In a way, the implementation of a design is just the beginning of its life and useful­ness. A design should continue to serve the clients for years, assuming that it is properly maintained. Most projects don’t sustain themselves in perfect condition without periodic maintenance and upkeep. The following are some typical mainte­nance tasks:

• Irrigating

• Fertilizing

• Weeding

• Lawn mowing

• Painting and staining

• Replacing old plants or parts of structures

It has often been stated that the maintenance people, whether it be the homeowner or a hired company, are the ultimate designers of a project. This is because their efforts directly affect the size, shape, and health of plant materials; the alignment of bed lines; and the material and color of replaced structural elements, as well as the general appearance and cleanliness of a design over a period of years. Too often, a design dete­riorates because of poor maintenance despite its good initial design qualities and proper implementation. Consequently, it is important (1) that maintenance people be knowledgeable and well trained in all aspects of site upkeep, and (2) that the designer clearly communicate the intentions of the design to the maintenance people. The designer should periodically visit the project to make sure it is being suitably main­tained. If design is conceived of as being an ongoing process that includes mainte­nance, then the project should prove to be successful.