From the Ground Up: Why Soil Regeneration Leads to Healthier Landscapes

From the moment we set foot on the landscape, we are stepping on the most biologically diverse material on earth—a living system of earth dwellers: worms, microbes, fungi, as well as insects and other organisms that are essential to both the environment and to landscape health.

When soils are neglected, weathered or overworked, soil health suffers.  By boosting nutritional content and improving texture and drainage, we can restore soil’s biodiversity and improve the landscape’s ability to sustain plant health.

Central to this is the need to increase soil carbon, which, in turn, attracts more microbes and becomes a self-nourishing loop. Technically, the complex relationships that exist within this community of organisms is known as the soil food web and similar to other food chains, it’s essential to overall life.

To keep soils healthy, ELM takes a systems-thinking approach to landscape health, where the world beneath our feet is connected to everything above. In practical terms, this means if the soil is sick, the plant doesn’t have much of a chance to beat the odds. 

There are 5 basic elements central to all soil systems: microorganisms, minerals, air, water and organic matter. When any one is out of proportion to the other, it compromises the ability of the soil to be an effective growing medium. The process for correcting these problems at their source has many names, but for ELM, our approach falls under the practice of Plant Health Care.

In general, the science behind this approach ensures that we treat the whole landscape system as more than just the sum of its parts. We do this by:

  • Encouraging biodiversity of plants and trees through better landscape planning
  • Building healthy topsoil using ground-cover to buffer temperatures and absorb and hold water
  • Establishing and maintaining healthy root systems
  • Planting trees with healthy canopies to protect the soil surface
  • Reducing soil traffic and compaction
  • Using mulch, compost and increased levels of organic matter
  • Improving nutrient availability
  • Regulating air and water, through aeration and advanced irrigation technology
  • Using Mycorrhizal fungi to increase a plant’s stress tolerance
  • Reducing pesticide use
  • Supporting beneficial insects and organisms
  • Planting essential habitats that increase, support and protect pollinators

To learn more about the benefits of sustainable soil practices or discover how climate-smart best practices are improving your plant and soil health, contact ELM President, Bruce Moore Jr., at 203-316-5433.

 

 

Create a Sustainability Framework for Your University Landscape

Campus landscapes are advancing higher education’s sustainability mission.  As universities adopt and improve on energy efficiency, green infrastructure and water conservation initiatives, landscape performance is becoming essential to generate best-in-class environmental metrics.

ELM is working with colleges and universities across Connecticut and New York metro to address both landscape construction and maintenance objectives, as well as innovative water and resource conservation, watershed and stormwater management, responsible approaches to pest and disease management, meeting zero waste to landfill, and reducing carbon footprints in the following ways:

  • Modifying our production processes to meet resource reduction targets.
  • Using less toxic or non-toxic substances.
  • Implementing conservation techniques through water management and smart water technology.
  • Improving water governance.
  • Providing solutions in stormwater management, flood control and drainage systems, bioswales and rain gardens to enhance water quality, filter runoff, and recharge local aquifers.
  • Reducing heat island effect by replacing surface space, and implementing and maintaining green roofs and vertical gardens and outdoor spaces to address heat absorption and filter water.
  • Using strategic planting and plant health care and maintenance strategies to improve air quality, and provide attractive, cohesive park-like settings that serve as both healthy respite and multi-purpose outdoor learning space.
  • Protecting wildlife corridors and habitats, watersheds, and riparian zones by reducing pollutants.
  • Reusing and recycling materials rather than putting them into the waste/landfill stream.
  • Using renewable energy, flexible fuel or low emissions vehicles, and autonomous equipment.
  • Upgrading equipment and approaches to better deliver on goals for safety, efficiency, service and innovation.
  • Training our team for sustainability engagement and greener mindsets.
  • Using lean approaches to minimize waste without sacrificing productivity.
  • Embracing responsible consumption by minimizing fuel consumption, mapping routes, production and logistics for optimum efficiency.
  • Supporting LEED and green building goals to reduce environmental impacts and overall exposure to water, waste, and weather events.
  • Including SMART goals in our planning to take landscape planning and higher education green objectives to the next level.
  • Investing in continuous green improvements.
  • Receiving the ChangeMakers Award from Fairfield County for sustainable water conservation program.

About Us

ELM is recognized as a leader in campus landscape sustainability planning and implementation and offers five ways in which our specialists can customize a working relationship with campus facility managers to improve sustainability:

  1. Full service outsource partner – landscape construction and renovation; green infrastructure; site improvements; landscape maintenance; plant health care; water management; and snow and ice/winter management.
  2. Specialty landscape contractor for grounds maintenance and management, snow and ice, irrigation and water management, performance turf and athletic fields.
  3. Specialty landscape contractor for broad site improvements and green infrastructure, stormwater and drainage systems, and site amenities.
  4. Full-service landscape maintenance.
  5. Team partner with general contractors, design-build teams, or onsite horticultural and/or grounds professionals.

