Download a PDF of this article as it appeared in the Naples Daily News here.
I've been telling my readers for years that design and opinion are very distant cousins: there is a whiff of personal preference in the selection of plant material, but not very much. This week, a look at maintenance costs and plant selection.
Maintenance is the biggest part of landscape expense by a huge margin. Design and construction costs are easy to control, but maintenance is perpetual, and rarely figures into the plant selection process. How do I know this?
Because I have eyes, that’s how.
A Typical Community
Consider a typical community of about twenty acres with a few hundred units arranged in buildings of 8 or 10 homes. Nothing unusual about this (numbers are based on my experience).
A few annual costs: cutting the grass, pruning the shrubs is $85,000. Mulch adds about $13,000; tree and palm trimming, another $20,000; normal plant replacements add $20,000; irrigation repair and maintenance about $10,000. Add everything together: $141,000. Year after year after year.