How to Design a Better Dining Space for your Restaurant

Designing a restaurant from space is a truly exciting endeavor. If you’re a small business owner, you have the opportunity to create a space that reflects your personal taste and the ambiance you want to create for your customers. In some ways, it is an extension of your life and personality, which is why it’s crucial to get the design right from the beginning.

Your dining area is arguably the most important space to design, as it creates the customer experience. Your dining space design should:

  • Facilitate your workflow
  • Create an inviting atmosphere that reflects your marketing plan
  • Be spacious enough to allow for easy foot traffic while maximizing space to fill capacity

If you want to create the best atmosphere for both customers and staff, follow these four tips for designing your dining area:

Choose décor wisely.

People will choose your restaurant over others in the area not only because of the food you serve but because of the atmosphere you create that they can identify with. A speakeasy has a very different customer base than a sports bar and grill, and the décor you choose will play a big part in who feels “at home” in your space versus who feels out of place.

Avoid bad seating areas. 

Space near the doors, kitchen and bathrooms are typically considered bad seats in a restaurant because they are noisier and have temperature fluctuations that other seating areas do not. You can utilize this space for other things instead of seating, such as a waiting area or server stations to ensure everyone in the house has a great place to dine.

Balance comfort with capacity. 

While it may be tempting to fit as much seating into your restaurant as possible, this creates an uncomfortable experience for your patrons. Instead of trying to accommodate everyone, make an effort to create a comfortable experience for the customers you have by spacing out tables far enough that you can’t hear the conversation from one to the next.

Invest in outdoor space

Almost every restaurant can benefit from having outdoor seating, whether that is for dining, the bar, or simply outdoor waiting areas when you’re over capacity. Outdoor seating provides a beautiful ambiance on a nice day, and opens opportunities for you to add live music or private events within your space.

MaintenX can help you configure your dining space with renovations and preventative care services to ensure your business is always running smoothly. For more tips and information on restaurant design and maintenance, visit our Resource Center.

How To Fix Patchy Grass

Patchy grass is more than just an eyesore at your commercial facility. It can make a poor first impression on customers, as they may think that you don’t take pride in your business’s appearance. Patchy grass can also detract from other beautiful landscaping you have, as it can make a beautiful front entrance with flowers look dull.

Patchy grass can happen for a number of reasons, which is why it’s important to diagnose the problem first before looking for solutions. However, if you know the cause of your dry landscaping, you can try one of these four options to fix it:

Check for plumbing leaks.

Grass that is “too green” may be a sign of plumbing issues under the surface. If your pipes are leaking, they may be providing water and nutrients into the soil that can lead to unusually vibrant patches of grass amidst other areas that are dead and dry. If you fix the leaks, you can fix the patchiness of the grass and begin working on soil health where it’s needed.

Add sidewalks and pathways.

Patchy grass may occur of too much foot traffic is causing the grass to become trampled in some areas. By adding a sidewalk, pathway, or simple stepping stones, you can direct foot traffic and prevent people from walking over your nicely manicured lawn.

Reduce the number of shade trees or add landscaping around them.

If you have too many shade trees on the lawn, you may notice that the grass is not as heavily concentrated in these areas. You can change this by either trimming or cutting down the trees, or by adding shade-tolerant landscaping around the trees to detract from the patchy grass. As growing trees is a lengthy process, we always recommend alternative landscaping to preserve the trees as much as possible on the property.

Spray for weeds and pests.

It’s no surprise that weeds and pest infestations can kill grass quickly. However, you need to be careful with the type of herbicides and insecticides you use, as they can kill the other landscaping you have. Use an organic spray, if possible, or look for alternatives like picking the weeds manually as this can minimize disruptions to other plant life.

MaintenX can help you maintain a beautiful exterior with our variety of exterior maintenance and repair services. To learn more about options in your city, contact your local MaintenX team today!

