Wow-Worthy Containers are Welcoming Employees Back to Work

After a year of change and transition, property owners and managers are using flowers – and lots of them – to restore a sense of normalcy as tenants and workers return to the office.

Outdoor planters with cascading greenery, sensational pots of fall foliage, freshly mulched borders of mums, and impeccable outdoor green spaces are a sign that life is gradually finding its way back.

Although the impact of hybrid work will be felt across all aspects of the workplace for some time, investments made in bringing more nature into the workspace will be one of the healthiest legacies of the pandemic era.

Research suggests that plants, in or out of the office, are more than a decorative touch. In fact, across high performing buildings and green-certified offices, nature equals higher productivity, improved morale, and an increased ability to focus.

As the return-to-work workplace continues to evolve, ELM will continue to innovate with plants and sustainable landscape strategies that improve well-being and meet the demand for healthier environments.

To learn more about green workplaces and how landscape amenities attract and keep tenants, contact President, Bruce Moore Jr. @ 203-316-5433

 

Cool Boules! It’s Game-On for Bocce Ball

Outdoor game courts are going in faster than we can say “baci”. And whether you play French-style pétanque, British bowls or Italian bocce, the simple bowling game that some say dates back to 5,200 B.C. is a hip, hot and happening trend for corporate campuses with outdoor space to spare.

Lucky for us, ELM has a growing game court niche, having built more than a few over the last few years, with more bocce projects in the pipeline. Enhancement Project Manager Bobby Papotto, who oversees our game court portfolio, says that a bocce court is easy to set up and there are different design features to take into consideration.

A recent example is ELM’s installation of a landscaped bocce court at a global headquarters in Fairfield County, Connecticut—a two-part campus renovation project that included drainage and grading, boundary construction and material installation, plus tree-shaded seating space, and border plantings to encourage employee team-building, as well as provide an upscale amenity area for corporate events.

ELM has a long history of constructing, renovating, resurfacing, re-turfing, and repairing performance and athletic fields, and sport courts are a natural next step, says Bobby.

For this project specifically, materials included constructing 200 linear feet of concrete curb, installing 400 yards of topsoil and over 10,000 square feet of sod; planting maple trees, ornamental grasses, red twig Dogwoods, and designing and installing a high-tech irrigation system.

As Connecticut’s top-performing companies continue their rapid growth, it’s becoming more important than ever for Class A property owners and managers to re-energize workplaces with healthy amenities designed to enhance people’s lives.

Whether the enhancement is a recreation pavilion, a landscaped gathering place, or outdoor conference space, giving executive teams and employees camaraderie and well-time outside the office is not only good for company culture and recruiting—bocce, volleyball, basketball, and walking and biking trails, give employees the next best way to build sweat equity.

To learn more about ways ELM is integrating nature into the future of work, contact ELM President Bruce Moore Jr. at 203-316-5433.

Think Outside the Job: Why ELM’s All-Hands-On-Deck Workplace Means You’re Not Just a Cog in the Machine

The best people are fast on their feet, says Bruce Moore Jr., ELM president, and chief culture officer.  “We’re a business of specialists who end up doing a little bit of everything. Including me.”

The whole business of commercial landscaping is shifting and no one knows what’s going to happen in the next ten years. But one thing is certain. Our customer will still be in charge.

For ELM, that customer is the vast commercial real estate industry in Connecticut and Greater NY metro, an economic powerhouse that spans multiple sectors—from retail and industrial to office and multi-family, and the property and facility managers, and owners who call the shots.

“Making sure the properties perform and contribute value is our job,” says Bruce, who leads a diverse team committed to a seamless bucket brigade of seasonal landscape maintenance services and a portfolio of green site infrastructure, irrigation and water management, construction and improvements.

The ability to understand and apply value-added concepts is critical to the success of a commercial landscape team and the concept of creating value has shaped how ELM’s culture works. At the most basic level, it’s about increasing effectiveness of the processes, understanding why quality is so important, and why the flow of work must exceed customer expectations.

