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Frost-free festivities

Samantha Fry of UK-wide grounds and winter maintenance specialist Ground Control, offers some essential tips for maintaining outdoor facilities, including car parks and external spaces, to keep things running smoothly over the winter festive season

The festive season may bring a well-earned break for many businesses. However, for FMs working in the retail industry or front-line services, this time of year may be more demanding, with cold, icy weather conditions, high volumes of traffic, and service users rushing at the last minute.

It is essential to ensure that your facilities’ car parks, grounds, and outside spaces are well-prepared to withstand the challenges of the cold months. Maintenance during this season is crucial, not only to keep your property looking its best, but also to ensure the safety, functionality, and accessibility of outdoor areas for employees, customers, and guests.


Identify areas that may require special attention during the winter months including:

  • Problematic drainage areas that may lead to ice build up.
  • Overhanging branches that might pose a risk of falling due to heavy snow or ice.
  • Cracks or damage in pathways and pavements that could become safety hazards.


Trimming and pruning your trees and shrubs is essential before a period of extreme weather sets in. Remove dead or weak branches to prevent them from breaking under the weight of snow or ice, potentially causing damage to your property. Proper pruning also encourages healthy growth in the spring. Trim overhanging branches to prevent them from accumulating heavy snow and potentially damaging vehicles or structures. Additionally, clear leaves and debris from drainage systems to prevent blockages.


Your grass may not grow much during the winter, but it still needs some care to ensure it’s healthy when spring arrives. A few steps to take include:

  • Mowing your lawn one final time at a lower setting to prevent snow mould.
  • Raking up fallen leaves and debris to prevent suffocation of the grass.
  • Aeration to improve soil drainage and encourage root growth.


If you want to maintain an attractive appearance during the winter months, consider adding evergreen plants, winter flowers, and seasonal decorations to your outdoor spaces. These touches can enhance the beauty of your grounds and help brighten up a dull January.


Snow and ice are common challenges this time of year. Clearing it from walkways, driveways, and parking areas is essential for access to your car park and facilities. Here are some tips for effective snow and ice management:

  • Stock up on de-icing materials such as rock salt or calcium chloride.
  • Invest in snow removal equipment like snow blowers, shovels, and ploughs.
  • Create a snow clearance plan, including designated areas for piling snow.
  • Prioritise high-traffic areas and emergency exits for immediate clearing.
  • Keep walkways and entrances to employees and visitors clear and safe.
  • Invest in services from a reliable gritting company to proactively spread salt on walkways and parking areas to melt ice and improve traction.
  • Invest in reliable snow ploughing service to clear parking bays and driveways promptly. Regular ploughing prevents the build up of snow, reducing the risk of accidents.
  • Ensure that your site has grit bins that are well-stocked throughout the season.


The days are shorter during the winter, and proper lighting is crucial for ensuring safety in your car park and facilities. Make sure all exterior lights, including car park and walkway lighting are in good working condition. Consider upgrading poor performing lighting to efficient LEDs with daylight detection and motion sensors.

About Sarah OBeirne

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