How To Keep Your Grass Green in The Summertime

In Florida, where MaintenX is headquartered, many of our clients struggle to keep grass green in the hottest summer months. This can also be true for those throughout the Southern United States, where high temperatures and sporadic rainfall can make grass either dry out or drown rather than thrive. It can be difficult even at home, let alone at your business where you don’t have the time to put in the yard work on your own.

While it’s best to hire a landscaping company to manage the grass for your facility, if you are a small business there are many ways you can improve the look of your grass without a professional. Below are just a few ways we help our clients keep a green lawn all year long:

Let it grow out.

One of the biggest mistakes property owners make is cutting the grass too short when they mow it. While it may look nice and clean-cut immediately after mowing, you’re likely tearing the grass out at its root in many areas. This will lead to patches of dead grass across the lawn in a few days. If you raise your mower blades by just a few inches you can help maintain healthier grass.

Install a sprinkler system.

In Florida, we experience sporadic downpours followed by days of intense heat and humidity in the summertime. If you want to avoid the drowning/dry-out cycle for your grass, install a sprinkler system to ensure your grass is watered every day. We recommend opting for a manual one to ensure you’re not overwatering on rainy days.

Water in the morning.

If you water our grass in the morning, the water is less likely to evaporate in the heat and can sink down into the soil where it needs to be. The earlier you can water, the better. In areas of intense summer heat, we recommend as early as sunrise to ensure the water soaks in and can provide for your grass all day.

Aerate the grass.

As people walk over your grass and the elements solidify the soil, it becomes more difficult for oxygen to penetrate the ground and reach the roots. Aeration is the process of loosening up the soil so that oxygen can reach the roots and provide a healthier environment for your plants. Aeration every few weeks or months can help maintain a healthy environment and doesn’t take any special equipment other than a garden rake.

MaintenX can help you with landscaping and exterior maintenance services throughout the summer. If you’re interested in what we have to offer in your area, contact your local MaintenX team today!

Modern Building Design Trends in 2022

The primary objective of any company is to stand out from the competition. Whether you’re a Silicon Valley tech firm or a mom-and-pop shop from down the road, you want to take every competitive advantage you can to make yourself seen. You can do so with innovative products or a stellar marketing campaign, but one area you cannot neglect is your storefront design.

An inviting storefront is especially important for retail and restaurant spaces, but it can be utilized as a marketing advantage for any business. A modern building design will make your business memorable and may attract attention solely for the look of the building before customers know what’s inside.

Bring your branding outside.

Most businesses will have signage outside their storefront and near the road, but you can do even more to transform your architecture into a branding moment. By associating your business with the unique architectural elements such as the pillars, front entrance, or building colors, you can set yourself apart as a local attraction that locals will recognize and remember.

Try unique textures.

Most commercial buildings have a simple concrete exterior, but you can make your building more modern by adding panels with a woodgrain or stucco texture. This adds visual interest and can make your building look more modern and unique from every other building on the block.

Use railing to your advantage.

Railing is a common addition to commercial buildings to separate outdoor areas or front entrances from the street. These symmetrical lines can add to the visual appeal, especially if matched to other vertical or horizontal lines utilized in the building design. They can also help a building look taller or more spacious if the outdoor area is closed off.

Pops of color.

Many business owners are afraid of bright colors, but this can actually help your business by making it stand out. Murals or a solid bright color like green or red can help your building become a local landmark. This will subconsciously drive in traffic to your storefront with the simple change of the exterior. Murals can also serve the same purpose and will add beautiful public art to your local community at no cost to residents.

MaintenX can help you make your building stand out with exterior renovations of any kind. If you’re interested in modernizing your commercial facility, contact your local MaintenX team for more information.

Tips for Adding Hardscape To Your Commercial Grounds

Many building owners don’t consider their exterior to be nearly as important as their interior design. However, at MaintenX we believe that first impressions truly start before a customer ever walks through the door. By investing in proper landscaping, you can make your commercial facility stand out from the crowd. This is especially important if you own a dealership or restaurant with outdoor seating, where the outdoor environment is an integral part of the customer experience. 