“The most important thing we look for when hiring,” says Bruce, “is personality and the ability to work well with others. We can always teach a skill or provide training to ramp up expertise, but we can’t teach compatibility. When success is on the line, the team has to fit.”

7 reasons why ELM is a great place to work:

  • Team Spirit. Henry Ford said “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. And working together is success.” We agree and believe that more ideas, better decision making, fewer mistakes and getting faster results is one of the significant characteristics of ELM’s winning team spirit and the energy behind the company’s high performing teams.
  • Awesome People. Choosing the right people and treating them the way we want them to treat our customers helps the whole company work smoothly. We’re looking for the right skills, the “yes we can” mindset, a willingness to jump in no matter what, and people open to change.
  • Common Purpose. ELM teams share a distinct characteristic of shared purpose, and people who are organization-oriented, know what they are required to do, and willing to work together on SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and timely) goals for better productivity are the kind of high-value people who can harness the real potential of what’s possible.
  • Trust & Respect. Mutual respect is critical in companies where members of teams don’t have the same level of authority. At ELM, team members function best when there is mutual trust and where it’s the responsibility of the team leader to lead by example.
  • Innovation. We encourage creative problem-solving, practice constructive criticism, and know that great ideas can come from everyone on our team if we empower people to think differently. From faster ways of doing business to the better use of tools and equipment, ideas—and our ability to execute them—are our secret sauce.
  • Training. We believe that the more we invest, the better our return. ELM supports training, and technical and professional certification programs specific to sustainability, landscape maintenance, irrigation, and snow and ice management. And once we have a well-trained team, we do everything we can to give them a reason to stay: appreciation days, opportunities to grow, and team building time to get to know one another better.
  • Readiness. Working outdoors means weather is a constant companion and being prepared to manage uncertainty is part of the job. From climate events to storm watch, our ‘extreme team’ is not only top notch when it comes to safety and risk management, our winter management specialists are our region’s best. As an ASCA (Accredited Snow Contractors of America) Snow Leadership Award winner, we know that being vigilant and proactive will go a long way to make sure our clients, their properties, and our own great team stays safe when it counts.

ELM is hiring at both locations, Stamford and Monroe, Connecticut, and has open positions for full time and seasonal work.

Contact us for job applications at careers@easternland.com, or go to www.easternland.com/facebook for job postings.

ELM is a member of NALP (National Association of Landscape Professionals), SIMA (Snow & Ice Management Association), ASCA (Accredited Snow Contractors of America, and the Irrigation Association.

Photo: ELM Team Monroe celebrating 365 days of no accidents.

 

Horticultural Therapy for Better Senior Health

An expanding senior population is creating renewed demand for high-quality senior housing.  And to us, high-quality means access to nature and using landscaping as a metric to rise to new market challenges and simultaneously improve the quality of life for residents across a spectrum of needs.

This is good news for facility and portfolio managers with capital improvement monies to invest as landscaping and outdoor amenities are adaptable, innovative and sustainable ways to gain competitive advantage.

The economic argument is compelling. Data suggests that an estimated 70% of Americans aged 65 or older may require long-term care. Coupled with a set of statistics suggesting that access to nature improves health care outcomes, and it adds up to landscaping easily delivering a measurable return on investment.

As the assisted living communities of the future take shape, here are four key landscape trends to put on your radar.

Gateway Landscaping and Showcase Features:

The point of entry for new residents and potential residents, and visiting guests, is the front door. In an era where screening devices and advanced safety protocols are the norm, strategically-placed landscaping can help soften the technology, minimize touchpoints and make your building’s main entrance look like a welcoming amenity space without compromising the need for security.

Outdoor Living Rooms:

Outdoor gatherings will continue to meet new standards for public health and safety, and we’re building functional amenity spaces that can host family visits and social gatherings, and are pet-friendly. With a renewed emphasis on an accessible and flexible outdoors, we’re seeing an increase in requests for balconies, patios, courtyards and other spaces that are tech-enabled, airy and ventilated, and meet new restrictions for disease prevention.

