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How do you know if your commercial landscape maintenance contractor in Minnesota is doing everything your contract specifies? Or if they’re doing it properly, on time, and in a way that adds value to your property?

With so many businesses closed and office buildings vacant, it’s understandable that you may not be visiting your properties as often as usual. But, as a result, you may not notice what’s being done or, more importantly, what’s not being done by your landscape maintenance contractor in Minnesota.

We spend a lot of time visiting commercial properties throughout Minnetonka, Eden prairie, Edina, Delano, St. Louis park, Minneapolis, St. Paul State of Minnesota and have noticed that many companies right now are not performing all of the exterior grounds services they should be (and that are likely specified in their scope of work).

While there hasn’t been much downward movement in the dollar amounts on contracts, what’s being delivered has been steadily decreasing over the last few months.

How Do You Know What You’re Getting From Your Landscape Maintenance Contractor?

Effective landscape maintenance of commercial properties is a partnership between the landscape maintenance contractor and property owner or manager. Frequent and consistent communication and site reviews are a critical part of building and maintaining a strong, professional relationship.

Below are some of the ‘red flags’ that indicate your landscape maintenance contractor may not be holding up their end of the relationship.

Regular Communication & Reporting

When you can’t be physically present, you rely on your landscape maintenance contractor to get the job done without your direct oversight.

  • Are they communicating with you on a regular basis to confirm that they’ve delivered the services and that the property looks a certain way?
  • Do they share an inspection report with you at least once a month?
  • Do they send you photos of areas that need attention?

Regular Meetings & Property Reviews

The landscape maintenance contractor should be encouraging meetings with you to review the property and make sure that the quality is being delivered appropriately.

  • Have you heard from your contractor this month?
  • Do you have a property review scheduled? (or, at least, had the opportunity to schedule one)
  • When was the last time you met with your contractor?

Site Visits & Comparisons

Take a look at neighboring properties and compare the services and quality of work that different contractors are delivering.

  • How does your property compare to others?
  • Are you getting the same services and quality?
  • Are you pleased with the appearance of your property, especially as it compares to others?

What to Look For

Take a close look at your commercial landscape maintenance contract, paying particular attention to the scope of services and any details about how those services will be performed. For example, look for details like:

  • Pruning trees and shrubs vs. shearing them
  • Edging with a string trimmer vs. edging with a spade
  • Quantity, type, and frequency of turf applications
  • Frequency and methods of weed control in beds (e.g., hand pulling vs. herbicide application)

Then take a walk around your property. Does what you see match what the contract says?

Below are some of the specifics to consider:


  • Color & condition – good color and density, uniform appearance; no streaking, bare spots or compacted soil
  • Weed control – no grassy or broadleaf weeds visible
  • Mowing – clear mowing patterns, proper and uniform height; no rutting, scalping, clumps or clippings, or unevenness in height
  • Detail – excellent curb appeal, crisp edges, proper trimming


  • Debris/litter – none visible throughout the property
  • Cracks & curbs – no grassy or broadleaf weeds


  • Uniform coverage, ideal soil moisture, all heads operational, operating at 100% efficiency
  • No dry spots, visibly stressed plants, puddling/wet spots, overspray, damaged/exposed/elevated drip, spray head, valve box covers, or wires

Ornamental Shrubs

  • Correctly pruned to maintain desired form, size, and appearance
  • No “catch up” pruning or shearing required

Ornamental Trees

  • Correctly pruned to maintain desired form, size, and appearance
  • No low hanging branches, deadwood, suckers, crossing branches, or safety issues

Beds & Tree Rings

  • Weed control – no grassy or broadleaf weeds visible
  • Edging – straight, sharp, and well-defined edges; not choppy, jagged or scalped
  • Mulch – uniform layer of high-quality mulch; no overgrown areas, thin spots, faded material, old mulch visible, irregular depth or poor quality mulch

Annuals & Flowers

  • Excellent design, installation, detail, color, density, and overall presentation
  • Does not need deadheading, pruning, weeding, fertilization or watering

Overall Property

  • Signage clearly visible, with plants trimmed back
  • Lighting unobstructed by plants or other material
  • Walkways, steps, and parking lots swept and free of debris
  • An appealing overall appearance that would be attractive to customers and tenants

After your walk-around, take stock of what you observed. Do you like what you saw? If so, great!

If not, it’s time to have a discussion with your contractor.

What To Do If You’re Not Getting What You Pay For

Talk to your commercial landscape maintenance contractor immediately. Have the contract with you so you can check on what is supposed to be delivered. Ask questions about when and how the work is being done.

Ask for specific details, including any areas the contractor noticed that need additional attention.

Ultimately, the only way to know that you’re truly getting what you pay for is to visit your site(s). However, your commercial landscape maintenance contractor should be able to give you a clear and complete description of the condition of each property. If they can’t, it’s time to look elsewhere.

Give us a call for a competitive quote and learn how our exclusive quality control and communication processes help you know that you’re really getting exactly what you paid for.

About Green Grounds Landscaping, LLC.

We are a full service, licensed and insured, landscape company providing excellent lawn care and landscape service for residential & commercial properties in Minnetonka, Eden prairie, Edina, Delano, St. Louis park, Minneapolis, St. Paul State of Minnesota licensed and certified for applications of pesticides and fertilizers.

See all our services here