Our Alexandria office has the pleasure of frequently performing commercial maintenance in our nation’s capital. With that honor comes the challenge of finding parking, navigating traffic, and finding the right plants for each environment. Learn more in this interview with Jenn Giunta, our Alexandria Branch Manager.
Q: What are some unique challenges that you experience?
Jenn: Some unique challenges include excessive use of properties caused by everything from regular use by residents to dogs to pedestrians. This wear and tear on the landscape require extra upkeep.
Q: How is maintaining commercial properties different than residential?
Jenn: When treating commercial properties the structure is much different than residential maintenance. It is challenging because it requires a comprehensive mentality. Additionally, horticulture in the city differs from residential because you really need to know the plants and their characteristics. Also, you need to be a great investigator and problem solver.
Q: Being in DC, how do you approach sites that deal with a lot of traffic?
Jenn: When trying to find parking we may work with the properties themselves to find possibly, an alley or a loading dock. If that isn’t possible we may partner with a nearby building. When there isn’t clear space for parking we just figure it out! Our men are crafty, smart, and creative when it comes to parking. We’ve learned what roads you can and cannot park on. It’s important to know the layout of the city for jobs like these.
Q: How do you maintain plants in a harsh environment?
Jenn: For harsh environments, such as high winds, microclimates, and heat islands there are multiple elements to consider. One important element is picking the right plants for the right location. Different plants thrive in different locations so something for a shopping center or a corporate business may not be right for apartments or condos.
Q: What are some ways you determine the right plants for the location?
Jenn: To choose the right plants we often take clues from existing plants in the area. We also do background research and speak with the property manager or engineer of the building. Sometimes trial and error are necessary to find the right plants for your location.
Additionally, we take into consideration foreseeable events such as wind, as well as unforeseeable such as dog traffic, environment, microclimates, and heat islands.
Q: What are some difficulties you face in the court garden?
Jenn: Some difficulties in the court garden include the amount of light exposure and lack of sunlight due to shadows from surrounding buildings, as well as very distinct microclimates.
Another difficulty we have is the location of the courtyard. If it’s on a roof or the only entrance is through a lobby we make sure that all our staff is wearing booties on top of their shoes to prevent dirty floors.
Q: What drives your success
Jenn: The major element of our success is our people. Our team thrives because of people. Our highly trained staff works together effortlessly, communicating with each other and property managers every step of the way.