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Grounded in Green Care
A Look at Gachina Landscape Management





Gachina Landscape Management has served the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988. The team offers landscape management, irrigation management and water conservation, landscape construction, pest management, seasonal flower design and planting, and plant health care to corporate campuses (such as McCarthy Center, pictured), retail centers, public spaces, homeowner associations and more. In peak season, Gachina employs about 350 people across its four offices.







Gachina emphasizes the importance of communication in getting the job done. Employees utilize nearly 200 radios, cell phones and Blackberrys to operate at maximum efficiency. At McCarthy Center, a commercial office park, four full-time crew members walk the property with the client every other week to make sure everything is maintained to the highest standards. The hedges on the property are kept healthy and uniform in size and shape, and the daylilies are detailed regularly.





Due to high volumes of pedestrian traffic, much of the work at McCarthy Center is done during the early morning hours or on weekends. Areas without plants are continuously mulched to keep them weed-free and to lock in moisture.


Since 1988, Gachina Landscape Management has tended to corporate campuses, retail centers, public spaces and homeowner associations in the San Francisco Bay Area. The corporate office is located in Menlo Park, Calif., and there are satellite offices in Fremont, San Jose, and Sand City. LC/DBM chose to feature this company due to their widespread success in the industry and the scale of the maintenance projects submitted to us. Gachina has been recognized as one of the healthiest employers in the Bay Area three times, and has made the list (#33) of the top 100 local places to work.

Achieving Success
Gachina Landscape Management is a privately held, growing organization, which strives to achieve the highest level of customer and employee satisfaction through establishing standards of performance, following through on commitments, and open communication. The workplace culture provides an environment that supports personal and professional growth and opportunity. The company's stated top values are loyalty, pride, commitment, integrity, respect and fun.

They credit their success and strength to the diversity of the team members, who represent a variety of cultures from three continents and 10 countries. All team members are valued for their contributions, and opportunity for advancement is widespread: approximately half of the account management team has risen through crew positions.

The company encourages employees to develop themselves beyond just on-the-job training. Employees are reimbursed for expenses related to tuition and books at local colleges and school districts. Employees without high school diplomas are encouraged to complete their GED requirements. While Gachina stresses that employees have the responsibility to develop themselves, the company provides the necessary support and guidance along the way.




Gachina Landscape Management has served the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988. The team offers landscape management, irrigation management and water conservation, landscape construction, pest management, seasonal flower design and planting, and plant health care to corporate campuses (such as McCarthy Center, pictured), retail centers, public spaces, homeowner associations and more. In peak season, Gachina employs about 350 people across its four offices.





Gachina Landscape Management has served the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988. The team offers landscape management, irrigation management and water conservation, landscape construction, pest management, seasonal flower design and planting, and plant health care to corporate campuses (such as McCarthy Center, pictured), retail centers, public spaces, homeowner associations and more. In peak season, Gachina employs about 350 people across its four offices.





Gachina Landscape Management has served the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988. The team offers landscape management, irrigation management and water conservation, landscape construction, pest management, seasonal flower design and planting, and plant health care to corporate campuses (such as McCarthy Center, pictured), retail centers, public spaces, homeowner associations and more. In peak season, Gachina employs about 350 people across its four offices.


Gachina firmly believes in giving back to the community, and has been involved in multiple service programs for more than 20 years. Employees volunteer their time for nonprofit renovation projects, and participate in yearly team walks for breast cancer. The company sponsors scholarships and local nonprofit organizations, and donates money, materials, time and equipment to local and national nonprofits.

Practices Lead the Way
Gachina offers many landscape services, including, first and foremost, landscape management. In recent years, landscape management has evolved from "gardening" to a technical, scientific discipline involving pest management, proper fertilization techniques, irrigation system maintenance and programming, color rotation, tree pruning and more. Gachina provides plant healthcare programs and scheduled maintenance to enhance the long-term beauty of a property. Along with management services, Gachina's landscape construction division offers site analysis, designs and installation. When it gets complex, landscape architects, engineers and other professionals are consulted. Careful planning and design allow room for proper recommendations and selection of soil, turf, plants, trees and irrigation systems to fit the project.

Irrigation management and water conservation are huge concerns for any California landscaper. Gachina offers evaluation and analysis of existing irrigation systems no matter how old or new, automation of manual systems, trouble-shooting, and installation of new systems. Gachina's irrigation technicians design, build, convert and install state of the art automatic watering systems with the aim of lowering water waste and reducing overall maintenance costs.

