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Green Spaces Ground Maintenance

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Please note: we are currently reviewing and updating our service standards.

Service Standards

Grounds maintenance includes the care of public grassed areas, including verges, annual bedding displays and horticultural features, herbaceous borders, shrub and rose beds, hedges, ponds and outdoor sports. The standards aim to provide a pleasant environment for residents and visitors alike, ensuring the green spaces play a key role in achieving a 'clean, green and safe borough'.

Grassed area with a footpath

There are several different standards and frequencies of grass cutting throughout the borough, ranging from wild flower areas that are cut twice a year, to ornamental areas in formal parks that are mown weekly during the growing season.

Flowers and shrubs

Annual bedding is provided in formal parks and street areas. Weeding, watering, dead-heading keep the displays looking healthy and colourful.

Shrub areas are normally pruned annually, usually during the winter months to keep growth under control. Rose borders are pruned and mulched to maintain floral displays and to supress weed growth.

Hedge by a footpath

Hedges are cut according to the plant species and their location. In formal parks, hedges are regularly trimmed to a neat finish and in natural and rural areas, hedges are maintained to cut back overgrowth.

The cuts take place ensuring legislation is met in terms of the bird nesting season.

People playing cricket

There are a number of outdoor facilities in green spaces across the borough, including football pitches, cricket tables, croquet lawns, bowling greens, golf courses and tennis courts.

All facilities are maintained in accordance with guidance from the various sporting bodies and regular maintenance programmes include, mowing, scarifying, aerating, fertilising, herbicide application and renovation works.

Pond

Formal and natural ponds can be seen in a number of green spaces across the borough.

>Formal ponds are maintained to restrict weed growth and to allow wildlife, aquatic and marginal plants to flourish. Natural ponds are cleared annually, and regular litter removal encourages healthy pond life.

Typologies

All Council managed green spaces are divided into four typologies based on the broad land type and function. Maintenance standards are then set according to each typology based on a range of maintenance tasks.

The main typologies are:

Formal parks range from major park sites to small pocket parks, the parks generally contain a large number of leisure/recreation features and a higher proportion of ornamental features. They are the most labour intensive and require a regular schedule of grounds maintenance tasks to maintain the standards.

Outdoor sports are played at parks and recreation grounds, specific playing fields and sports grounds across the borough. Sports pitches are maintained to promote true, safe, even, free draining surfaces and to provide pitches which are presented in optimum condition for

The maintenance of countryside parks includes grass mowing, hedge cutting and natural pond clearance. These parks are maintained to a standard that encourages natural habitats and wildlife. Rural spaces include areas of woodlands, meadows and wetlands. Many of these spaces will be noted for their biodiversity and wildlife conservation value and will provide a valuable resource for environmental education and awareness.

Most verges and urban spaces are cut regularly between April and October on a cut and drop basis. This is generally carried out on a fortnightly basis, although periods of inclement weather may delay operations. Extra cuts may be added before or after these dates as necessary. Grass clippings that encroach on paved areas adjacent to the verge are dispersed by the use of blower machines. Growth around obstacles in the grass such as road signs or fence lines, are controlled by strimming or selective use of herbicide spraying.

Zones

A set of three zones have been selected to group maintenance standards under specific descriptions. They are as follows:

Maintenance standard expected for high profile areas such as in formal parks and bowling greens. The tasks within this zoning include regular mowing of fine Turf areas, floral display maintenance including watering, dead-heading, pruning, weeding and fertilizing; and maintenance of formal water features.

Maintenance standard expected in areas where there is a high level of general use/activity, sites such as recreation areas. The tasks within this zoning include regular mowing of park, grassland and sports playing fields, cricket tables; grass playing pitches, including, scarification, aeration, irrigation, renovation after play and season end. tennis court maintenance, informal hedge maintenance, informal shrub and non- ornamental seasonal bedding maintenance.

Maintenance standard expected in natural areas including countryside parks, rural spaces and grass verges. The tasks within this zoning include mowing of grass verges, highway gateways, roundabouts, meadows, natural ponds, rural and natural hedges.

