After the winter frost, “Civinity” is starting its spring work this week, which will include, as every year, cleaning up the courtyards of apartment buildings. In order to ensure a beautiful and functional home environment for Vilnius residents, vegetation will be cleaned up, warm-season maintenance measures will be provided and lawns will be renewed. Ten apartment blocks will soon have their sites cleaned up.
“Every spring, we go out to inspect the sites, to see how our greenery looks after the winter. Where necessary, we shape the plants, trimming back wisps or hydrangeas that bloomed beautifully in the winter but have already wilted in the spring. Then there’s weeding, soil loosening and fertilising, mulching, and sometimes pruning or replanting dead plants. We also maintain the grass – removing autumn leaves, picking up debris from after the snow, sweeping up sand,” says Liudmila Dementenko, an environmental maintenance expert at “Civinity”.
Thoughtful selection of vegetation
To ensure that residents of apartment buildings can enjoy colourful and aesthetically pleasing vegetation in their backyards, “Civinity” experienced professionals specialise in environmental landscaping.
“There are about ten people in one team who know their job very well. Vilnius Old Town is home to heritage buildings, so it is particularly important to be responsible about what can and cannot be planted there. In addition, there is no particularly large areas of greenery. For example, in the courtyard on Bokšto Street, the main plant is a dwarf pine tree. Some of the other areas we look after have only flowerbeds. Here, in mid-May, we plant annual plants every year, taking into account their colourfulness and flowering time, so that when one plant finishes flowering, another one will start,” says the expert on the subtleties of urban landscaping.
According to L. Dementenko, the “Civinity” team is always ready to help its clients, as well as to respond to urgent requests for help that sometimes come alongside their regular work:
“Sometimes we are asked for help by companies filming projects in the Old Town. In such cases, we have to make decisions within a couple of days on how to plant the area, buy the plants and plant them.
We are also approached by community leaders or residents themselves asking to borrow tools to clean up their yards themselves. We provide the necessary tools free of charge and take away the raked leaves”.
It is important to take care of the lawn
Another of the first tasks to be carried out during the spring inspection is to check the sprinkling systems, which are an important part of a smart home. During the winter, disconnected systems are prepared for the new season, ensuring that lawns and vegetation are regularly irrigated.
“As Vilnius is a green city, almost every apartment block we maintain has a green lawn. Challenges include the fact that not all lawns are flat and uniform, and some buildings are placed on slopes, requiring appropriate equipment and extra organisation. Other lawns are located particularly close to parking areas, so we organise the removal of vehicles by informing residents in advance,” says Justinas Laurinavičius, head of “Pastatų meistrai” (Buildings masters) at “Civinity”.
According to J. Laurinavičius – the frequency of grass cutting depends on the site, and is carried out according to annual schedules. “If a resident wants to know when the lawn will be mowed in the premises of his building, he can get all the information from our call centre,” the manager assures.
Extra attention to terraces
“Civinity” environmental maintenance team not only looks after the courtyards, but also the communal terraces, which are particularly popular with apartment dwellers and are built on the upper floors. In such spaces, a chain of thuja trees, rather than a fence, is used, for example, to separate the space from its neighbours and to brighten up the environment. However, the manager points out, it is particularly important to maintain trees on terraces.
“Architects are keen to design green partitions and we are also encouraging them; even ornamental birch trees are being planted in pots these days. However, every tree is prone to shed leaves during the cold season, which, if not dealt with in time, can clog the gutters on the terraces, thus flooding the entire roof. Therefore, not only the trees need to be taken care of periodically, but also the stormwater systems themselves need to be cleaned”, says J. Laurinavičius.
According to J. Laurinavičius, during the annual inventory-taking, the team assesses not only the condition of the plants, but also the condition of the whole courtyard, in order to ensure a more pleasant environment for the residents:
“For example, parking spaces sometimes bear grease marks, which we use a special process to clean. In general, we try to spot any defects before our clients do – we have specific tools to help us prevent problems before they become noticed and/or serious. For example, if a company employee goes to change a pipe and sees a collapsed swing or a broken tree in the yard, they take a picture and upload it to our system using the app.”