Gachina offers integrated pest management as well, minimizing the use of chemicals to control landscape health problems including insects, disease, fungi and weeds. The company has a pest control operator's license and has a pest control advisor on staff.

Finally, Gachina's professionals have experience in designing seasonal color landscapes, planted to achieve maximum impact during the season, and plant health care services to test, evaluate and diagnose plant and soil conditions. Multi-year budgets are available.

To ensure professionalism at the job sites, Gachina, in partnership with outside consulting firm Landscape Training Solutions, has a training program that seeks to improve employee's horticultural knowledge and job skills while providing opportunity for recognition and advancement within both the company and the industry. In addition to this, Gachina offers a comprehensive Quest for Excellence training program.

The Quest for Excellence includes: off-site leadership training for all managers in outstanding customer service; leadership skills for all managers in quality, quantity and timeliness of delegation, motivation and discipline with dignity; operations management development program for high potential employees; branch management coaching to teach managers how to work with different personality types of co-workers and customers; turf management for crew leaders including fertilization, irrigation, water management, pest and disease management, mowing and weed control; crew leader accountability; tailgate training and safety topics in the form of 30 minute hands-on job-site training; and industry training and certification, including but not limited to those offered by the California Landscape Contractors Association, Irrigation Association, and National Association of Landscape Professionals.

Of course, safety is a priority, and Gachina has made sure that their safety program is compliant with SB 198, the California Injury and Illness Prevention Program. Their efforts include weekly safety meetings, review of claims, follow-ups on all accidents, and a safety incentive program.




Gachina has maintained the Seven Springs Homeowners Association since 2004. Even before the drought-enacted water restrictions, the association wanted to reduce water use and save money on their water bills. To accomplish this, the four-man crew removed acres of turf and installed drought tolerant plant material such as sage, desert bird of paradise, and dwarf heavenly bamboo. The irrigation technician for Seven Springs installed weather based irrigation controllers, improved system designs of water zones, converted spray heads to drip, and installed matched precipitation, low mist nozzles where possible. In 2014, the association's water use was down by more than 1.6 million gallons, even accounting for the pond and fountains.


Memberships, Licenses and Awards
Over the past 27 years, Gachina Landscape Management has paid its dues, literally. The company is a member of the CLCA, NALP, Building Owners and Managers Association, Executive Council of Homeowners, California Apartment Association, California Association of Community Managers, Community Associations Institute, and Monterey Commercial Property Owners Association. The company is also a founding patron of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the International Facility Managers Association.

The company has a California contractor's license as well as a license from the state Department of Pesticide Regulations. Employees often hold one or more license as Master Water Auditors, CLCA Certified Water Managers, CLIA Irrigation Auditors, Bay-Friendly Qualified Landscapers, Bay Area Storm Water Certified, Certified Green Gardeners, Certified Recycled Water Site Supervisors, Qualified Water Efficient Landscapers, and Certified Landscape Technicians and Professionals through NALP.

All the hard work and certification has paid off for Gachina. At the 42nd annual CLCA San Francisco Bay Area Beautification Awards, honors including Landscape Management Sweepstakes for best-maintained commercial property (331 Fairchild, Mountain View), two first place awards (McCarthy Center, Milpitas, and the Hilton, Santa Clara), and one achievement award (Arques Building, Sunnyvale). Their success is attributed in part to effective communication - Gachina employees operate almost 200 cell phones, Blackberrys and radios. Also, any plants installed are guaranteed as long as they maintain the site, and customers are always given the benefit of the doubt.

Gachina owns all their own equipment, including Redmax blowers; Stihl chainsaws; Shindawa edgers, weed eaters and hedge trimmers; Exmark 36 mowers and Lazer mowers; Wright mowers; Honda mowers; John Deere tractors and golf carts; and assorted equipment from Bobcat and Toro.

McCarthy Center
The first place award winning McCarthy Center, is a Class A commercial office park located in Milpitas, Calif. Every week, the client and Gachina professionals walk the property to make sure it is looking its best at all times. The heavy volume of pedestrian traffic makes this a challenge, and much of the work has to be done in the early mornings or on the weekends.

Hedges on the property are kept formally hedged - uniform in size and shape, and healthy. The daylilies require continuous detailing. Areas without any plant materials are kept mulched in order to prevent weeds and lock in moisture. The turf is maintained in good, uniform color with no stress, no weeds, and excellent detail.

Irrigation is included in the contract, and Gachina has a full-time irrigation technician who does repairs every week. The commercial office park has about 700 irrigation valves and 19 smart controllers on site. Maintenance of more than 2,000 trees on site is also included in the contract. The biggest challenge by far is dealing with the olive tree fruiting, which is treated every year.




