Write your Best Landscape Maintenance Request for Proposal
/ Scope of Services Form Ever…With This Checklist!
For Commercial Property Managers

This checklist is a tool built for property management professionals. Our goal is to help you write a Landscape Maintenance Request for Proposal / Scope of Services (RFP). Each heading below are standard for any landscape maintenance contract in Massachusetts.  Use these descriptions or write you own so there is no confusion as to what service you expect in the contract. A well written Landscape Maintenance Request for Proposal encourages quality landscape professionals to bid on your property.  

Garrick-Santo Landscape Co.

Spring Cleanup:

☐ Light dethatch or rake lawn areas
______ square feet
Providing the area or a map of the lawn areas included in the contract is ideal.

☐ Clean debris from beds
______ square feet

☐ Edge beds
______ linear feet
Hand Edging vs. Machine Edging
Hand edging uses more labor and can be more expensive. While machine edging may create a ditch and could change how water moves during rain events. Be clear if hand edging is preferred.

☐ Power sweep roads to remove winter debris
_____ parking lot square feet

The type of winter treatment used can effect the price of the spring sweeping.
Brine is the best option if your site is not located by a regulated wetland.
Both Brine and Treated Salt have the lowest clean up costs.
Sand/Salt Mix is a popular option because it is less expensive that treating salt. And works better than straight sand.
Sand has not melting capacity and only adds traction.

☐ Remove related debris off site

☐ Blow down all surfaces

Mulch Install:

☐ Remove excess mulch from previous year
It is possible to have too much of a good thing. Mulch layers over 3 inches can limit water penetration to plant root systems or promote root diseases by limiting air exchange. Removal is not usually part of a landscape contract. We often line item this request as removal is not needed every year.

☐Color of Mulch
We offer the following colors.
Enhanced Red Hemlock Mulch
Enhanced Brown Mulch
Enhanced Black Mulch
Price may very significantly according to which type of mulch the contractor uses.
Not all bark mulches are created equal. Ask for a samples if you are unsure.

☐ Volume of mulch: _______ cubic yards
Volume = area of beds * depth of mulch. Recommended depth is approximately 2”.
If you are not sure how much your site needs, ask the proposing contractors to include
their estimated volume in the proposal. The volume of mulch that a contractor calculates
may vary. Knowing each contractor’s estimation allows for a more informed cost comparison.

☐ Bed Weed Preventer
Bed weed preventer is a granular herbicide that prevents seed from germinating. It will not prevent perennial weeds with established root systems from re-emerging. Weed preventer applied during
mulch install can cut labor costs under the weekly maintenance heading. Some contractors will not agree to weed beds as part of the contract without weed prevention early in the season. New beds may need an application in the late summer in addition to the application in the spring.

Weekly Maintenance:


The mowing schedule is determined by the species of grass and adjusted to coincide with seasonal growth rates to maintain a consistent, healthy appearance.

☐ Number of visits ____
Often bid specifications read form April 1st snow permitting until October 31st.   In Massachusetts the number of weekly visits per growing season between 22 and 28 visits.

☐ Prior to mowing, patroll for trash and other debris.

☐ Area of weekly mowing ______ sq. ft.

☐ Include a map of property with highlighted service areas

☐ Weed whack or stick edge sidewalks, fence lines, bed edges or other landscape features

☐ Blow down walks and roadways of mowing debris

☐ Dispose of all related debris off site
Some contractor may try to dump debris onsite in a wild area. We don’t recommend this practice.

☐ List any site specifics
As the property or maintenance manager you are the site expert.  Share information about the site you have learned based on past experiences. Look for a contractor that wants to work with you as a team. 

Lawn Health Care / Fertilizer Program:


☐ All walks should be swept free of fertilizer after application

☐ Round One (Early Spring): Weed Preventer w/ Fertilizer
Timing is dependent on soil temperature.

☐ Round Two (Late Spring): Weed preventer / Crabgrass Control w/ Fertilizer
Timing is dependent on when soil temperature is warm enough for grassy weed germination.

☐ Round Three (Midsummer): Fertilizer Only
As a cost saving measure step three is sometimes skipped.

☐ White Grub Preventer
Timing is dependent on beetle activity. Sometime this insecticide in applied with Round Three.

☐ Step Four Late Summer: Fertilizer Only
We do not recommend use of weed preventer or crab grass control in Round 4.

☐ Aeration and Overseed
This service creates thick grass cover with a strong root system.

☐ Round Five (Fall): Fertilizer Only

☐ Maintenance or Corrective Lime Applications
Soil testing determines the rate of lime applied. Adjusting the pH with lime allows
for better nutrient availability.

p>☐ Soil Test for Turf Areas
Some Board of Trustees choose to skip soil testing as a cost saving measure. For best results any new contract should include a soil test. A standard soil test determines whether a property needs a maintenance or corrective lime application.

☐ Contractor’s applicator must possess and maintain an active certified Pest Control License issued by the state of Massachusetts.

Shrub Trim / Prune:

Choose type of service
☐ Tight Shearing / Formal Style
☐ Hand Pruning / Naturalistic

At Garrick-Santo plants included in the shrub trim are less than 10’ tall. Plants larger than 10’ are considered trees. Our service includes either mechanical or hand shearing, with winter damage removal. This service does not cover structural, reduction or specialty pruning.

Roses, Rhododendrons and other common species often do not react well to annual or twice annual shearing. Each species has different requirements. Inquire about our specialty pruning services for more information.

These services differentiate a good contractor from a great contractor. Look for a contractor that employs horticulturists who are familiar with each species that lives on your site. Ask that they supervise the shrub trim / prune.


☐ Spring Start Up
Turn on water line and open back flow; Check back flow for damage;
Program controllers;
Pressurize all lines, run test cycle and inspection irrigation system
Adjust heads to ensure best coverage
Report to property manager needed repairs with pricing

☐ Winterization
Close down controller and main water line
Open back flow and all zone valves
Blow out all lines, heads and backflow out with air.

The following information allows the landscape contractor to calculate how much time they will need to work on the irrigation system. This information is integral to managing system properly.
Number of controllers / clocks ______________
Number of zones per controller ______________
Number of back flow preventers ______________

Fall Clean Up:

☐ One Time Fall Clean Up

☐ Multiple Visit Fall Clean Up

The number of visits your site requires depends on the tree coverage and the tree species on and surrounding the site. For instance, Cherries have small leaves that drop early and oaks have large leaves that drop late. If you only have one of these species one visit may do. But if there are both you will need at least two. Some properties need up to 4 visits. If there are mostly oak trees on site cleanup may go into December.

Garrick-Santo Landscape Co.

Have you sent us your Request for Proposal?

Garrick-Santo Landscape Co.

(781) 322-0006
110 Eames Street Wilmington, MA 01887
160 Eastern Ave, Malden, MA, 02148

Proudly serving North Suburban Boston, North Shore, Merrimack Valley, Metro West since 1981


This includes the following cities & towns: Amesbury, Andover, Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Beverly, Burlington, Cambridge, Charlestown, Chelmsford, Chelsea, Danvers, Essex, Everett, Gloucester, Lexington, Lowell, Lynn, Lynnfield, Malden, Marblehead, Medford, Melrose, Newburyport, North Reading, Peabody, Reading, Revere, Rockport, Salem, Saugus, Somerville, Stoneham, Tewksbury, Wakefield, Waltham, Wilmington, Winchester, Woburn.