By adding hardscape to your landscaping design, you can instantly up your curb appeal. While hardscape is a major investment, it can reap incredible benefits. Here’s what you should know about hardscaping before you decide to put it into your outdoor design:

What is Hardscape? 

Hardscape includes the entire built environment outdoors, ranging from simple decorative stones to paver paths and elaborate courtyards. Hardscape can add aesthetic and financial value to your facility in many ways: 


  • Adds visual interest to your landscaping
  • Improves vegetation health (preventing erosion, pests, and other disturbances)
  • Gazebos and pergolas provide shade to employees or customers walking outdoors
  • Can improve the look and functionality of an outdoor showroom
  • Can improve your facility’s functionality for outdoor events and fundraisers

Rules for Hardscape Design

Adding hardscape to your commercial landscape is highly advised, but you should think about layout and design before beginning the project. Below are our top three tips to ensure your hardscape designs adds value rather than detracts from your facility’s aesthetic appeal: 


Match materials

Your hardscape materials don’t all have to match each other, but they should create a cohesive look with your building. For example, if your building is made of grey concrete, a stone pathway would look better than red brick for your entrance. However, if your building incorporates brick, you should try your best to match it in either color or material when building gazebos and walkways. 


Add curved lines over straight lines

Straight lines and right angles can make your hardscape look unnatural against the green background. In nature, most walkways will curve along water lines or streams, so it’s best to mimic this in your design of pathways. Straight paths will work at entrances and along property borders, but otherwise, it’s best to stick with winding trails when creating a courtyard path. 


Plan for drainage

Proper drainage ensures your hardscape won’t flood, and that your live plants and foliage won’t be deprived of rainwater due to the added hardscape. This should be at the forefront of your mind when designing a hardscape layout. Ask your MaintenX contractor about shaping your built environment for the benefit of your plants before starting. 


If you want to learn more about landscaping options for commercial buildings, contact us today!

Preparing for Fall Landscaping

Autumn is almost here, which means it’s time to start thinking about your fall landscaping. In the summertime, most of the work is put into maintaining beautiful flower blooms and keeping the grass well-watered. However, as the blooms start to wane and the colors change, you’ll need to invest more in cleaning up your lawn and preparing for spring. Below are four tips to help get you started with fall landscaping for commercial facilities: 


Prune cautiously. 

Autumn is often an ideal time to prune your plants to allow new growth in the spring. However, some plants won’t survive the winter if they are pruned too much. Talk to your landscaper to ensure that shrubs and trees are properly pruned for growth in the spring. 


Provide mulch for your plants. 

Most landscaping in the fall requires the raking of leaves to ensure the lawn looks clean and tidy. However, we often forget that the fallen leaves serve as insulation and fertilizer for plants naturally. Without them, the roots of your trees and surrounding foliage need insulation and fertilization to survive through the winter. Mulch serves as a good fertilizer and insulator for plants in the winter and can look neater than fallen leaves. 


Plant new trees and shrubs. 

Smaller perennial plants such as flowers and ornamental grass are typically not planted in fall because they won’t last through the winter. However, trees and shrubs can often thrive in the fall. Take advantage of your landscaper’s open schedule and plant new trees and shrubs during this time. 


Add grass seed. 

Oftentimes, landscaping will go brown in the fall. You can take advantage of this dormant period to plant grass seed and ensure a vibrant green lawn in the spring. You can even re-sod your lawn during this time to correct brown patches and take advantage of cheaper rates during the slow season. 


These simple tips can help you maintain a healthy landscape and set you up for a beautiful spring. To learn more about outdoor maintenance for commercial buildings, contact your local MaintenX today!

Sustainable Landscaping For Your Business

One of the best ways facilities in 2021 can invest in sustainability is through their landscape design. Just like the rest of your building, it matters what you choose to invest in that will last for the future. As facilities make the switch to energy- and resource-efficient systems for their buildings, they should do the same for their exterior landscaping and hardscape installations. 