Whether refreshing iconic campus footprints, innovating for a next generation of students and  faculty, or to lead capital improvement for conservation and development, ELM is shaping campus green spaces to connect people to nature, to each other and to the future they serve.

Nature is Transforming Outdoor Work and Conference Space

If Covid-19 accelerated an interest in healthier buildings, then landscaping, and its ability to leverage the health benefits of nature, will be front and center in any master plan that defines how we bring people back to work.

Landscaping opportunities that lead to stronger returns are those that respond to sustainability concerns, including automation, green technology, operational and energy efficiency, climate resiliency, resource conservation, and safety.

At ELM, we’re not only on top of these trends, we’re driving them. Here are our top 7:

• Bring nature to work. Incorporate outdoor conference space, green terraces, green roofs and walls, indoor atriums, water features, container plantings, natural light, texture and foliage, for improved air quality and ventilation.

• Create wow factors. Add seasonal color, flowering perennials, foliage texture for curb appeal, and native and adaptive plants to save water and maintenance.

• Dress it up. Prepare beds with fresh mulch, prune trees and shrubs, cull diseased and infested plants, power wash outdoor surfaces, eliminate weeds and unwanted plants.

• Invest in smart technologies. Upgrade irrigation infrastructure to offset water as the fastest growing utility expense. Invest in smart water technology to support and encourage conservation, and improved groundwater and stormwater filtration and management systems to support water quality.

• Renovate hardscape, pathways, paved surfaces, terraces, decks, and outdoor built elements to repair winter wear and tear, improve safety and manage risk.

• Add tenant amenities such as outdoor Wi-Fi, green roofs, LED lighting, outdoor television, dining areas, bocce ball, putting greens or jogging and bike paths.

• Replace underperforming turf with drought tolerant native plants and meadow-style perennials to improve aesthetics; invest in tree cover, rain gardens and bioswales, and permeable surfaces to improve environmental health and water and air quality.

Commercial properties with well-engineered landscapes and green site systems reap savings, financial incentives (tax credits, rebates and stormwater/irrigation credits where applicable), reduced life-cycle and maintenance costs, reduced flood damage, and reduced water bills, while also creating measurable value for property owners and tenants both.

If you’re looking to innovate, meet sustainability and LEED credits, or transform your building’s underperforming outdoor areas into functional conference space, contact Bruce Moore, Jr., president, at ‭(203) 316-5433‬.

ELM is Driving the “E” in ESG. Here’s Why That Matters.

Environmental. Social. Governance. In the community of businesses across our portfolio – giants in commercial real estate, banking, the consumer services sector or institutions of higher learning, growth is increasingly contingent on how well captains of industry capitalize on ways to improve the world we all live, work and play in. And that includes us.

In a nutshell, ESG is a set of standards, reporting and benchmarking around issues seen by shareholders as drivers of the future.  And where ELM is placing its future is in the hands of how our business can drive your business through sustainable and environmentally-responsible practices.  That’s the “E” in ESG.

Here’s how E works to drive value.

A wide spectrum of ELM’s landscaping business practices, such as how good we are with water management, how well we protect against accidents and manage risk (especially in winter), how well we treat our workers, and how our corporate culture builds and fosters trust and innovation is key.

Whether we are helping you meet LEED or WELL criteria, enhance your environmental stewardship, be more energy efficient or streamline your carbon footprint, our end game is exactly like yours: to advance smarter, safer and better ways to be better at who we are and what we do.

Embracing a culture of sustainability delivers opportunities for everyone. We look forward to furthering our commitment to be a greener practice, take action on alternate fuels, and simply be better stewards to ensure that our growth – your growth – and our shared future is strategic, impactful and aligned with purpose.

For more information on ELM’s green goals, contact President Bruce Moore Jr. at 203-315-5433.

 

 

It’s 2021 Budgeting Season… Three Landscape Trends Re-shaping CRE Outdoor Space

In early 2006, if we were to tell you that your lawn would be mowed by a robot, that the cloud was not a delivery system for rain, and that your sprinklers would be controlled by your iPhone, you would have said, ‘what’s an iPhone?’ 

Because in 2006, the device used by more people in the world than any other, did not exist.

Thirteen years ago, when Apple introduced its smartphone, even the most progressively imaginative among us failed to imagine that a pocket-sized digital tool would have the power to change the nature of our lives and create a boundary-less generation of professionals that could work from anywhere.

Big data, the internet of things, automation, video conferencing, smart technologies and collaborative platforms are, today, all part of landscaper’s tool kit.  

Here are three ways we’re using those tools to partner with commercial real estate professionals to drive continuous improvement.

Making outdoor space the new value-add.

