Reef Tropical Pool & Landscape

Virtuosity in Pool & Landscape Service: Fostering Long-Term Strategies

Jun 1, 2021 8:24:28 PM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Pool & Spa Maintenance, Pool & Spa Construction, Landscape Maintenance, Hiring a Pro, south Florida

As defined in gymnastics, virtuosity is "performing the common uncommonly well." My fitness coach taught me to apply this in training by focusing on the fundamentals above sophisticated movements, i.e., air squats vs. squat cleans. Candidly, I can use this mindset in everything I do, i.e. safely driving my car vs. leading a company. Likewise, in the pool & landscape industry, our field service teams must perform the essential things well because our service quality is on stage. Moreover, our customers readily recognize the basic stuff and our company efficacy is at risk if we do not learn how to perform the fundamentals exceptionally well and consistently.

So why are there still green pools and brown grass? The basic reoccurring requirements of our trade remain which can often lead to burnout and counter-productive behaviors, including negative compliance, work avoidance, unwarranted absenteeism, and failure to follow safety regulations. How is it possible for our management teams to maintain their joy and emotional health while addressing identical customer complaints? What does virtuosity look like in the work environment, and how can we apply this in our leadership? How can we instill values to do the basic things exceptionally well and onboard virtuosity? This article will begin to answer some of these questions and discuss ways to build a service-minded culture.

If you survey our customers, you will find that we are still far from perpetually sustaining quality in service delivery. Therefore, I am no expert in this conversation, and we are growing and learning just like others in the industry. Yet, based on numerous organizational interventions over the past years, our customers have experienced a renewed energy and passion for improving and addressing their needs. These changes have allowed the right customers to join us on the mission and professionally acknowledge our continual task completion duties under adverse and monotonous circumstances. Nevertheless, I'm profoundly aware that we will fail in our mission without a clear and sustainable purpose for executing these basic tasks "uncommonly well." So here are some things we do:

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Building People through Essential Business – A Family Story about Legacy

Aug 27, 2020 8:47:15 PM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Pool & Spa Construction, Landscape Maintenance, Hiring a Pro

This story is dedicated to my daughter Harper who just entered the maintenance phase of her cancer journey after nine consecutive months of fighting. I love you Harper and I pray that one day you will read this story and it will help you through challenging times in your career. 

By writing this in the first person, my biases and personal experiences will shape the content of the story. Yet, just as our service minded team brings their authentic selves to pools and landscapes in South Florida each day, I want to bring a transparent and relatable story about family life and business at Reef Tropical to readers and followers. Maybe the story may move people towards action and shape beliefs, but primarily, it is a story of ethical and empowering leadership within a dynamic and competitive work environment.

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The 10 Best Smelling Plants in South Florida

Apr 16, 2018 10:13:00 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Landscape Maintenance, Tree and Shrub Care, Landscape Design

Plants can offer more than good looks and curb appeal—and flowers are more than eye candy for your South Florida property when you choose aromatic plants that smell great. You can literally enhance the sensory experience of your outdoor living space by selecting plants with fragrant blooms, leaves or bark. There is the subtle yet true cinnamon scent from the peeling bark of the aptly named Cinnamon Bark tree—and the floral perfume aroma from gardenia. Great smelling plants and trees add another layer of interest to your landscape that you can’t see, but you can experience.

So, what are some of the best smelling plants in South Florida to enhance your landscape? Here are 10 you can include in your landscape.

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The 5 Best Shade Trees For South Florida

Dec 21, 2017 4:50:00 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Landscape Maintenance, Tree and Shrub Care

Shade trees provide reprieve from the South Florida sun—they cool down your landscape and make outdoor spaces more enjoyable, even during the hottest times of day. Not to mention, shade trees are beautiful specimens! They introduce character, texture and color to the landscape year-round.

We’re fortunate in South Florida to have a variety of shade trees that thrive in our acidic soils. You’ll find a range of flowering trees with showy, vibrant color—and plenty of non-flowering shade trees that offer other fine qualities: textured bark, eye-catching foliage and interesting branches.

Since we already shared the top 10 flowering trees, let’s get to know the best shade trees for South Florida. It’s time to think beyond the classic palm tree and consider some of these picks, several of which are natives.

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Now Is The Time To Add Landscape Enhancements To Your South Florida Property

Dec 8, 2017 11:18:27 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Landscape Maintenance, Landscaping

Now is the time when snowbirds are planning their escape—they’re preparing for warmer days, balmy evenings by the pool, and plenty of time outdoors in the Florida sun. South Florida property owners who winter here want to make the most of their experience during the season.

Landscape enhancements that are performed now roll out the welcome mat. That includes putting down fresh mulch, replacing plants that have weathered damage, cleaning up the landscape (leaves, debris), and popping fresh flowers into beds. Not to mention, South Florida got hit hard in early fall with tropical storms, so some properties might require more attention than usual to prepare the landscape for time in South Florida this winter.