Sustainable landscaping is ideal, but not many facility managers know how to achieve it. If you are interested in building a more sustainable outdoor space for your building, here are some tips to help you get started: 


Shade trees

Shade trees are a tremendous asset to your sustainable landscape. Though they may take several years to grow, they can provide shade for your building that will reduce indoor cooling costs. Plus, they can take up a great deal of space and will thrive with little maintenance once successfully planted. By adding shade trees close to the building (without increasing risk of building damage if one falls down) you can create a more energy-efficient building with very little effort. 


Drought-resistant plants

Traditional landscaping typically uses grass to cover large spaces of land with decorative plants centered at focal points for visual appeal. However, grass requires a lot of water to survive and is typically more difficult to maintain than other drought-resistant options. The goal of sustainable landscaping is to reduce resource consumption, so talk to your landscaper about drought-resistant plants and other coverage options to reduce the need for landscape irrigation. 


Pollinating plants

Flowers are a staple in most retail landscaping and outdoor showrooms, but they do much more than add aesthetic appeal to your building. When you add flowering plants such as milkweed and other native flowers, you provide nourishment for the surrounding environment and a place for native butterflies and bees to pollinate. This low-effort addition to your landscape serves a practical function and will stimulate long-term plant growth on your property. 


Stone hardscape 

When choosing hardscape, it’s important to identify options that are eco-friendly and will last. Typically, we recommend stone for sustainable landscaping because it will last as long as vinyl or metal but does not require the intensive manufacturing process of these materials. While wood hardscape is sustainable in its manufacturing, it will not last as long as stone. 

Sustainable landscaping will make your building and your business better for the future. To learn more about sustainable design in commercial facilities, visit our resource center.

Back To School Maintenance Tips For Commercial Groundskeeping

Hopefully, right now you’re enjoying a long summer break after a tumultuous COVID-19 school semester. However, just because students are home, that doesn’t mean you can completely forget about campus. Commercial groundskeeping is especially important during the summer, as you can accomplish a lot more while students are away. Below are four tasks you should schedule during the summer before class is back in session: 


Trim back trees

Tree overgrowth can cause major issues for your campus. The moss that grows on it will litter your landscaping, and if a tree branch were to fall, it could cause damage to your or your students’ property. Trimming trees during the summer keeps your students safe and won’t disrupt class times with the loud buzz of a chain saw. 


Remove weeds from plant beds

Weeding is a time-intensive part of the landscaping process. However, it gives you the opportunity to replace dying plants and replant fresh flowers for fall. By weeding and replanting during the summer, you can greet students in the fall semester with a greener campus. Summer is also a time when the grass is likely to die and sprout more weeds, so it’s important to not let the overgrowth get out of control. 


Repair fencing 

If you are overseeing a campus for younger children, repairing your fences is critical for safety. Kids can get hurt on fencing that is splintered or cracked. If the fencing is damaged, it may also allow unwanted animals inside the campus, such as stray pets or wildlife. It’s critical to repair any imperfections in your fencing prior to the first day of school in order to keep kids safe from the outside world and ensure they can’t get outside the campus. 


Repair sidewalks and walkways 

Walkways are one of the most important outdoor elements of any school campus. They help move foot traffic and help newcomers find their classrooms with ease. It is critical to maintain these walkways to ensure your students have the best campus experience possible. This may seem like only a practical issue, but it is also an aesthetic one. However, if your sidewalks have cracks and weeds growing in them, your campus will automatically look tired and unimpressive. By scheduling concrete repairs in the summer, your campus will have a fresh look that welcomes students to their new year. 


Campus maintenance can be tricky, which is why MaintenX is here to help. To learn more about our groundskeeping and repair services, contact us today!

Child and Pet-Friendly Landscaping Tips For Commercial Facilities

Child care and pet care facilities require special attention when it comes to their regular maintenance and landscaping services. Unlike other commercial facilities where primarily adults are present, these facilities must take extra safety precautions to ensure that customers can feel safe leaving their loved ones in your care. Whether you’re running a daycare, a pet boarding facility, a school campus, or an after-school activity for kids, the environment you create is as important as your faculty and staff. 


