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.

From the Commercial Centers of Metro New York to the Business Communities of Connecticut, ELMs Diversity of Capabilities is on Full Display

In a new corporate video launched today, the impact of ELM’s team mission shows how having a clear purpose and working together maximize our potential to deliver meaningful customer service.

When building teams, ELM seeks people who have great talent, energy and ambition, but also a blend of strengths, functional skills and the capacity to perform around aligned values. 

“Our new video reflects collaboration and choreography at the highest level,” said company president, Bruce Moore Jr. “Commitment to each other, to our clients, to our organization’s bigger picture, and to continued growth as professionals are characteristics of who we are as a company and as a brand.  As we’ve learned and practiced since our company’s founding more than 40 years ago, when we enhance each other, success will follow.”

Check out more meaningful customer service through teamwork video here:

How Innovative Turf Equipment Benefits Your Landscape and Controls Noise

Autonomous equipment is a game changer. Eco-friendly and reliable, robotic mowers are delivering impressive results. For property managers keen on reducing noise, robotic mowers are among a class of next gen options designed to provide a less disruptive landscape maintenance experience.

ELM is currently testing autonomous equipment and plans to use on unique, size-constrained areas, such as green roofs, or to simplify tough mowing jobs, such as clearing vegetation from sloped areas. 

As part of ELM’s ‘future ready’ initiative, Husqvarna robotic mowers will become part of a fleet of smart commercial grade equipment that will help us offer new and existing clients increased efficiency, added safety, and the opportunity to deliver complex and less disruptive turf services in a new way. 

Overall, autonomous vehicles are safer, produce fewer emissions than conventional mowing equipment, and offers specific benefits to property owners seeking environmentally-friendly options for green build or LEED credits. 

ELM is applying green technologies to support our clients’ and our own sustainability goals and robotic mowers are an important next step in flexibility, scalability and improved services. 

To learn more about how advanced technologies can make a difference in your landscape management services, contact Bruce Moore Jr. at 203-316-5433.

Charles Andrianus Receives NOFA Certification, Takes Lead on Sustainability

South Area Manager Charles Andrianus and ELM’s plant health care team is helping us aim higher in our goal to make sustainability a driver of innovation. 

Recently, Charles completed a course sponsored by the Connecticut Chapter of the New England Organic Famers Association (NOFA) on sustainable organic landscaping and gardening practices, giving ELM’s clients more options when it comes to maintaining a healthy landscape. 

According to Charles, “The built environment is not just about buildings and the landscaped outdoors, but includes the way people interact and derive health benefits from nature. For ELM, this means we’re putting an emphasis on how the landscapes we care for improve peoples’ lives.” 

The growing visibility of sustainability at ELM, and its integration into the company’s service and cultural footprint, is an example of where leadership companies are going. For Charles, who’s been a passionate promoter of environmental sustainability since 2014 when he joined ELM, the NOFA course was a pivotal moment. 

“Sustainability is now a cross-company initiative with a center of gravity around leaders like Charles,” said company president Bruce Moore Jr. “From water conservation to green waste reduction and lean management principles, we’re stepping up our game and accelerating our focus and commitment across operations, customer solutions, and best practices.”

The impact of Charles’ commitment means that he will now oversee alternate approaches that will allow ELM to perform much larger projects over a longer period of time. Under Charles’ guidance, ELM can now recommend organic options, turf alternatives, native plant palettes and wildflower and perennial plantings; wetland restoration projects, improved soil health, and increased landscape bio-diversity.

“As ELM’s sustainable landscape management program evolves, we will be looking at ways to meet the needs of various landscape systems across the commercial and institutional properties we serve. These will include soils management, soil testing, composting, pest and disease control, and a holistic focus on treating landscape health from the ground up,” added Bruce.

For information on how ELM can help you meet your corporate sustainability goals, contact Bruce Moore Jr. at 203-316-5433.

Photo L-R: Chris Smith, plant health care technician with Charles Andrianus.

Irrigation Update: Water Restrictions Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Newtown, Stamford and Westport

Aquarion Water Company has joined with local officials to promote water conservation and reduce water use by restricting outdoor and landscape watering to a maximum of twice weekly, as follows:

  • Twice-weekly restrictions will apply to both in-ground systems and above-ground sprinklers. Drip irrigation, soaker hoses and hand-held watering will continue to be allowed.
  • Aquarion Water Company customers can file for a variance to allow for additional watering time if the property is larger than two (2) acres.
  • ELM’s installation of smart water conservation technology will allow for watering to occur outside of the normal water restrictions due to their ability to conserve large volumes of water.

Ways to save

  • Make water conservation a strategic priority.
  • Reduce watering needs by strategic plant practices (mulching, soil amendments and hydrogels, and proactively managing moisture-stress symptoms).
  • Convert underutilized or underperforming turf areas to perennial meadows or alternative use.
  • Use state of the art water technologies to better manage, use and conserve irrigation water.

ELM’s Premier Partnership with Weathermatic®, a global leader in smart water technology, is a new addition to our water conservation tool kit. The technology uses high-efficiency components designed to improve irrigation water use on commercial properties through sensor-based analysis and intelligent reporting. 

This technology is now available to all of our clients as part of a green tech upgrade program. 

Maximize efficiency

ELM recommends the following to ensure that landscapes remain healthy and high-performing:

  • Include irrigation data as an essential financial metric in your building operation’s 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, such as pressure-regulating devices, which apply water directly to plants, and high-efficiency nozzles or other devices such as drip system alternatives as conservation measures.

Act now. Implement dramatic water savings and immediate compliance with water restrictions to avoid costly fines:

Call: Jamie Gorton, ELM’s resource conservation expert at 203-316-5433 

Learn more: ELM’s Water Conservation & Sustainability Platform

Make it happen: Email us to get started