Curb Appeal

A well-manicured, weed-free turf makes a great first impression to parents, students, faculty and visitors. Well-defined and weed-free flowerbeds say that you care and take pride in the smallest details. Properly pruned shrubs and trees are another reflection of the fact that you are proud of your school. All of this attention to detail and curb appeal contributes to school pride and morale as well.

2. Plan for Annual Color

Here in Ohio, we have three growing seasons: spring, summer and fall. You can take advantage of that to increase your curb appeal even more by making sure each of those seasons shows up at your school's property in the form of color.

Seasonal color at the main signs and entryways makes a real statement, when yellow daffodils are nodding brightly on a spring morning, red roses are flaunting their color in the summer sun, and copper-colored maple leaves glow in the autumn light. Color also draws attention to areas of interest. Maybe your school has a grand entrance or a new gym. Highlight those areas with color. This kind of attention to seasonal plantings also tells people you're paying attention to your school grounds all the year through.

3. Invest in a Master Landscape Design

Your buildings and outbuildings are no doubt the result of a master plan. Take the same approach with your grounds by using a master landscape design. A master plan can give you a road map for capital improvements on your site, ensuring that limited funds will be spent in ways that offer the most impact.

Landscape designs can also target high-profile areas such as signs, entryways and special projects, or they can help to make the maintenance of your school grounds more efficient.

4. Strive for a Professional Image With the Crew, Too

When it comes to curb appeal and first impressions, it's not only your landscaping and maintenance that are driving that impression, but the people doing the work, as well. The sight of a haphazard crew that's shoddily dressed can quickly detract from the positive image you're trying to put forth.

On the other hand, hiring a professional contractor with an educated staff reflects positively on your institution, as people see a professional logo on the sides of trucks and trailers, and uniformed employees caring for the grounds. As an added bonus, contractors that background check and drug test will give you peace of mind.

5. Ensure Winter Safety

Although we live in an area with three growing seasons, we also live in an area with snowy winters. Don't let winter weather wreak havoc on your school grounds or your school's safety. Hire a professional snow fighter that will monitor weather conditions and proactively communicate with you about their plan for servicing your campus during these times.

A contractor with a well-maintained fleet, trained employees, and access to salt and other ice melters can help to ensure safety on your campus. And when a specialized crew is taking care of your grounds during the winter, you'll still be able to pull off that curb appeal and professional image we've been talking about!

Improving your school grounds and ensuring those grounds are in tip-top shape the whole year through does not have to be an expensive proposition. Find the contractor that can reliably provide the services you need.

George Hohman is president at Turfscape, Inc. Since 1988, Turfscape has partnered with commercial properties to become Northeast Ohio's leading year-round provider of lawn maintenance and snow removal, www.turfscapeohio.com.















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