Water Features:

Water is a soothing element so it’s only natural that its ability to improve mood is a given. When designed for safety and installed correctly, and integrated with smart-technology, interactive fountains, pondless waterfalls, architectural lighting, and water-recycling and conservation systems are among our most requested outdoor features.

 Therapeutic Specialty Gardens & Biophilic Elements:

Simply put, gardens are the fastest and most cost-effective way to add quantifiable value. Value in contributing to health and well-being, value as a participatory activity center, value as a community gathering place and value in what gardens provide as a multi-sensory experience.  At any stage of our lives, access to nature is always better than being cooped up.  For senior communities, gardens offer ways for residents to interact with plants and engage in nature-based activities: harvestable vegetable gardens and orchards; butterfly gardens, planted with flowering perennials that attract hummingbirds and beneficial pollinators (avoiding plants that attract bees or stinging insects); and bird gardens, with plants that provide forage and nesting habitats for migrating birds or waterfowl.

For more information on how ELM’s senior housing specialists rehabilitate outdoor spaces for a spectrum of specialized needs, contact President, Bruce Moore Jr. at 203-316-5433.

 

 

 

Celebrating 45 Years of Trust & Growth

“Every decade has its detours,” says ELM founder and landscape industry legend, Bruce Moore Sr. “From good times to lean times, we learned to adapt. The pandemic, and a fire we had a few years ago that wiped out our archives, was nearly just another day at the office,” he added with the wisdom born of time and persistence, and a willingness to work very hard at what he loved.

ELM recently celebrated its 45th year in business and Bruce Sr. says, “agility is our middle name.”  Like a lot of entrepreneurs, Bruce Sr. had a broad focus starting out and discovered his survival kit along the way.

“Adaptability became our strong suit,” he said, “as the only thing that was constant in those days was change. We were good at keeping customers and building relationships, and it was the relationships that kept us in business.”

Fast forward to 2021, and it’s clear that relationships continue to drive the company’s collective success. Not only does ELM still have some of its original – going on four-decade relationships, but the company’s service quality and consistency keeps its customer retention at nearly 95%.  Which, given quarantines and confinements, and a chronology of unprecedented events that unfolded in real time, is a remarkable lesson for business leaders.

Today, ELM is proud to have had the foresight to invest in developing a high performing team.  “Even in the midst of turbulence, we’ve always had an ‘all for one, one for all’ spirit,” says Bruce Sr. “We were lucky then – and we’re lucky now – that we built a company of trust and ideas, so when push came to shove, we could improvise quickly and push through together.”

The result is impressive. ELM reaches across Connecticut with a multi-branch operation and an engaging workforce where team members trust the people they work with and are willing to collaborate on the next big thing.

As it turns out, team spirit is critical to the firm’s ability to pivot.  “I credit Bruce Jr. for embracing uncertainty and inspiring ELM to adapt to new normal realities,” says the proud father of the firm’s next generation leader who is ushering in new, innovative ideas, green technologies, and concepts for growth.

ELM mandates contingency planning as part of its operational strategy and the ability to switch gears is built into its culture.

“Working in the New England snow belt, we’re already aligned with the fluctuations of nature. We expect the weather to change. We plan for plant life cycles and seasons and weather events, and are always assessing risk and economies of scale. If you know anything about nature, even with technology forecasting, she can be imprecise. So, we have to be on our toes and proactive. Just like getting out in front of change in business, nature demands a fast and super-flexible response. Our training to do that well has become our value-add,” said Bruce Jr.

For more than four decades, ELM has kept the company going with its integrity and an ‘all hands on deck’ spirit at the helm.  With the firm’s half-century mark on the horizon, ELM continues to think beyond what’s possible.

“Creating a new future for what we do, without compromising what made us who we are, is our new leadership imperative.”

Over the next few months, ELM will be rolling out its legacy for the future. “With the health crisis more or less behind us, and enthusiasm for revitalized landscapes in all its forms – parks, open spaces, habitats, green roofs, and amenity zones – benefitting from a pent-up demand for being outside, we don’t want to lose sight of what made us great. Because what brought us here, will take us forward,” said Bruce Jr.