 

Tasks and standards

Typology 1

Formal parks and open spaces standards
Zone Definition  General standard
Grass maintenance 
1 – High amenity Weekly April-October  Fine quality turf areas in high profile sites, often adjacent to ornamental features e.g. flowerbeds Grass no longer than approx. 35mm cut uniform cut and collect basis with a striped finish, cuttings collected
2 – General/ medium amenity 10- 15 day schedule April-October  Reasonable quality grass areas in nonornamental areas of formal parks and urban spaces Grass no longer than approx. 65mm cut uniform with a consistent finish where appropriate
3 – Low amenity March - October  Meadow grass and wildflower areas usually situated in areas of amenity grass in formal parks One to three cuts per year dependant on area, arising usually removed
Hedge maintenance
1 – High amenity July - October  Hedges pruned to a specific form in high profile areas often adjacent to ornamental features Two cuts per year July cut dependant on meeting legislation in relation to bird nesting season
2 - General / medium amenity October onwards  Good quality informal hedge features sometimes forming boundaries in formal parks and urban spaces One cut per year during the winter programme
3 – Low amenity October onwards Informal hedges bordering urban spaces and cut so as not to cause obstruction One cut per year during the winter programme
Shrub and rose border maintenance
1 – High amenity Annual ongoing programme  Formal shrub and rose beds in high profile areas of formal parks, often used to complement floral planting and bedding Winter pruning once per year, define edge to border, spot treat weeds up to three times per year. Roses pruned twice per year 
2 – General / medium amenity November onwards Shrub borders providing backdrops to nonornamental areas in formal parks and green spaces Winter cultivation, pruning once per year, spot treat weeds up to three times per year 
Annual bedding maintenance
1 – High amenity June and October Seasonal bedding and floral planting in high profile areas, usually formal parks Bed preparation and planting twice per year, fortnightly hand weed/ deadhead, irrigation, if required 
2 – General / medium amenity June and October Seasonal bedding in informal areas of parks and open spaces Bed preparation and planting twice per year, monthly hand weed/ dead head, irrigation if required
Planters, boxes, floral displays and baskets
1 – High amenity June and October All floral displays in parks and urban spaces will be maintained to Zone 1 standards Following supply and installation, features will be irrigated and dead headed regularly
Pond maintenance
1 – High amenity Year round operation All ponds in a formal park setting Regular clearance of litter and biannual pond clear out to maintain healthy aquatic environment

Typology 2

Outdoor sport
Zone Definition  General standard
Football
2 – General / medium amenity August through to May All football pitches including soccer, rugby, etc Football pitches will be accurately set out and lines fully marked and clearly visible
2 – General / medium amenity August through to May All football pitches in parks, recreation and sports grounds Grass no longer than approx. 35mm cut to allow for optimum playing conditions
Bowling
1 – High amenity April through to October All bowling greens with fine quality turf Grass no longer than approx. 15mm no shorter than 5 mm cut uniform, and cuttings collected allowing for optimum playing conditions
Cricket
2 – General/ medium amenity April through to October All cricket tables Grass no longer than approx. 25mm outfield and 15mm table cut to allow for optimum playing conditions, and boundary line fully marked and visible for play
2 – General/ medium amenity April through to October All cricket wickets All cricket wickets will be accurately set out and lines fully marked and clearly visible for play
Croquet
1 – High amenity April through to October All croquet lawns Grass no longer than approx. 25mm no lower than 8 mm cut uniform, and cuttings collected allowing for optimum playing conditions and boundary lines marked and clearly visible
Tennis
2 – General/ medium amenity Year round operation All hard tennis courts Courts brushed, clear of moss and lines marked and clearly visible for optimum playing conditions

Typology 3

Countryside parks and rural spaces
Zone Definition  General standard
Grass cutting
3 – Low amenity March, July and October General grass areas that define pathways and are accessible and suitable for recreational use Grass no longer than approx. 150mm, free of unsightly clumps of clippings
3 – Low amenity October Meadows and areas of long grass that run alongside general grassed areas One or two cuts per year, timed according to species with arising removed at the correct time
Hedge cutting
3 – Low amenity October onwards Rural hedge One cut per year during the winter programme
Natural pond maintenance
3 – Low amenity January/ February Pond in a natural setting in a countryside park Regular clearance of litter and annual pond clear out to maintain healthy aquatic environment

Typology 4

Grass verges
Zone Definition  General standard
Grass verges
3 – Low amenity April through to September Rural verge Visibility splays and a single swath width (1.2m) from the carriageway are cut
3 – Low amenity April through to October Urban verge The height of the grass is kept between 12mm and 75mm
2 – General/ medium amenity April through to October Highway ornamental gateway The height of the grass is kept between 12mm and 75mm
3 – Low amenity April through to September Traffic Junction sight line Grass no longer than approx. 150mm
Grass steep embankments
3 – Low amenity April through to September Steep embankments Grass no longer than approx. 150mm cut 3-4 annualy.

Photos

To see photos of the examples of the service standards, visit:

Photos of service standards (PDF, 1.1MB)

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