Grounds Maintenance

What is grounds maintenance?

Landscaping, mowing, and pruning are a few of the duties of grounds maintenance crews. Grounds maintenance focuses on keeping a facility’s outdoor areas neat and presentable. The end result is both aesthetic and practical. By improving the appearance of lawns and landscaping features, regular grounds maintenance preserves property value. For instance, one study found that attractive arrangements of trees at commercial properties can improve rental rates by 7%.

Grounds maintenance workers also work on indoor areas, such as with potted plants and indoor gardens. Some mechanical maintenance work is also required to keep sprinkler systems, gates, and equipment in working order.

Types of grounds maintenance workers

Grounds maintenance workers perform a variety of tasks, each of which requires a specific skill set.

  • Groundskeepers handle general grouns maintenance, including mowing grass, trimming hedges, aerating soil, raking leaves, and removing snow. They also help maintain groundskeeping equipment, fences, walkways, and parking areas. These tasks frequently require technical knowledge on top of horticultural expertise.
  • Landscaping workers plant trees, flowers, hedges, and grass; rake and maintain greenery; and design outdoor areas to improve aesthetic appeal. They may also maintain sprinkler systems and lighting on a facility’s grounds.
  • Pesticide handlers apply chemical treatments in order to eradicate pests, weeds, and diseases. They inspect the grounds for potential problems and apply treatments as needed. This line of work typically requires specific training and safety certification.
  • Arborists specialize in the care and maintenance of trees specifically. They prune and apply treatments to trees to prevent diseases and promote arboral health. Some arborists specialize in shaping trees to visually appealing shapes while others focus on maintaining their plants’ health.

Example of grounds maintenance

A downtown shopping mall maintains both outdoor and indoor greenery, including trees, hedges, grass, and shrubbery. To make sure everything remains green and healthy, they need to keep sprinkler systems in working order, aerate the soil, and consistently inspect the grounds for diseases, weeds, and pests.

One summer, a neglected area of their grounds sees an intrusion of weeds, depriving flowers and shrubs of the nutrients they need. Upon discovering the problem, groundskeepers find the infestation has already grown out of control. The grounds crew has to pull the weeds, aerate the soil, and replant an entire plot of shrubbery to correct the problem.

Had they detected the issue before it had grown rampant, they would have spared themselves the time and revenue spent correcting the issue. As such, regular inspection is key to streamlining the high costs of grounds maintenance.

Locations that utilize grounds maintenance

  • Apartment complexes: Residential properties benefit from consistent grounds upkeep, especially in providing plants that provide shade, aesthetic appeal, and privacy
  • Athletic fields: Turf needs to be kept in top quality in order to maintain safe and attractive playing fields
  • Malls and shopping centers: In order to attract companies and customers, shopping centers need to keep a visually pleasing appearance. This frequently involves well-trimmed greenery and consistent grounds maintenance
  • Golf courses: Greenkeepers specialize in maintaining golf courses, which need to be kept in pristine condition
  • Cemeteries: Grounds maintenance is central to preserving the calm, well-kept appearance of cemeteries
  • Schools: Public and private schools, community colleges, and universities all benefit from grounds maintenance. Often, horticulture students are put in charge of keeping up the grounds as part of their studies.

Grounds maintenance certifications and training

In order to qualify as a grounds maintenance worker, little to no formal training is needed. However, those who apply pesticides are often required to have certain licensing by state laws. In addition, certification programs are offered by professional organizations for grounds maintenance workers. These certifications set them apart as particularly skilled and knowledgeable in their field.

  • Certified Grounds Technician: The CGT designation is offered by the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS). CGT certification requires candidates to have two years of experience in grounds maintenance and pass a 40-question exam. Maintaining their certification requires continuing education in their field.
  • Certified Grounds Manager: Also offered by PGMS, the CGM certification requires either formal education in grounds maintenance or eight years of experience in the field. Candidates are also required to pass an examination to qualify.

On top of professional certification, formal training opportunities are plentiful, and they can help prepare grounds maintenance workers to perform satisfactory work.

Grounds maintenance news and resources

  • American Public Gardens Association: The American Public Gardens Association publishes numerous articles, webinars, and presentations centered on landscaping and maintenance of public gardens
  • Facilitiesnet: Facilitiesnet has published numerous articles on grounds management and maintenance. Their publications are centered on a facilities management perspective.