Commercial Landscaping and Snow Removal Frequently Asked Questions

Basic Landscaping Questions 

Landscape maintenance pricing is a factor of cost of goods and labor.

So, the main ways to cut costs when it comes to your landscape is to choose features that use resources minimally. A drought-tolerant xeriscape is going to cost much less in utility bills than plant beds filled with annual flowers that require daily watering.

Keeping the technology that supports your landscape up to date can also help to save you money. For example, malfunctioning rain sensors and sprinkler heads within your irrigation system can cost you thousands in unnecessary utility bills.

It's all about your property's purpose.

Depending on your property’s main function, there are many things you can do that will provide a great return on your investment. Some property owners and managers can see a great return on investment just by improving their landscape’s aesthetics. Others, however will need to seriously consider their property’s purpose. Would you like to see more clients at your retail property? Consider changes in your landscape’s design that will transform your commercial property into a lifestyle center. Set up furniture that’s inviting and makes people feel comfortable.

If you manage an office park or corporate building, consider developing outdoor workspaces that will improve the experiences of current employees and perhaps even help to attract new ones. Some landscapes make use of hardscapes and patios for employees to work at, but you can make an outdoor workspace by strategically planting trees and shrubs that provide ample amounts of shade and placing comfortable furniture underneath.

Landscape lighting is an important feature that many property managers and owners overlook. Not only does it allow for your property to be seen 24 hours per day, but increasing visibility on your property can make your customers, tenants, and employees feel safer in the evening.

The first step to improving the drainage on your property is to determine what is causing the blockage. If you suddenly notice that your property isn’t draining properly, then blocked or collapsed pipes may be the culprit. But most of the time, poor drainage is due to poor landscape design or a lack of planning for stormwater management.

Hardscapes are wonderful for increasing the walkable areas of your landscape and giving your property a polished look, but having too much of your property covered in stone or concrete can cause rainfall collect in certain areas if there is no place for it to drain to.

These issues can often be resolved by fixing damaged plumbing and clearing any blockages, but sometimes more comprehensive alterations to your property’s infrastructure are required. Additions and changes to your landscape such as installing a drain, constructing a bioswale, or altering the slope of your landscape (often referred to as regrading) can also help.

Some varieties of plants are better at absorbing water than others, and by grouping these together in a strategic manner you can build a rain garden. Rain gardens are great for properties that typically receive a lot of standing water.

Like most plants, turf needs light, water, and air to thrive.

Unfortunately, every plant on your landscape must compete for these same resources with the plants around it. Typically, the plants with the largest root systems win every time, and this usually means that smaller plants like turf and shrubs lose to trees.

Trees provide shade, and although it’s nice to have a respite from summer’s harsh heat, too much shade on your property could mean that other plants aren’t receiving the amount of sunlight needed for healthy growth.

Healthy plants start with healthy soil, and turf is no exception to the rule. If your landscape is getting plenty of sunlight, water, and has proper drainage, then a simple soil test might be in order. The results of a soil test will tell you what nutrients, if any, your soil is missing. Sometimes this can be remedied with fertilizer.

Plant Care

It's all about feeding the soil.

Plants need two types of nutrients to survive: micronutrients and macronutrients. Think of macronutrients like fast food and micronutrients like vitamins. Sure, you can survive off of McDonalds, but you won’t be as healthy as you could be if you had a more balanced diet.

Organic and synthetic fertilizer both feed your plants the nutrients they need, but the difference lies in which nutrients are provided. Synthetic fertilizers typically only offer the basic macronutrients your plants need to survive. Organic fertilizers, sometimes referred to as bio-nutritional fertilizers, offer more holistic nutrition with micronutrients and macronutrients.

Here at Schill we’re pretty proud of our organic fertilizer use. Not only are they better for your soil, the best organic fertilizers also have a smaller impact on the environment.

For a more detailed description on the difference between organic and synthetic fertilizers, read this article.

There are many reasons why a tree or shrub will lose leaves or begin to die out. This is typically most noticeable in the spring when damaged trees stand out in comparison to their healthy, leafier counterparts.

Winter damage is often the culprit of this, but lightning strikes and common diseases are also common causes.

To read more about tree damage, as well as how to save money by preventing it, take a look at this article.

Yes! Mulch is a great way to help your plants retain moisture in the heat. It also mitigates temperature fluctuations, which can damage plants.

If you want some tips on how to choose the best kinds of mulch, or would just like some general information about mulch for commercial properties, take a look at our review of the most popular varieties.

Commercial Snow Removal & Winter Safety

Keeping your property safe starts with finding certified experts who are properly trained to keep streets and walkways clear.

Beyond that, many common safety hazards on commercial properties have to do with the design of landscapes, walkways, and parking areas. For instance, raised parking dividers are innocuous in warm weather, but when they become covered by snow they can cause damage to vehicles and people if they trip on them.

Read more: Winter Pedestrian Safety Tips

Business: All about landscaping and snow removal contracts

When you compare landscaping bids and contracts, it’s vitally important to make sure that the services offered by each vendor are roughly the same. This requires that you know what’s included in a landscape maintenance contract, and to learn about that you can read this article on the subject. Optimally, you should also have an idea of what the average costs for each aspect of landscape maintenance will cost as well. Because we believe in transparency, we created a list of the most common landscaping services and their associated average prices

Contracts for commercial snow removal can vary drastically from business to business, which can be frustrating for property managers and owners. As with landscaping services, understanding snow removal contracts begins with understanding what services are being provided. In a basic sense, commercial snow removal involves snow plowing, shoveling, ice melt products (salt, liquid deicer, brine, etc.), and hauling or banking. There are three types of contracts that are used most commonly throughout the industry:

  • Per event contracts: The customer’s property is only serviced if the snowfall reaches a certain depth, typically around two inches.
  • Multiple year agreements: The customer is billed a fixed price every month, and this price is locked for several years.
  • Full service contracts: These agreements include pretreatment with liquid deicer, making them a good fit for heavily trafficked areas.

For more information about the different types of snow contracts and to learn which is best for your commercial property type, check out this article.


All About Schill

Schill services commercial properties all throughout Northeast Ohio. Our clients manage apartment buildings, office parks and industrial buildings, senior & independent living communities, retail shopping centers, home owners associations & condos, hospitals, parks, and government facilities.


We do not service residential properties, with the exception of HOA’s (Home Owners Associations)

Schill Grounds Management is committed to minimizing our impact on the environment. During the landscaping season, we recycle grass clippings and leaves and recommend plants that require less water. The latter not only helps to conserve water, but can also save our customers money. We also use propane mowers, which are cleaner than those that run on conventional gas, and organic fertilizers (see above for more information).

In the winter, we use ice melt products that have a smaller impact on the environment.

To learn more about how adopting sustainable practices can help your company’s bottom line, download our FREE guide on corporate sustainability.


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