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The Big One: Impactful greenscaping

August 17, 2020 -  By

Company: TechScape
Location: Dallas

Edgemere is a senior life care community that sits on 16 acres in Dallas. The building and landscape have a Tuscan influence, and seasonal flower displays and gardens fill the courtyards. TechScape has managed Edgemere since the early 2000s.

Challenges of the project are limited work hours, microclimates within the property and no exterior access to the five enclosed courtyards.

“Our team is limited on what equipment they can use in the courtyards by what they can carry through a pedestrian door,” TechScape owner Kevin Winner says. “There are multiple levels on these courtyards, so you have to go through elevators in addition to going through the building.”

Winner says he and his company relish working with the Edgemere community on this project. He adds that George Elking, senior account manager for TechScape, plays a major role in how the company can effectively maintain Edgemere.

“He’s the one that works day and night to make sure all the pieces are in the right places and the customer is happy,” Winner says. “The most rewarding part for us is being a part of the residents’ lives and also the people that work there and hearing how much of an impact the green space has on their livelihood.”

This project earned TechScape an Exterior Landscape Management Decade Award from the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Awards of Excellence program.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

The seasonal flower displays and lush gardens throughout the five enclosed courtyards are designed to invite the residents and guests to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle that embraces the outdoors.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

Three levels of dense planting beds more than 30 feet above the base level create challenges for crews who service this courtyard. Crews often have to access restricted areas outside of residents’ balconies and windows to care for the plantings around the narrow, multilevel terraced walls.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

Annually, crews plant more than 50,000 seasonal flowers. TechScape meets regularly with the property ownership, property management and resident committees to ensure flower selections align with the varying expectations of all those involved.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

Crews maintain more than 100 large containers throughout the courtyard and property. Seasonal flower plantings require weekly maintenance. Varying sizes and shade patterns, combined with their locations on multiple levels in all areas of the property, create many challenges. Summer temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees F, demanding daily hand watering, while winter lows require freeze covering and other cold-weather protection measures.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

Crews installed the resident-supported organic culinary garden, certified by the National Herb Society, which features 83 herbs, labeled with custom name plaques.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

Raised stone planters with multiple levels and thousands of feet of stone edging throughout the property create special challenges for watering, fertilization and maintenance. Shrubs and ground covers are carefully manicured by hand. Many of the plant materials in the raised planters require ladders to safely access and hand watering to maintain a healthy appearance from the second- and third-floor residents’ views.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

The property includes many square feet of paved walkways. Crews monitor subsurface and surface drains and keep the walkways clean and weed-free. Crews clean equipment before entering and exiting the courtyards and wear booties to prevent tracking landscape materials through the building.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

Crews that maintain the healing garden in the Alzheimer’s courtyard perform services during restricted times to not disturb the residents. Team members must access the courtyard with proper security codes to ensure the safety of the residents. Crews also clean and relocate patio furniture in all courtyards.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

Crews use 14 irrigation controllers with more than 140 zones for a custom irrigation management program. Dallas restricts water use to two days a week. TechScape also adjusts the irrigation system regularly and supplements with hand watering when necessary.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

Pergolas are a popular gathering spot for residents. Residents look to these spots to be colorful and pristine.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

TechScape’s team meets regularly with residents to personally address any special requests from the residents.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

The exterior features mature seasonal plantings. Crews scout the plantings that border the driveway and replace them when necessary because they are susceptible to vehicle exhaust damage.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

Crews access this third-floor terrace via three flights of stairs to water pots daily throughout the year. Crews cannot use the equipment on the terrace and must carry out all debris by hand.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

Crews managing the property work around human residents as well as ducks, rabbits and other wildlife. TechScape uses biological products to maintain the turfgrass and often use scissors to trim grass around nests.

Landscape maintenance project (Photo: TechScapes)

Photo: TechScapes

TechScape maintains the landscape to reflect the Tuscan influence of the architecture and create an urban oasis.

Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the editor of Landscape Management magazine. Known for her immersive approach to travel from coast to coast in her previous stint as senior editor of American Fruit Grower Magazine, she uses social media (Twitter/Instagram @EditorHerrick) to share her experiences on the road with her audience. Herrick has a degree in journalism from Ohio Northern University and has been in B2B publishing for seven years. She can be reached at cherrick@northcoastmedia.net.

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