The Stonebrae Homeowners Association has provided challenges for Gachina's full-time three-man crew to maintain. Steep slopes, poor soil fertility and wildlife have caused problems with maintenance, but the team has always been up to the task. The steep slopes make irrigation difficult, though the team has adapted by monitoring soil moisture and controlling runoff. To compensate for the lack of nutrients in the rocky soil, fertilizer is applied thoroughly and regularly. The community is surrounded by a natural animal habitat, so deer, gophers and snakes often make their way into the landscaped areas. The team combats this by using deer repellent, protecting tree trunks with plastic tubes, and keeping an eye out for hidden snakes and gophers.





In partnership with outside consulting firm Landscape Training Solutions, Gachina offers a comprehensive training program for all team members. The Quest for Excellence training program provides technical skills training as well as supervisory skills training, including topics such as leadership skills, turf management for crew leaders, and bi-weekly safety topics. Of course, safety is a priority, and Gachina has a full injury and illness prevention program. Highlights of the program include weekly safety meetings, diligent review of all claims, personal follow-ups on all accidents by the field hiring manager, and a safety incentive program.





Stonebrae Homeowners Association's marketing department requested that fescue areas be kept green in order to make the houses more appealing. With water restrictions from the drought, this has been a challenge for Gachina. Replacing some of the turf areas with equally as vibrant drought-tolerant plants, such as deer grass, Spanish lavender and rosemary, has kept the marketing department happy while meeting the mandatory water cutbacks. Gachina guarantees any plants installed by them as long as they maintain the site.


Seven Springs Homeowners Association
Built in 1983, Seven Springs HOA is a sprawling, 30-acre, 408-home community located in Cupertino, Calif. Gachina has maintained this community since 2004. Even prior to the drought, the association wanted to save money on their water bills. Gachina and Seven Springs partnered to conserve water and save the association money. They performed extensive landscape enhancement and irrigation retrofits at the property in 2010, and continue to do so to this day.

Gachina removed acres of water-loving turf and installed drought tolerant plant material. They updated the irrigation system by installing weather based irrigation controllers, improving system design of water zones, converting spray heads to drip and installing matched precipitation, low mist nozzles where applicable. The HOA invested $150,000 to perform these improvements and saw a return of investment of 3 years. Gachina helped Seven Springs obtain rebates available from their local water district.

The association continues to save money with outstanding water management practices. Last year alone, the association's water usage was down 1,690,954 gallons - truly a win-win partnership.

Stonebrae Community
Stonebrae is a high-end residential community located in the Hayward Hills, across the Bay from San Francisco. Gachina maintains the common areas only (front of homes excluded). The community is broken down into Village "A," built 11 years ago, and Village "B," built 4 years ago. Both are visited by residents, potential residents and thousands of visitors that come to play golf, participate in golf tournaments and attend weddings throughout the year.

Stonebrae provides several challenges for the experts at Gachina. The community was engineered with poor soil fertility, especially at Village A. The rocky soil makes it difficult for plants to successfully grow, so the team has to apply soluble fertilizer and granulate formulation regularly to compensate. Plants with more severe chlorotic signs receive an iron chelate treatment. Natural water springs underneath the soil surface causes water to stay on tree root balls. Many transplanted oak trees have to be monitored weekly for irrigation and disease control. The soil is probed for moisture, and the crew checks for any signs of pests. Fungus is a common problem.

Because the community is located on a hilltop, much of the plant material is on steep slopes, making irrigation challenging and causing runoff problems. To combat this, the Gachina team monitors the irrigation to make sure the sprinkler heads at the bottom of the slope water less than the ones at the top. Wind and fog affects the plants as well - trees have a tendency to topple down on windy days. Trees in the windiest areas are re-staked, and an arborist monitors the tree conditions on a quarterly basis.

Fescue areas are a challenge in water-restricted times. The community's marketing department wants as much green as possible, but drought restrictions limit the plant material selection. Water is conserved by keeping the distribution lines in good condition and monitoring weekly meter readings.

A natural animal habitat area surrounds Stonebrae, causing problems with deer and gophers eating and burrowing the landscape. The occasional snake hides inside the irrigation valves as well. Deer repellent minimizes the damage, as does protecting tree trunks with plastic tubing. Crews are instructed to be careful when opening valve boxes in case a snake has made the box its home.

As a final accolade, Gachina's Menlo Park campus was recently certified as a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Read about the Gachina Farm at http://landscapeonline.com/research/article.php/20657.







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