Landscaping Projects, Design & Surveys

OUTCO creates aesthetically pleasing workspaces, through well-maintained buildings and attractively landscaped grounds, which is vital in creating a positive first impressions by visitors

 

Landscaping Projects, Design & Surveys

OUTCO creates aesthetically pleasing workspaces, through well-maintained buildings and attractively landscaped grounds, which is vital in creating a positive first impressions by visitors. There are significant benefits to be had by making the most of the environment in which staff work on a daily basis. Well maintained and creative external natural surroundings can positively impact productivity and improve physical and mental wellbeing. OUTCO offer a full suite of landscaping projects, exterior design and surveys to suit all outdoor estates regardless of size or location.

Landscape design and management

OUTCO Green Surveys are ideal for detailed landscape maintenance and management plans, particularly when conducted for longer term contracts or larger sites and portfolios. Detailed plans identify ongoing resource and budgetary requirements and are key to the successful, and progressive, long term management of green assets which are now becoming widely recognised as hugely valuable.

Biodiverse landscapes

It is widely recognised that biodiverse green spaces that encourage native wildlife and plant species to thrive improve our mental health and wellbeing. This is hugely important and beneficial in the workplace and learning environments. For organisations looking to enhance their environmental reputation or schools developing a wildlife garden or outside learning area, OUTCO can provide the perfect solution. We understand the importance of green spaces especially in urban areas.

Urban landscapes

Our services include urban wildflower meadow installation, native species planting, tree planting, pond construction, wildlife gardens, habitat hotels, compost areas, invasive species control, bird boxes and feeder’s green walls and green roof installation. OUTCO believes in in sustainable planting solutions and use nectar bearing flowers to encourage butterflies, insects and birds creating real living landscapes that benefit people and wildlife.

OUTCO Green Surveys are ideal for detailed landscape maintenance and management plans, particularly when conducted for longer term contracts or larger sites and portfolios. Detailed plans identify ongoing resource and budgetary requirements and are key to the successful, and progressive, long term management of green assets which are now becoming widely recognised as hugely valuable

Lifecycle asset management

Our landscapes are living assets that are continually developing. Lifecycle-asset-management aims to maximise life expectancy and provide sustainable ecological and environmental landscape solutions for all green assets and external infrastructure. This includes trees, lawns, hedges, shrubs, ponds, beds and borders as well as hard landscaping such as roads, footpaths, boundary walls and fences.

Green audits & surveys

Data collected is used by our local service teams and regional landscape managers who develop intelligent maintenance regimes that maximise the potential of our clients’ green assets and infrastructure. We carry out additional surveys and site inspections at key milestones throughout the contract period and provide detailed recommendations for improvements that, for example, can reduce maintenance costs by focusing on more natural vegetation types with less intensive management regimes.

OUTCO helps organisations by providing strategic project support in the delivery of their wider CSR objectives, environmental policy, and by making their business more attractive to customers or employees.

Understanding landscape design

An enriched landscape doesn’t have to come with a premium price tag. Landscapes that improve biodiversity can be implemented with no increased budget or investment and can be delivered at no added cost through a design by maintenance regime followed over an agreed period of time.

When carrying out an assessment of a site, OUTCO considers if there are areas that are less often used. These can be repurposed to provide a real opportunity for wildlife havens such as urban woodlands, offering far greater visual interest while also encouraging biodiversity. Such areas require some investment to plant initially but compared to a lawn than needs frequent visits to mow, ultimately require far less ongoing intensive maintenance – hence, swapping one for the other can be cost neutral.

Flexible grounds maintenance contracts

Part of the challenge of using green spaces strategically is often down to the arrangements in place for grounds maintenance, which are too often bogged down in following established practices and service regimes. This often starts with the contracts and KPIs given to grounds maintenance contractors.

OUTCOs effective contracts and KPIs not only enable quality standards to be measured and managed, but also let Facilities Managers drive forward strategies and allocate resources accordingly.

A crucial component of both of these are the grounds maintenance service specifications that set out the services required from contractors. Input specifications are most commonly used for grounds maintenance and often present a schedule of tasks, a set number of visits and fixed methodologies dictating what, when and how service is delivered. This input-based approach makes the procurement process more simple when comparing contractors on a like-for-like basis.

Yet when it comes to delivering on strategic objectives such as developing multifunctional, sustainable landscapes, working to inputs can create a barrier to success – services may be delivered to rule irrespective of whether the end result is achieved. Input based specifications carry a danger of landscaping being reduced to a quantitative exercise that discourages suppliers from being more consultative and creative and in taking an active role in achieving broader business objectives. Hence, when pursuing a green infrastructure strategy, it is worth considering adopting an output-based approach that focuses on what you want to achieve.

OUTCO and stakeholders

OUTCO takes time to work with stakeholders within the organisation to develop the strategy and vision and use these to define an output-based specification. For example, this could involve engaging with HR or with CSR committees to better understand any business objectives than could be supported. If employee health and wellbeing is a priority, then a desired output could be the creation of green gyms or quiet refuge and restorative areas. This focus on outputs and objectives also empowers contractors to think outside of the box and exercise their expertise whilst adopting more innovative approaches that work better for all parties involved.

Take stock this year

Consulting is key to developing an effective green infrastructure strategy and landscape management plan. Summer presents the ideal opportunity for this, as facility green spaces see the heaviest use at this time. Plans developed over the summer can also be implemented during winter months, which is the optimum time for jobs such as native tree and shrub planting and preparing grounds for wildflower seeding or turfing. We recommend the following steps for ambitious landscape thinking:

  • Assess how green spaces on sites are used and identify who uses the space and when?
  • Carry out a detailed landscape survey across your portfolio to gain an understanding of what green assets are on site and their condition.
  • Consult with stakeholders as to what improvements may be desired and work to identify business priorities and objectives.
  • Utilise OUTCO to provide expert advice and come up with innovative ideas for site improvements.
  • On larger estates or portfolios, engage with OUTCO to create landscape management and maintenance plans. This will help drive innovative ideas and ways in which to maximise your green and open space potential.
  • Create a vision, aims and objectives that landscape improvements can be measured against over the short, medium and long term.
  • Review maintenance specifications, KPIs and landscape management plans ensuring they fit with the vision.
  • Think outside the box and be creative – urban orchards, woodlands and meadows and food growing clubs are just a few ideas that are very easy to implement

Do you require assistance with maintaining your outdoor estate?

Contact OUTCO today by phone 0800 0432 911

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Working with businesses across the UK

We protect, maintain and improve your outdoor estate infrastructure

Our complete range of services ensure your organisation looks good and runs like clockwork come rain, shine or snow, keeping you one step ahead of regulatory and operational compliance.

At A Glance
Outdoor estate compliance
Garden

Outdoor estate compliance

Our validated services cover all the bases keeping your outdoor estate running smoothly, looking good and compliant managing your essential outdoor estate infrastructure.