Not sure where to begin? Here are some practical landscape enhancements for your South Florida property that will get your grounds in shape so you can relax and enjoy your outdoor paradise. (We recommend doing these landscape enhancements now so you can enjoy them while you’re here!)

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After The Storm: Disaster Clean-Up After Hurricane Irma Destroys the Landscape & Pool

Sep 15, 2017 3:07:08 PM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Pool & Spa Maintenance, Landscape Maintenance

Mother nature gave us a stern reminder of who’s really in charge when the catastrophic Category 4 Hurricane Irma hit land, devastating South Florida properties.

Many who have lived or visited The Keys for decades say this was the worst storm they experienced in their lifetime. Ninety percent of homes suffered some type of damage, according to a report issued by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA). Irma destroyed 25% of houses in the Florida Keys, with 65% of homes weathering significant damage.

Now that the winds have died down and flood waters are settling, we face an overwhelming hurricane cleanup task that demands assistance from qualified, experienced professionals who can be on call around the clock.

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How To Protect Your Pool and Landscape During Hurricane Season

Aug 29, 2017 7:03:00 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Pool & Spa Maintenance, Landscape Maintenance, Tree and Shrub Care

The Florida Keys are a sought-after destination for tourists and property owners who own vacation homes in South Florida and appreciate the area’s stunningly beautiful environment. The beaches, the oceanfront homes, the luxury living and tropical climate make The Keys a true paradise. But nature isn’t perfect—hurricanes are a reality here, and you want to protect your pool and landscape from damage.

With hurricane-force winds, coconuts from your amazing palm tree become missiles and flying patio furniture can break through windows. Pools without proper overflows installed can flood.

The good news: You can prevent further property damage and protect your landscape and your pool during hurricane season by taking some precautions.

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The Best Flowering Trees for South Florida

Jun 13, 2017 10:21:20 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Landscape Maintenance, Landscaping, Tree and Shrub Care, Landscape Design

Vibrant blooms are a focal point in the landscape, and there are a range of flowering trees that thrive in South Florida and introduce color, texture and shape to your property.

Which flowering tree is best for your property? That depends. Are you looking for a specific color of flower to complement existing plants or to establish a theme? Do you need a flowering tree that is salt-tolerant because your property weathers ocean breezes? Do you prefer a tree that is compact to preserve views from your site—or, do you want to establish a natural screen with a flowering tree that offers coverage?

These are all questions to think about as you consider which flowering trees suit your needs and taste. Here is a list of our favorite 7 flowering trees for South Florida.

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What Is Heavy Pruning and Why Is It Important In South Florida?

Apr 17, 2017 7:05:00 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Landscape Maintenance

The fragrant, beautiful flowering Bougainvillea bush makes a statement in many South Florida landscapes. Vibrant green hedges are a defining feature, and grasses lend a textured, natural feel to properties. The growing never stops in South Florida, so routine landscape maintenance often includes trimming plants to maintain their shape and general size.

But when plants are only lightly pruned throughout the year, you’re essentially removing new growth. By trimming every few weeks, plants’ leaves and flowers never reach their full potential. Instead, you get a “nice looking” flowering plant or “just fine” shrub. We have higher standards for the landscapes we maintain, and annual heavy pruning is important for achieving lush, healthy plants.

We know it seems counterintuitive to prune back up to a foot of growth, even removing most foliage. But the reality is, heavy pruning is much better for plant health and appearance than continuously trimming back.

Here’s why heavy pruning is beneficial for your South Florida landscape if you want your plants to peak perform.

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Gas Powered vs. Electric Leaf Blowers: Which Method Is Best?

Jan 31, 2017 6:05:00 PM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Landscape Maintenance

Noise pollution is a real, viable concern in many South Florida condominium communities, country clubs and neighborhoods. The sound of gas-powered landscape equipment can interfere with guest experience at a resort, or diminish quality of life at home.

One thing many property owners in Monroe County share is a love for their surroundings. It’s the reason they choose to spend time in South Florida at a second home, on vacation or as a full-time resident. As a property manager, that means finding ways to preserve the natural setting and seeking out sustainable options for landscape maintenance.

But let’s fact it: Leaves need to be blown out of landscape beds, and grass clippings should be whisked away from edging and off walkways and driveways to maintain an attractive property. The equipment used for leaf and debris cleanup can be loud if it’s gas-powered. And, cleanup happens during daytime hours when people are out enjoying their properties.

The good news is, there are alternatives to gas-powered blowers—and we’re talking about quiet, battery-powered leaf blowers that can significantly cut down on noise pollution. As a property owner or facilities manager, you should have a choice: gas powered or electric leaf blower?

Here are some facts about gas and electric powered hand-held equipment that landscapers use, along with pros and cons so you can make the best decision for your Florida property.

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