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6 Commercial Gardening Tips to Improve Safety & Security

Written by: phs Greenleaf

phs Greenleaf has been providing planting and landscaping services to businesses for over 25 years, including indoor and outdoor plants, artificial and live planting, living walls, grounds maintenance and Christmas trees and decorations.

Business owners and executives have a lot to contend with to keep their premises running smoothly, but safety and security are arguably top of the pile.

Of course, a workplace must be welcoming, attractive, and a healthy place to work - but putting visitors or employees at unnecessary risk can mitigate all of those benefits and cause issues ranging from injury and absence to legal action and worse.

Of course, safety and security doesn’t just refer to the traditional forms of crime prevention (CCTV, swipe cards, etc). Especially when it comes to the subject of gardening and landscaping, safety can also cover things like proper drainage, tree care, slip prevention and more.

Here are 6 easy ways your landscaping team (or outsourced commercial gardening specialists) can make things safer for everyone involved:

1)  Effective Tree & Bush Management

Trees and bushes are important aspects of landscaping that give your environment additional interest, life and greenery while supporting wildlife at the same time. Despite this, they can also become natural obstacles as they grow. This can be a great thing for security when planned effectively, or a serious headache for visitor safety if they are left to grow in the wrong spot.

Even well planned and placed trees require regular maintenance such as pruning, cutting or feeding. Trees or bushes that are not maintained properly can reduce visibility, drop branches leading to  trip hazards, make surfaces slippery when dropping blossoms or seeds, or even fall, risking serious injury or death.

This isn’t just caused by overgrown, unmanaged branches either - diseased trees and heavy storms may cause otherwise well managed trees to drop branches unexpectedly.

Proper, effective tree maintenance includes fertilization, pest removal, pruning and more to prevent issues from forming and keep trees safe, healthy and appealing to look at. The strategic layout of trees or bushes can also guide people to an entryway, frame their path to safety, block unsightly views, and prevent visitors going to more sensitive areas where their presence is unhelpful.

While overall, this may seem like a difficult and unnecessary task, trees and plants have been found to boost employee engagement, make visitors feel more welcome, and well maintained trees have been found to reduce crime rates by giving the impression of a highly regarded and well maintained property.

It is also important to be aware of the potential requirement for removal of invasive plants including knotweed, which, while rare, can cause damage to buildings and, if allowed to grow unchecked, could grow to upwards of 5 metres, growing through walls and foundations and costing upwards of £20,000 to remove.

2)  Drainage

Drainage is something that could easily be forgotten or overlooked, but in a country that rains as often as the UK, it’s something that is very likely to cause issues if neglected.

While most properties should have a method for funnelling excess rainwater to sewers and drains or towards rivers, these can easily get backed up and fail if not maintained.

In large landscaped gardens, drainage must be taken into account and planned from the start, otherwise you may find that uneven ground and ineffective drainage leads to water pooling in certain areas. This can cause a myriad of problems from slip hazards and mud to killing grass, icy surfaces, mould build up, cracked ground and more.

Methods to solve this include grading, bioswales, storage reservoirs, and improved or expanded drainage features.

3)  Irrigation

Sub-par drainage is not the only water based issue that landscaped gardens on commercial premises might experience. Irrigation systems can also cause leaks, flooding, wet ground, slippery muddy areas, icy ground etc.

Such systems need to be checked and maintained regularly with any form of leak or damage being actioned immediately. When this is done correctly irrigation systems are a brilliant asset, keeping green areas lush with minimal work, improving the visual appeal of a site and supporting wildlife and the environment. It also saves you money over time due to less need to replace plants and longer lasting displays.

4)  Weather Management

In the UK, water and flooding may be the most common and most imminent form of weather related risk to outdoor areas and gardens on commercial premises. However, it’s far from the only one to take into consideration.

The UK receives it’s fair share of snow, heavy winds and sleet, all of which can bring their own risks to safety and security.

Heavy winds and gales can break down trees, snap off branches, remove roof tiles and make it potentially dangerous to simply be outside. Landscaped commercial gardens and outdoor areas should be designed with wind in mind, using bushes and hedgerows as windbreaks, putting busy paths in sheltered areas, and using the tree care tips mentioned in step 1 to keep plants healthy enough to “weather the storm”.

In regards to snow, facilities need to be available to clear heavy falls such as snow ploughs or snow shovels and it should be made clear who is responsible for carrying out these tasks. Of course, when heavy snowfall is forecast, gritting busy areas such as car parks, pathways, driveways etc will make a significant difference.

5)  Keeping Main Pathways, Foyers & Entries Clear & Well Lit

Your entryways are the first thing most people will see of your premises - including new employees, customers, visitors, business partners, tenants etc. Everybody knows first impressions have a big impact, and that’s why these areas should be the most attractive and welcoming out of everything in your building's surroundings.

This applies just as much due to safety and security - not only will potential risks create a bad first impression for visitors, but they are more likely to translate into actual incidents or issues when they occur in the areas with the heaviest footfall.

Trees and shrubs near pathways or entries need to be trimmed more often than elsewhere to prevent them encroaching onto the pathway and blocking people’s way. This may also need to be the case near signage, lampposts and other important visual aids.

Similarly, bright, happy flowers in well-designed, layered patterns can help a site to look more positive, bright and authoritative, reducing the dark, empty, abandoned look that can increase criminal activity.

6)  External Plant Displays Near Road Entries & Signage

Simple, effective outdoor plant displays near road signage and entryways can draw attention to your branding, boost your property’s visual appeal, reduce the chance of trespassers and accidents, and make coming and going easier for busy traffic.

Bold coloured flowers and perennials can work well as attention-grabbers, and other effective techniques include background shrubs in contrasting colours to make signs stand out more.

Not only that, but a single mulch layer per year will prevent weeds, protect plants and keep your landscaped areas looking clean and welcoming, making this a low maintenance low cost solution.

How Can phs Greenleaf Help?

phs is the UK’s favourite provider of commercial gardening and landscaping services. We are able to use a wide range of plants to transform your business workplace into an engagement-boosting paradise for employees and visitors alike. Our highly trained operatives and landscape artists can enter your premises, carry out the appropriate tasks, and leave with zero interruption to your daily routines, leaving your existing staff to do what they do best - grow your business, not plants!

Services we can offer include but are not limited to:

With over 25 years’ experience of providing planting and landscaping services to businesses throughout the UK we have the knowledge of providing our services in a variety of sectors including hospitality, retail, FM’s and public sector. This means you can be sure that phs Greenleaf will provide you with an unrivalled plant service.

With around 8,000 customers across the UK, Greenleaf ensures each customer is assigned an account manager to coordinate every part of the process from the initial design to the installation.

To learn more about what we can offer, contact us now for a no obligation quote!

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