If you are running a child care or pet care facility, we recommend following these landscaping tips to keep everyone safe: 


Minimize use of pesticides

Both kids and pets are put at risk when you use pesticides in your landscaping. If a pet or child eats something off the ground that has been freshly sprayed with pesticides, it can cause any number of ailments from a mild stomach ache to poisoning. Instead, we recommend using pest-deterring plants in your garden or minimizing your landscaping near buildings to reduce the need for pesticides on your property. 


Install fencing to protect kids and pets from the streets

Sturdy fencing is a must if your commercial facility has a play area for pets or children. This keeps them out of streets or areas of your facility where they may get injured. While chain link is the most popular option, some fencing contractors recommend wood or vinyl for pets to deter them from digging underneath. Talk to your MaintenX contractor to determine what type of fencing will work best for your facility. 


Provide plenty of shade

Shade in play areas is important for both children and pets. It allows them to take a break from the summer heat well before they start showing signs of exhaustion. By planting shade trees or installing pergolas strategically throughout your play area, you can make a more enjoyable space for your kids and pets. 


Avoid toxic plants 

Some plants are not safe for pet care facilities as they may be toxic to dogs or cats. Some of the more common species include sago palms, tulips, lilies, and azaleas. The ASPCA has a comprehensive list of potentially hazardous plants for cats and dogs you can use before beginning your summer landscaping. 


Your pet care or child care facility will be safer for summer if you follow these tips. To learn more about the maintenance safety for child and pet care, contact your local MaintenX team! We specialize in these types of facilities and can help you create a safer environment for everyone. 

Choosing Low-Maintenance Flowers for Your Commercial Landscaping

Summer is in full swing, which means that it’s time to start thinking about your landscaping. Customers and tenants will be spending more time outside, which means you’ll want your outdoor premises to look their best. However, landscaping upkeep is no easy task in the summer. If you want a low-maintenance landscape for your commercial building this summer, here’s what we recommend: 


Peonies – These durable plants will handle six or more hours of sun every day, making them ideal for summer planting. Plus, peonies smell wonderful when they bloom which instantly enhances the storefront. Peonies come in a range of colors and will grow in most states in the U.S. use them in flower beds with some afternoon shade and you’ll be delighted with what these flowers can do. 


Daylilies – Daylilies are very popular perennials because of their drought tolerance and ability to grow in both light shade and full sun. Despite being such a hardy and versatile plant, the delicate blooms on these flowers are absolutely stunning.  With a wide range of colors to choose from, you can use daylilies for all types of landscaping. 


Carex – Carex is not a flower, but a popular decorative grass that will grow in most landscaping conditions. It is non-invasive to most areas and is therefore easy to contain in smaller areas. There are many different color and size options for carex, so ask your MaintenX landscaping team for varieties that best suit your facility. 


Begonias – Begonias are a beautiful flower species that are often found in prized personal gardens as well as commercial landscaping. These delicate blooms can handle shade or sun and grow well in containers or in the ground. For a stunning burst of color in your commercial landscaping, begonias are a great choice. 


Coneflowers – Coneflowers are another colorful addition to your commercial storefront or garden space. These hardy flowers will survive from early spring until the first frosts and can handle the full sun well. Plus, coneflowers attract pollinators which will improve the health of your flowers overall. 


Feather Reed Grass – Feather reed grass is another popular ornamental grass that can grow up to six feet tall in the right conditions. It is drought and sun-tolerant and remains upright no matter how tall it gets. However, you can easily trim back this grass for smaller garden beds. 


By incorporating some of these low-maintenance plants into your commercial landscaping, you can instantly improve your curb appeal without increasing your landscaping budget. To learn more about summer landscaping for commercial facilities, contact your local MaintenX team today for tips!