Depending upon where you’re located or when you came upon this article, school may already be back in session or will be starting up soon. As you are surely aware, schooling has changed dramatically in recent years. Since the pandemic of 2020-21, more schools (particularly in higher education) are making use of outdoor space for student gatherings, events, and even classrooms.
Because of that, many schools are looking at ways they can not only beautify their campuses so that students enjoy spending more time outside - but also finding ways to enhance the functionality of their grounds.
School administrators also know that when prospective students and their families visit their campus, they’re now looking at the outdoor spaces more closely than ever before.
All of that means more scrutiny is being placed on the use of landscaping services for college campuses.
But there are some important considerations that you should keep in mind when it comes to your decisions about landscaping services for universities and college campuses. We want to help set you up for success by making sure you’re considering all of the key points and have provided a few to start the conversation in this post.
1. Landscaping for College and University Campuses Should Beautify the Outdoor Spaces
One of the side effects of students and faculty spending more time outside is that the outdoor spaces are under more scrutiny. They want beautiful spaces. For many colleges and universities, that has meant bringing in landscaping services for college campuses to perform specialty projects and enhancement work.
That was the case at State College of Florida, Bradenton Campus, where they brought us in for landscape enhancement work that would make the campus more appealing.
This was coming off of the height of the pandemic where students had been participating in online learning. The college knew that they had to find ways to make in-person learning appealing so that students would want to come back. They were looking for enhancements that would make a noticeable difference.
Enhancement projects like new plant beds with colorful flowers, trees, and even new turf space can all make a big impact.
Just keep in mind that any new enhancement work will likely also create new maintenance work. And in general, with more students and faculty spending time outdoors, landscaping for college and university campuses really ought to include ongoing maintenance services to ensure everything in the landscape continues to look and perform its best.
2. Landscaping for College and University Campuses Should Enhance Functionality
Another key purpose of landscaping can be enhancing the functionality of outdoor spaces.
Do you have areas on the campus that aren’t currently being used to their full potential? Perhaps there are some turf areas that could be better mowed and cared for, where events or classes can be held.
Enhancing functionality might also mean adding walking paths that weren’t previously there. If you’re going to be using new areas of your campus and spending more time outside, you might need to incorporate walkways to lead to these areas.
Making outdoor spaces more functional might also mean thinking about shade. If you plan to be hosting events and classes outdoors, you might need to think about adding trees or manufactured structures that will make the space shaded and more comfortable.
Ideally, you want to make sure that your commercial landscape partner is thinking about all of the different ways that they can make your space more functional, in addition to being more beautiful.
3. Landscaping for College and University Campuses Should be Safety-Minded
Landscaping should also be thought of in regards to safety. If you’re going to be bringing in additional landscaping services and resources, it makes sense to think about how you can use them to make your campus safer (particularly now that everyone is spending more time outside). Here are a few ways that safety can be enhanced with proper landscaping.
One way that landscaping can enhance safety is with landscape lighting. You want to make sure that your walkways are properly illuminated so that you are reducing trip and fall risks. If you have walkways with steps, you definitely want to ensure they can be safely navigated in the dark.
It’s also important that your lights aren’t obscured by plants from within the landscape so that students feel safe walking across campus at night.
Overgrown landscapes can block walkway lights and make your space darker at night. But they can also become problematic if they’re growing over walkways and becoming a tripping hazard (or scraping students as they walk by).
Overgrown branches or shrubs can also block important signage or obstruct the views of the campus's security cameras.
Keeping trees and shrubs tidily trimmed will help prevent them from posing unnecessary safety risks.
Another consideration is the natural flow of foot traffic on your campus.
One thing that we often hear from campus groundskeepers is that students tend to make their own paths around the campus (rather than following the walkways). If you have a large turf area that students constantly cut through and you worry there are fall risks (or you just don’t want them walking through the grass), you might consider investing in shrubs and hedges to encourage students to stay on the designated walkways.
Another possibility is adding an informal gravel path through the turf if students really prefer the shortcut. This will help prevent slips and falls on the slick grass and will also keep the turf from getting trampled and turning into mud.
4. Make Sure You’re Considering the Landscaper’s Schedule
Finally, as you think about the ways in which landscaping services for college campuses and universities can make your campus better (aesthetics, functionality, and safety), you also want to consider the logistics of bringing an outside landscape service provider onto your campus.
If you’re holding classes outdoors, you want to be sure that your landscaper knows when and where these classes are happening so that they can adjust their service schedule accordingly. The last thing that you want is a landscaper showing up with mowers and trimmers and making a lot of noise during the class.
This was something that we addressed when we began maintaining the State College of Florida, Bradenton Campus. We understood that their outdoor classes created a unique situation in that we could not mow or work while class was being held. Students didn’t need the disturbance of noise or movement while they were trying to learn. Additionally, we couldn’t physically be in these spaces, completing our tasks, while students were using them.
As a result, we were able to adjust our schedule to meet their needs.
This highlights another benefit of hiring an outside commercial landscaping company, like Yellowstone, rather than using your in-house grounds crew for landscape services. We know that many campuses already have in-house grounds crews. But by using us to perform basic maintenance or enhancement project services, it frees up their time to perform other tasks around the campus.
For instance, at the State College of Florida, Bradenton campus, their grounds crews shifted to caring for athletic fields, which are now looking better than ever. They’ve left the turf care for the rest of the campus to us.
It also helps that we were able to make special adjustments of moving our services to Saturday to not disturb class. But most of the time, in-house grounds crews are relegated to a weekly 9 to 5 schedule.
Partnering with Landscaping Services for Universities and Colleges
Whether you are looking to have an enhancement project completed or ongoing maintenance work, your choice of commercial landscaping companies will make a big difference in the overall results and service that you receive.
There’s no denying that outdoor spaces are more valued than ever before and keeping yours in top shape will be important when it comes to the overall success of your campus. Beautiful and usable green spaces are important to students, their families, and faculty. And keeping your campus in its best shape is critical.
At Yellowstone Landscape, our partnerships with college campuses and universities are ones that we do not take lightly. We understand that we are playing a role in keeping these spaces safe, functional, and beautiful so that students and faculty can truly get the most out of them.
We take pride in our partnerships, knowing that the work we perform plays a role in keeping your campus functioning at its best.
Are you ready to hire a commercial landscaper that takes your campus needs seriously? Request a quote and let us answer any additional questions that you may have.