What inspired ELM back in the day – the solid relationships, the decision-making that helped the company think through challenge, and the firm’s strong commitment to people and community – that, and the high value support from all levels of its team, that’s the advantage ELM says they will always bring to the table.

Eastern Land Management was founded in Connecticut in 1976 by Bruce T. Moore Sr. Under the leadership of its president Bruce T. Moore Jr., ELM is one of the northeast region’s leading provider of commercial landscape, water management and snow services.

Bruce Moore Jr. is an active member of the National Association of Landscape Professionals, the Snow and Ice Management Association, Southern Connecticut BOMA, Bridgeport Economic Development Council, a member of the board of directors for the Fairfield County House, and a former long-time member of the board of the Stamford Boys & Girls Club. As a team and company, ELM is a committed corporate citizen and community partner, and shares time and resources to support organizations and people in need.

For its efforts in advanced water management and resource conservation, ELM was honored in 2019 with the Fairfield County ChangeMaker Award for Sustainability.

To learn more, go to: www.easternland.com or contact ELM President, Bruce Moore Jr., at (203) 316-5433.

 

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.

Improving Quality of Life by Planting for Health

Gardens and plants are growing in popularity in hospitals and other health care settings for one simple reason: they improve the quality of life and the quality of healing.

While every health care property is unique, there is one overarching goal each property’s landscape supports: “First, do no harm.” To this extent, there is a growing awareness that landscapes and plants can increase care quality, significantly improve patient health and satisfaction, measurably reduce infection risk and exposure, lower stress, and serve a greater purpose.

Our top six recommendations:

• Make nature, by way of strategic landscape planning, essential to your brand and credibility, and commitment to sustainability.

• Create multi-function therapeutic landscape space. Horticultural therapy sessions, interactive gardens, garden terraces and healing courtyard gardens, and green walls, with an emphasis on sensory perception.

• Integrate green building features with thoughtful elements that are patient-centered and accommodate limited mobility: handrails, grade-sensitive walkways that promote exercise, accessible ramps, and seating areas that promote rest.

• Create indoor atriums and enclosed all-weather landscape pavilions that provide high value impact and make nature available year-round.

• Choose seasonal plant and ornamental tree palettes that highlight rotating foliage color and texture, with plants that are non-toxic and non-thorny, with an emphasis on high contrast plantings to help patients with low vision; plant shade trees and lush perennial shrub and herb borders to create a sense of serenity.

• Mitigate environmental risk with less-toxic plant health care applications, advance human health and safety, with landscape lighting, green technologies, remote-controlled irrigation to avoid water waste and puddling; mitigate winter risk with storm and snow/ice management and safety plan.

ELM is a leader in health care, and institutional and commercial landscaping services. To learn more about healing gardens, plant therapy, and the role landscaping can play as an integrated strategy for health and well-being, contact Bruce Moore Jr., president, at 203-316-5433.

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.

When There’s No Margin for Error, a Quality Audit Can Be Your Best Return on Investment.

ELM’s landscape quality audit program is the gold standard in plant performance management. Because you can’t manage what you can’t measure – in business or in landscaping – we believe that a real-time assessment of plant issues and discrepancies is the best way to measure quality and improve the way your landscape looks, and the way its systems function.

When assessing quality, we consider intangible benefits like green systems efficiency, sustainability metrics, and ways to make the care of your plants, trees and soil structure more environmentally-responsible.

The first step in our program is to estimate total cost and benefits, count everything that is directly associated with your landscape, including hardscape and infrastructure elements, and factor in qualitative benefits such as: does this landscape add asset value, how can we make this site more productive and efficient, and where are missed opportunities for continuous improvement?

When key business objectives are driven by quality, we know that there is no margin for error.

If you’d like to learn more about our landscape quality audit and how we can improve your landscape’s ROI, contact President, Bruce Moore Jr. at 203-316-5433.