If you have a commercial building, landscaping it attractively can have a powerful impact on business. A well-maintained landscape speaks to your customers about the quality of your business. If any of your business consists of walk-in traffic, making your landscape attractive can boost revenue, attracting more customers. Commercial landscaping projects can have a big impact on the environment, too. Incorporating sustainable practices, materials, and planning can help reduce water usage and carbon emissions.
Plantings should be durable, easy to care for and look attractive in all seasons. The foundation for many commercial landscape plantings are evergreen shrubs, such as mugo pine and arbor vitae. Such plantings require minimum care, and don't normally need watering, making it cost-effective to maintain them. Labor costs for trimming and pruning are kept low, and water use is minimized. Building owners can accent these bushes with a few easy-care seasonal flowering bushes, such as Rose of Sharon, and some easy to grow annuals—impatiens and petunias are among the most popular for office buildings. Perennials, though requiring more maintenance work, can be cost-effective in the long run, since they only need to be purchased once every few years. Daylilies—durable and low-growing—are most often seen in commercial landscapes. For high visual impact, a single area can be planted with exotic and more high-maintenance plants, usually at the front of the building, or facing a busy road. Cannas, hostas, hydrangeas, and other high-impact, attractive flowers and foliage are perfect for such visual focus areas.
Entrances should be wide, handicap-accessible, easy to clear in winter and made from high-quality sustainable materials, if possible. Although a simple poured concrete pathway is common and can be attractive, using more unusual materials can add distinction and benefit the environment without adding too much cost. Porous pavement, for instance, can reduce the impact of fertilizers on waterways, while repurposed brick can create a traditional look and promote recycling.
Hardscaping, such as retaining walls, can provide a visual backbone to a landscape. Selecting materials that work well with the architectural style of the commercial building is important. For instance, simple concrete blocks work well with modern buildings; while natural stones enhance the appearance of more traditional architecture.
Accents and Furniture
Seating areas, and decorative features such as fountains make a commercial structure more welcoming. They can also improve employee productivity and morale. Like hardscaping materials, the design for decorative features and outdoor seating should match the style of the structure. Wrought iron seating looks attractive with a 19th century building, while plain wooden benches work well with all styles of building. Seating should also address the uses of outdoor furniture. Tables are needed if the area is for employee lunches, while benches are best for a rest spot for pedestrians visiting a shopping area.
- Photo Credit office building image by mrslevite from Fotolia.com
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