Spring is upon us, which means it’s the perfect time to start thinking about revitalizing your community college campus grounds for summer. Landscaping and grounds maintenance are vital to the occupant experience on campus. For example, outdoor environments are the perfect place to study, relax, eat lunch and walk around during warm weather. In this blog, you’ll find four ways to prepare your grounds for summer and hit the ground running with landscaping.
4 Campus Beautification Ideas for Summer
1. Give campus parking lots a summertime facelift.
Many community college campuses offer parking lots to students, faculty, staff and visitors as a year-round convenience. Parking lots are important, as they are one of the first things that people see when arriving to a community college campus. Unfortunately, deteriorating parking can at best be an eyesore and at worst become a safety hazard. Unrepaired cracks and potholes are tripping hazards and can cause damage to commuter vehicles.
Since many community college students and faculty will commute to campus via personal transportation, it’s important to make sure that parking lots receive proper care and maintenance throughout the year. Follow the steps within AkitaBox’s Parking Lot Maintenance Checklist for Facility Managers to get started.
2. Take steps to strengthen your pest management routine.
For many community college campuses, warm weather can mean increased pest activity. Many pests, including wasps, ants, mosquitoes, rodents, termites and flies, escape cold weather by hiding in mulch, under rocks and inside insulation. Since many pests can return with new vigor in spring, it’s important to take steps to prevent infestations before they occur.
The best way to mitigate infestations on a community college campus is to establish an integrated pest management program. Work with a trusted pest management provider that can aid in identification of outbreaks and spot conditions that encourage infestations, such as moist wood or stagnant pools of water. In the meantime, facilities personnel can keep pests at bay by repairing rips in window screens, moving garbage cans away from buildings, cleaning trash chutes, sealing building entry points and installing door sweeps.
3. Clear away dead or dying plant matter throughout campus.
Many plants on a community college campus will continue to bloom throughout the growing season if they are given a good start in the spring. First, identify if a plant is an annual or a perennial. Annual plants will not grow back from year to year, so it’s a good idea to remove all dead annual plant matter and put it in a pile for composting.
Perennial plants, on the other hand, will grow back from year to year, but require pruning for optimal growth. If you didn’t get the chance to prune back your perennials last fall, start by removing winter mulch and pruning plants down to the ground. Shrubby plants with woody stems must be cut back each spring, as buds will only bloom on new branches. With proper care and attention, your plant beds will be full and thriving in no time.
4. Promote plant growth with a layer of fresh mulch.
As you begin springtime and summertime gardening on campus, don’t forget to consider mulching your planting beds. Mulch comes in a variety of options and can help your plants thrive by protecting root systems, adding nutrients and slowing topsoil erosion. Neatly mulched beds can also improve the appearance of the campus landscape and control - or sometimes even kill - weeds.
If your landscaping could use new mulch, it’s best to wait until mid-to-late spring to allow the ground to warm up first. Layers of winter mulch should be pulled away gradually to prevent damage to new plant growth. Once warmer weather rolls around, lay down a relatively thin layer of mulch to allow springtime seedlings to grow through. A 1- to 2-inch layer of fine mulch should be sufficient, while coarsely cut mulch can be up to three inches deep. You can always apply additional mulch later in the summer to help plants retain moisture.
Free ebook for Community College Facility Managers
Are you a facility manager of a community college? Are you looking for new, innovative ways to boost efficiency of operations on your campus? If so, download AkitaBox’s 2019 Guide to Campus Facilities Management for Community Colleges. This free ebook explores a variety of critical topics, including benefits of facilities data collection, affordable classroom furniture options, smart strategies for campus grounds maintenance and much more. Learn more about the ebook’s contents here.
What tips do you have for renewing and beautifying your campus for summer? Let us know by leaving a comment below.