Grounds Maintenance and the Importance of Seasonal Planning

Are you planning your grounds maintenance according to season? Here’s why you should be.

Grounds Maintenance (GM) is an exceptionally important – and often-times costly – sphere of facilities maintenance. Negligence and oversight are two of the most common culprits, as pitfalls can be hard to avoid without dedicated expertise in particular fields. 

Consider the tree which requires surgery after a few weeks of neglect. Consider the impact of reducing winter grounds maintenance to save money; only to find that reinstating the lawns in summer costs just as much as you tried to save. 

Add the unpredictable nature of British weather to that concoction and you’re looking at an extremely difficult portfolio to plan for, and maintain, over a long-term period. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible though. As always, proper planning and preparation will assist you in covering for most potential problems and risks. 

A starting point

While nobody expects a facility manager to run out and get a degree in horticulture, a basic understanding and knowledge of groundskeeping is highly recommended. Have an appreciation of the basics so that you understand what your grounds are going through during the different seasons. Planning your GM in line with seasonal fluctuations is about understanding your environment and the best practices for maintaining it. With this basic knowledge you should have a much easier time of planning for the year. 

So what should you actually do? 

Start by mapping out your year, identifying specific milestones and tasks appropriate to certain periods. You could split these maps into Grounds Maintenance and Landscaping, if that makes it easier for your particular site. The key is to know what you can plan for at the beginning of the year, so that you are prepared for when unexpected situations arise. 

Seasonal Tips

With the above in mind, it is time to focus on things that you can do during specific seasons. 


Spring is the season of growth and renewal. For the GM team, this means cracking on with landscaping, trimming, planting, pruning and honing. 

Part of your spring plans should be setting key performance indicators to measure quality and updating the maintenance specifications of the company where necessary. Meet with the GM team to outline the programme of works, and regularly return to them to ensure that the plan is being implemented accordingly. Update your compliance folders, including your staff training records and assessments for risks and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) compliance. 

Here are just a few basic tips for spring:


  • Repair all dead patches
  • Treat problematic plants and grasses accordingly
  • Use a spring fertiliser after all snows are melted
  • Dethatch and aerate to revive weak lawns

Trees, Shrubs and Groundcover:

  • Remove winter trunk protection
  • Re-mulch at the base of trees and shrubs
  • Prune and clean up branches and summer-flowering shrubs
  • Rake, fertilise and groom groundcovers
  • Thoroughly water new plants

Garden Maintenance:

  • Plant season-friendly flowers and vegetables
  • Add organic matter to relevant soils
  • Remove and refresh mulch sites


The hottest season of the year brings with it the most intense period of grass cutting and pruning. This is a good time to evaluate potential site improvements. Try looking for areas where you can make multifunctional improvements; like simple aesthetic changes which also encourage wildlife. Also review your strategies for staying within budget and continue to manage your risks – especially in terms of invasive species. 

Here are just a few basic tips for summer:


  • Regular mowing will be necessary, but leave the clippings on the lawn and only ever remove one-third of the length
  • Raise the mowing height as summer continues, as taller grass holds up against heat and drought better
  • Water in the mornings to ensure the lawn receives about 2-3 centimetres a week

Trees, Shrubs and Groundcover

  • Weed around trees and re-mulch; but keep material 5-10 centimetres away from the trunks
  • Check for insect damage or disease 
  • Trim hedges after the first new growth flush


Autumn is a great time to schedule site improvements, such as planting and arboriculture activities. Review your landscape assets and maintenance plans, measuring them against the year so far. This is a good time to bring in an external specialist who can advise on particular subject matter. 

Here are just a few basic tips for autumn:


  • Overseed new lawn and relevant spots
  • Use an autumn fertiliser on the lawn
  • Rake leaves regularly

Trees, Shrubs and Groundcover

  • Mulch and water newly planted conifers
  • Plant new additions like oak and holly
  • Clean all rotten or rotting debris
  • Rake and compost leaves

Garden Maintenance

  • Cut back perennials to 15 centimetres
  • Divide and replant overcrowded perennials


Winter is a favourite time to try and cut costs in the GM department; but it is actually a great time of year to treat lawns to grow healthily and moss-free in the following summer. Conditioning is the major focus of this time of year, so you should be looking to get a head start on spring. Be sure to take into account the Health and Safety risks of the grounds too; as less maintenance might lead to an increase in hazards and risks for staff. 

Here are just a few basic tips for autumn:


  • Try and avoid walking on the lawn when it is frozen or dormant
  • Try to use alternatives to salt where you can

Trees, Shrubs and Groundcover 

  • Water newly planted evergreens
  • Prune fruit trees in late winter and spray with dormant oil
  • Wrap trees with tree guards to protect from rodent damage
  • Wrap tender foundation shrubs in burlap

Garden Maintenance

  • Fertilise flowers in mild-winter regions with a fast-acting fertiliser

Use an expert

Of course, the best method for ensuring that your GM plan is up to scratch is to confer with the experts at Voltix Services. We offer landscaping and grounds maintenance solutions which are proactive and responsive. Our winter services include snow clearing and grit spreading as part of an annual maintenance contract. We also offer efficient infestation control for rodents, birds, flies and insects. Call us today! 020 3510 2016