RealManage Insight

Landscape Budget Planning

by Guest Blogger on Nov 12, 2019 8:44:00 AM

Budgeting season is here, and while it might not be the most enjoyable time of year for property managers, your landscaping provider can be a valuable partner when it comes time to take on your biggest yearly expenses. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind when budgeting for landscape expenses this coming year.

Walk the property with your landscape provider.

It may seem fairly routine, but even if you are walking your community frequently, it’s important to walk the community with a specific purpose in mind. Walking the property can shed light on any areas that will need extra attention throughout the year. At LandCare, account managers provide Landscape Quality Audits to show what work has been completed onsite and recommendations for improvement – a helpful tool when planning for maintenance costs. If a comprehensive walk of the community is something that you’ve been putting off, now is the perfect time to get that checked off your annual list.

Organize and prioritize your enhancements.

Ask yourself: what are the Board’s “most wanted” items? Whether you’re renovating the entrance or sprucing up the amenity center, enhancements tend to be some of the largest expected costs. There are always a myriad of things that can be done to enhance your curb appeal, but knowing which items are the most valuable or most important to your community members and to the board responsible can help your prioritize these items. Review your priorities and coordinate with your professional landscape partner to understand enhancements for the coming year.

Plan for the unexpected.

Inclement weather and powerful storms can uproot trees and do serious damage to irrigation systems, creating unexpected repair costs. While the timing and location of these events is unexpected, some locations are hit harder than others and require more preparation for these disasters. To alleviate some of the financial stress these events can cause your community, plan to set aside at least 5% of your landscape budget for high water bills and tree replacements to hedge against these hazards. This can make a major difference in the comfort and rehabilitation of your community during these difficult times.

Focus on reducing costs year over year.

Installing sustainable plant material or outfitting your irrigation system with smart controllers might be more expensive upfront but will drastically reduce costs over time. Low-maintenance landscapes combined with less frequent watering schedules will pay for the cost of these renovations year over year, saving you up to 40% in 5-10 years. Xeriscaping is an extreme example of this sort of sustainable landscaping, but is a valuable opportunity for those living in harsh climates that can cause ongoing lawn maintenance cost to skyrocket. Consult your landscape professional to find the best solutions for you and your community association.

Keep an eye out for LandCare’s Budget Planning Guide!

LandCare customers will receive a customized budget planning guide itemizing expected maintenance expenses for the year. This will be your most valuable resource to ensure the most accurate landscape cost estimates for your property.

Guest Blogger: Christine Gamache, CMCA, AMS
Regional Account Manager - Landcare.com

Financial Management Guide for Community Associations

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