The month of May is a busy time for all students. In addition to final exams, end-of-year social gatherings, and outdoor sporting events, seniors must prepare to finally cross the threshold of this chapter in their educational careers: graduation. These seniors aren’t the only ones who have to get ready for commencement, however. Those in charge of planning and running the ceremonies must manage countless moving parts to leave the best possible impression on outgoing students and their families. Landscaping services have a major part to play in this endeavor.
Many commencement ceremonies occur outdoors (weather allowing), and those that take place inside still have outdoor elements, such as post-graduation picnics and photography opportunities. If your campus’ green spaces are overgrown, poorly organized, bare, and/or barely green to begin with, students will have fewer photo opportunities, your institution’s reputation will take a serious hit, and your graduates may leave with less-then-fond memories of their alma mater.
With that in mind, let’s explore the most important landscaping adjustments and enhancements to consider to prepare your school for a positively memorable commencement ceremony.
Top Landscaping Enhancements to Consider for a Commencement Ceremony
Significant landscape improvements cannot occur until your campus’ green spaces have been cleared of all debris, including litter, fallen twigs and branches, dead leaves, and so on. This detritus is more than just an eyesore – it can also suffocate and poison the plant life underneath. Hiring landscapers to remove debris from lawns and fields on a regular basis will reduce the amount of time and effort required to get your school’s landscape in good shape for commencement. Regardless of your debris removal routine, make sure you perform a thorough sweep of all green spaces right before graduation to provide the freshest outdoor areas possible for students and their guests. Also, note that additional debris removal will be required just after graduation, as various items (e.g., wrappers, tassels, programs, bottles, etc.) will likely be strewn about.
Athletic Field Maintenance
Higher ed campuses often feature a variety of large, open green spaces for students and faculty throughout the year – the largest of these tend to be athletic fields. These fields are commonly used for outdoor graduation ceremonies for their capacity and built-in seating arrangements. Many athletic fields differ from traditional green spaces due to their use of artificial turf. This lack of natural-grown grass doesn’t mean that artificial fields require zero maintenance, however. On the contrary, synthetic turf maintenance includes tasks such as:
Regular cleaning/debris removal
Watering for temperature reduction
General upkeep to mitigate effects of wear and tear
Additionally, fields that use natural grass require regular mowing, trimming, edging, and blowing, which we’ll further discuss later on. Whether your athletic fields are natural, synthetic, or some combination of the two, keeping them well-maintained is crucial for a successful commencement, especially if they’re being used for such purposes.
Mother nature and human enterprise aren’t reliable enough to ensure that every lawn, field, and garden on your campus receives the right amount of hydration on the regular. No – with so much ground to cover, keeping your university’s landscapes properly watered requires highly efficient, automated irrigation solutions. These irrigation systems require proper oversight to remain operational. In addition to receiving professional irrigation audits periodically, you must properly shut down your irrigation system for the winter and safely restart it for the spring. State-of-the-art irrigation systems can also be programmed and controlled via Wi-Fi connection to adapt to variable weather conditions and provide the optimal watering schedule for particular green spaces. Investing in these irrigation improvements will ensure that your campus is perfectly lush before, during, and after graduation.
Shrubs are often installed along walkways and other perimeters to beautify and organize outdoor spaces. Without regular maintenance, however, shrubs can grow out of control, becoming asymmetrical and encroaching too far on pedestrian spaces. Depending on the shrub in question and your local climate, pruning can take place as early as the end of winter and as late as early summer – generally speaking, however, early spring (i.e., March-May) is the best time to prune shrubs. This timing is especially relevant for commencement preparation, as you’ll want your school’s shrubbery to be as clean and symmetrical as possible for students and their families.
Mowing, Trimming, Edging, and Blowing
These tasks are among the most common landscape maintenance services, but they’re not to be overlooked or underestimated. Proper mowing involves strategic movement to not only cut down weeds and grass to an even level but also to prevent your lawn from leaning too much a particular way as it grows (expert mowers can also create aesthetically-pleasing designs in lawns for special occasions like commencement). Trimming is necessary for cutting parts of a lawn that can’t be reached by a mower. Edging helps define the barriers of a given landscape and helps prevent invasive growth. And blowing aids in the aforementioned efforts to remove debris and dead leaves from lawns. Each of these services is required prior to graduation to provide optimal landscaping.
You might find that your school’s outdoor spaces are simply missing something. Commencement is an important annual occasion – one that often requires landscape installations that commemorate students’ achievements. These installations can be permanent or temporary depending on their nature. Paved walkways and benches are great additions that allow students, teachers, and families to enjoy the surrounding green spaces before and after graduation. Seasonal color installations celebrate spring and can also be rendered to show off your alma mater’s colors and/or logo. Installing flowers around your school’s welcome sign(s) is another great addition that’s perfect for graduation photos and marketing material. The best commercial landscaping services can provide all of these installations and more, though some require more time and effort than others, so plan for these adjustments well in advance.
Commence the Right Landscape Enhancements in Time for Graduation
Graduation season is here. Make sure your higher education institution’s landscapes reflect the promise of your university and your accomplished students. The Budd Group provides comprehensive landscaping services year-round for all types of schools. To learn more about our services and values, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!!