Park-like settings, green spaces, shade tree allées and trails – the functionality of a facilities’ exterior landscaped footprint – are being re-configured to accommodate socialization, benefit health and safety, and create a new way of working and learning outside.

As schools move classrooms outdoors, restaurants expand patios, and health care promotes the therapeutic value of healing gardens, property and facility managers are also looking for opportunities to use outside space as an amenity that can contribute to the wellbeing of their workforce, as well as drive tenant retention.

Our landscape upgrade strategies deliver long term benefits in quality and flexibility, both in use and configuration, with smart technologies to enhance connectivity, and the revitalization of plant material to promote biodiversity and drought tolerance.

Optimizing pedestrian flow as the new outdoor amenity.

Pathways, border areas and buffer zones, plazas, walking corridors, sidewalks, bridge crossing, corners, lighting – landscaping is one of the best ways to control pedestrian flow and safety.  

From proper grading and drainage to hazard management, flow is more than social distancing. Having sufficiently wide, clear pedestrian paths that minimize risk and public space that’s risk free is a security priority. Especially in winter.

Prioritizing green tech as the new way forward.

Being ‘green’ gives property/facility owners and managers a number of ways to save on landscape costs due to tax breaks, incentives or others credits provided by utility companies or federal or state governments. 

And because landscaping is more about the environment than ever, building green tech into landscape’s infrastructure not only qualifies for LEED and green credits, but offer solutions that contribute significant savings to bottoms lines.

From corporate Class A to outdoor classrooms, increasingly sophisticated landscape technologies, biodegradable sanitation and smart sensors are changing the way properties become eco-friendly, energy-efficient and sustainable. These include, innovations in stormwater management, green roofs, water conservation programs, rain gardens and bioswales. 

ELM is not only leading improvements in commercial outdoor space, but building a better platform for service through enhanced communication, accelerated response and delivery, and aerial mapping for site improvements.

To learn more, contact ELM President, Bruce Moore Jr @ 203-316-5433.

Meet our Super Duty® F-350 4x4s

From utility to performance and durability, we’re all-in on the rugged reliability of our new fuel-efficient Ford 350s.

Landscapers can’t live without a heavy-duty delivery system and for us, this next generation model promises to out-haul and out-perform any truck we’ve had before. 

Our quest for fuel economy, technological advancements, and smarter ways of working never ends and the impressive mileage data on this model will make our fleet upgrade more cost effective overall.

We customized our crew cabs with Covid-compliant acrylic safety dividers, and added high-capacity cargo containers that will generate less drag, deliver greater engine efficiency, and offer our all-season team greater endurance.

We know there’s no end in sight for ways to shrink our environmental footprint. From streamlining trailers, to burning less fuel, to making major improvements in energy savings, our team is stepping up to power smarter growth. 

To learn more about how landscape efficiencies benefit long-term requirements for doing more with less, contact Bruce Moore Jr, @ 203-316-5433.

Summer 2020 Outdoor Watering Schedule Returns for Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Newtown, Stamford and Westport Connecticut

With summer’s high water demands and another year of below average rainfall, large portions of Connecticut are experiencing and extended dry conditions and near record water demands, and Southwest Fairfield County has been classified as drought sensitive.

As a result, Aquarion Water Company has placed a mandatory irrigation schedule for its customers in Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Newtown, Stamford and Westport, Connecticut. The schedule limits landscape irrigation systems to a maximum of twice weekly.

Here’s how it works:

  • Twice-weekly restrictions will apply to both in-ground systems and above-ground sprinklers. 
  • Drip irrigation systems, soaker hoses and manual watering are exempt.
  • Aquarion Water Company customers can file for a variance to allow for additional watering time if the property is: 1) larger than two acres or 2) qualifies as an irrigation-efficient by utilizing smart weather-based irrigation controller technology.

ELM’s water technology meets exemption criteria:

ELM’s water and resource conservation program includes a strategic partnership with Weathermatic®, a global leader in digital water technologies. This means ELM has the water conservation tools commercial property managers need to advance irrigation efficiency, collect real time water data (quantity and quality), and use that data to save water and cost.

Eight ways to conserve water outdoors:

  • Create a drought-tolerant landscape plant palette.
  • Enhance soil hydration through mulching, amendments and hydrogels
  • Convert underperforming turf to meadows with perennials and ornamental grasses.
  • Adopt digital innovation technologies to improve water use performance.
  • Make sure that your irrigation system is part of your building operation’s financial dashboard system.
  • Install smart water technology, to manage water distribution, gauge irrigation requirements, and save on water costs.
  • Use proper irrigation methods to improve system efficiencies. 
  • Install pressure-regulating devices, which apply water directly to plants, and high-efficiency nozzles or other devices, such as drip system alternatives, as conservation measures.

