When it comes to keeping the office or facility environment feeling pristine and looking sparkling, the mind jumps quickly to some obvious places. Are the floors clean and free of mud, dirt and debris? Are the carpets smelling fresh? Are the lighting fixtures polished and bright?  

An inviting and clean interior, though, doesn't just make an impression when visitors walk through the front doors. In fact, the perception of a facilities overall cleanliness starts as soon as drivers pull into the parking lot. With that in mind, there are a handful of easy and effective exterior maintenance measures that facility managers can take in order to make a positive impact from the parking lot inwards.  

1. Landscaping/Grounds Upkeep: With the onset of warmer weather, landscaping concerns will gradually reveal themselves. Watch for early signs of invasive weeds and plants that start to poke through grass berms, mulched areas and even cracks in the sidewalks or parking lot pavement. Addressing these troublesome spots early will make proper eradication much easier.  

Mulch, shrubs, trees and flowers also present an opportunity to make an aesthetic impression on visitors. Should these start to look unruly or grow in undesirable ways, it's a quick blemish on the look and feel of facility exteriors. Make sure branches are trimmed, flowers are watered and shrubs are well-shaped. Mulch can even be re-colored in order to look brighter and fresher, lending a cared-for feeling to the landscaping with minimal upkeep. When trimming branches and tree stumps, make sure to pick up loose debris and seal off exposed wood with a sealing agent to prevent disease from penetrating into and eventually killing the tree itself.  

2. Pest Management: Interior pest problems almost always have an exterior origin. There are many factors that can draw unwanted critters to a facility exterior, starting with the aforementioned landscaping.  

Trees or shrubs that grow berries or fruit may draw any number of pests looking for a snack. Flowers, as they bloom and reach their colorful potential, may also attract aerial threats — dodging wasps and hornets makes for a harried entrance into any building, and there's always the chance they make it through the front doors for an uninvited appearance.  

Depending on the types of wildlife that have decided to make their home in or near various trees or shrubs, there's the reality that they leave their mark in somewhat less-friendly ways, making for an annoying sidewalk cleanup. Should droppings get tracked into the inside carpets or matting, the task becomes even more unenviable.  

Meanwhile, if ants, termites and roaches can flourish outside the building, they’ll certainly find their way inside, too.  

Competing pests can be even more of an intrusive, obnoxious concern. As geese return from their seasonal migrations, for example, they may become territorial and fight over that pond outside the facility. The parking lot often becomes a showdown alley for these battles, and the loud, honking, swooping creatures are often surprisingly frightening.  

Animals such as stray cats, as well, may eventually produce a litter of stray kittens, and that invites other neighborhood predators to stop by, making the facility a sort of battle royale in the food chain. 

3. Smoker's Urns: Even a lightly-trafficked facility needs to offer smokers a welcoming place to indulge. Doing so serves the double purpose of providing a specific, targeted space to smoke, while being mindful of the inevitable trash and debris created by smokers. Placing smoker's urns in areas that are slightly out of the way for incoming visitors allows for easy disposal of butts and ash stampings, preventing walkers from tracking debris into the entrance area.  

Also, be mindful of HVAC intake areas when placing smoker's urns. Inviting smokers to areas that are near vents or intake areas may wear out air filters faster, or worse, draw the smell of smoke into the building. Air quality plays a significant factor when it comes to the perception of clean and healthy environments. The dirty, heavy-feeling air created by the constant presence of cigarette smoke can drag down facility perception before visitors even step foot inside the building.  

The design of smoker's urns can even be discrete — many versions can actually enhance the exterior aesthetics of a building or entryway, whether they appear more sculpture-like or allow for more subtle disposal of butts and ash.  

Urns are also a good way to offer visitors more chances to properly dispose of trash and prevent the accumulation of litter. When combined with a recycling initiative, bins can leave a positive impression on visitors, suggesting that a facility is indeed committed to environmental health and climate considerations. 

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Exterior Care Makes Interior Cleaning Easier