If you manage a municipality, you know all kinds of landscaping needs pop up.
Hundreds of acres of finicky grass that needs mowing three times a week. Historic buildings that need landscaping that looks like it did in 1906. Environmental disasters. So. Many. Pavers.
Level Green Landscaping has several municipal landscaping clients that keep crews busy with a multitude of jobs.
Branch manager David Keffer walks us through a few of the diverse services that keep municipalities looking great.
1. Mowing Acres and Acres of Tricky Grass
St. Mary’s County, MD has a lot of turf, spread over many public parks and recreational ball fields.
“We do a lot of mowing grass, trimming, edging, and blowing,” Keffer says. “It’s kind of mundane, but it’s also a lot of work. There are hundreds and hundreds of acres to mow.”
And not just regular mowing. Municipal landscaping sometimes throws mowing crews a curveball.
“Ball fields need a reel mower,” Keffer says. Wait a minute. Those old push mowers like in grandpa’s garage?
“Think of that, but picture it 72 inches wide with an engine attached,” Keffer says.
The county’s ball fields are Bermuda grass, he says, and are kept short, no higher than an inch and a half, mowed three times a week. Regular rotary mowers don’t, well, cut it.
2. Landscaping Historic Landmarks
Prince George’s County owns and has restored many old homes once owned by Colonial families.
Transformed into visitor centers, wedding venues, and the site of a public golf course, they often need expert restorative landscaping.
Keffer tells of an upcoming municipal landscaping project at Dorsey Chapel, a treasured historic site.
Built in 1900 as a Methodist church, the chapel served as the social and spiritual center of Brookland, an African American farming community.
Now it’s a designated historic site after being restored by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, a longtime Level Green client.
Today, the architectural jewel is available for rental for small weddings, recitals, and meetings.
But it needs some work.
“The original brick walkways are deteriorating,” Keffer says. Level Green crews will remove all the bricks and painstakingly number them, set them aside, fix the sinking foundation and replace the bricks back in the same order.
“We’ve worked on multiple historic homes that are important to the history of Prince George’s County,” Keffer says.
That sometimes includes restoring landscaping with plants that would have been there a century ago, he says.
Enter Level Green landscape architect Richard Sweeney, who studies reference books to choose historically accurate plants like boxwood and herbs to complement gravel driveways and recycled brick walkways.
3. Stormwater Pond Management
Every job can’t be at fascinating historic mansions. Sometimes municipal landscaping is dirty work.
Stormwater ponds collect water from rain and runoff and release it slowly, at a nice, easy rate that prevents flooding or erosion.
Regular maintenance keeps them working smoothly and ensures they pass annual inspections.
The grass and plants around the ponds help filter pollutants from the stormwater, but they can’t be overgrown. So Level Green crews mow the back side of the ponds to remove any woody growth that can catch debris, obstructing the flow of water.
Mucky pond sediment can build up on the stone installed to help prevent erosion. Grass and weeds take root in the sediment, and the growth can often completely obscure the stone. So crews excavate the stone, clean it off and reset it.
Regular maintenance four times a year keeps things running smoothly.
4. Municipal Landscaping and Environmental Sustainability
Concern for the environment leads to some municipal landscaping projects.
The scenic Patuxent River is a huge natural attraction, but a portion of the popular Patuxent River Park was a mess.
Rainwater was flowing unchecked into the river, bringing pollutants right along with it. Old concrete steps dating back to the 1920s leading to a popular boat dock were cracked and crumbling.
Level Green crews tackled a challenging municipal landscaping renovation with a month of painstaking hand labor that rejuvenated the space and netted Maryland Green Center Award certification for the park — proof that the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission saves energy, reduces pollution runoff and helps prevent erosion along the valuable waterway.
Crews replaced cracked and crumbling concrete steps, landings, and walkways with 2,000 square feet of permeable pavers that allow rainwater to seep through, then be piped away from the river and into a nearby wooded area. Each paver was carried by hand up the stairway.
Crews also planted the adjacent hillside with native plants, including redbud trees, native hibiscus, grasses, ferns, dogwoods, black-eyed Susans and purple coneflower.
5. Keeping Public Places Tidy
Municipalities are in the public eye. Landscaping around government buildings, parks, and recreation centers has to be appealing, tidy and safe.
It’s part of routine municipal landscaping maintenance, and it involves a lot:
- Keeping turf neat and healthy
- Removing messy fall leaves
- Irrigation management
- Fresh mulch to discourage weeds, retain moisture and look great.
- Beds and planters of pretty summer annuals building entrances
- Expert snow and ice management
- Hardscape projects, including paver walkways
Level Green crews are a second set of eyes on municipal properties, always on the lookout for potential problems. When the landscaping is impressive, the facility managers look great, too.
Trust Your Municipal Landscaping to Level Green
Area municipalities are among Level Green Landscaping’s many long-standing clients, Keffer says, and those trusted relationships are valued.
“We’ve had a relationship with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission for nine years, and it started with grass mowing,” Keffer says. “It’s been building from there. They learned we can do lots of other kinds of work, so they call us as needed. We’re their contractor of choice.”
Municipal landscaping keeps you on your toes, Keffer says.
“Things can happen at a moment’s notice,” he says. “They get funding for something and they reach out to us. We meet their timetables and get the jobs done on time.
“Anything they’ve asked us to do, we’ve jumped on it.”
Many area municipalities trust Level Green Landscaping to meet their multifaceted landscaping needs.
If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers. Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.
Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.
We'd love to hear from you.