ELM’s commitment to conserve water is a corporate strategy to manage your water better and manage environmental resources better. Learn how your journey toward intelligent water use can be expedited through smart water technologies and what steps you can take to be in compliance with water mandates.

Contact Jamie Gorton,ELM’s resource conservation expert at 203-316-5433. 

Environmental Planning & Design Professional Bobby Papotto Joins ELM

We are pleased to announce that Bobby Papotto, former owner of New Jersey-based landscape firm, Over The Fence Landscaping, joins our Landscape Enhancement Group as project manager. 

In this role, Bobby will partner with commercial real estate organizations to increase and sustain healthy asset value across property segments, and be a resource for improvements that ensure the continued vibrancy of the real estate landscape.

“ELM has a strong team in place, a growing set of enduring relationships and is committed to support our clients’ short and long-term growth objectives,” said Bruce Moore Jr. 

“I’ve always had a tremendous respect for ELM and appreciate what makes them different. I look forward to deepening ELM’s engagement with CRE sector organizations throughout Fairfield and New Haven Counties, and doing what I can to contribute to positive change and a more sustainable future,” said Bobby. 

Bobby earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Planning and Design from Rutgers University. He’s a die-hard lover of all things outdoors, pet- and eco-friendly, and when he’s not solving client problems, you’ll find him in the Connecticut countryside on long hikes with his dog.

For Landscaping to Add Real Value, Focus on Aesthetics, Functionality and Green.

It’s not just beautiful flowers, perfect turf and no weeds. If you want your landscape to significantly increase the value of your commercial property, focus on functionality and experience. In other words, the way the landscape systems and features work and the way your landscape makes people feel.

To calculate landscape’s value, consider the direct economic role it plays in enhancing image; the way it attracts tenants and investment, and can become an integral part of the property’s brand. More importantly, consider that as property owners and managers and industry players value green building, landscape has growing clout as a link between sustainability and marketability, and contributing to making our communities overall healthier places to live, work and play.

The landscape projects that tend to lead to stronger returns are those that strategically improve focal points, tenant amenities and update the landscape’s infrastructure to meet higher standards for operational and energy efficiency, climate resiliency, resource conservation and safety.

Our top six ROI impact list includes:

  • Create wow factors.  Add seasonal color, flowering perennials, foliage texture for curb appeal, and native and adaptive plants to save water and maintenance.
  • Dress it up. Prepare beds with fresh mulch, prune trees and shrubs, cull diseased and infested plants, power wash outdoor surfaces, eliminate weeds and unwanted plants.
  • Invest in technology. Upgrade irrigation infrastructure to offset water as the fastest growing utility expense. Invest in smart water technology to support and encourage conservation, and improved groundwater and stormwater filtration and management systems to support water quality.
  • Renovate hardscape, pathways, paved surfaces, terraces, decks, and outdoor built elements to repair winter wear and tear, improve safety and manage risk.
  • Add tenant amenities such as green roofs, LED lighting, outdoor television, dining areas, bocce ball, putting greens or jogging and bike paths.
  • Replace underperforming turf with drought tolerant native plants and meadow-style perennials to improve aesthetics; invest in tree cover, rain gardens and bioswales, and permeable surfaces to improve environmental health and water and air quality.

Commercial properties with well-engineered green systems reap energy savings, financial incentives (tax credits, rebates and stormwater/irrigation credits where applicable), reduced life-cycle and maintenance costs, reduced flood damage, and reduced water bills, while also creating reate measurable value for property owners and tenants both.

Eastern Land Management is a leader in sustainable landscape solutions, less toxic approaches to plant pest and disease management, and green infrastructure. 

ELM has been connecting the landscape of Greater New York Metro, and Fairfield and New Haven counties, Connecticut to what’s important to businesses for more than 40 years.

Contact Marc Angarano 203.316.5433 to learn more.

Liquid Brine Pre-Treating Options Are Effective for Fighting Snow and Ice

ELM is rolling out a liquid brine option as a cost effective and more eco-friendly way to prevent snow and ice from forming.

Typically a blended solution of salt and water, brine has a freezing point lower than water and when applied to surface areas before major storms, acts as a protective barrier, preventing snow and ice from bonding to the pavement. This helps to eliminate any residual snow & ice forming on the pavement and reduce re-freezing after the storm. 

Part of ELM’s growing sustainability platform, proactive brine applications can optimize winter road safety and mitigate the damaging impacts of traditional salt on infrastructure and the environment. 

The brine is being made at ELM’s Monroe, CT facility, the site of the company’s recent “Snow Rodeo” – a professional training day focused on technical quality performance, environmental impacts, best practices, and improved snow and ice control methods. 

ELM is an active member of SIMA (Snow & Ice Management Association) and ASCA (Accredited Snow Contractors of America). 

To learn more about winter services for your commercial property, contact Bruce Moore Jr. at 203-316-5433.