You want a landscape design that’s sustainable, easy to manage, and budget-friendly. But your tenants don’t care about that. They want to live, work, and shop in buildings with beautiful, inviting outdoor spaces.
Fortunately, with careful planning, you can make everybody happy.
From your tenants’ perspective, your landscape design has a significant influence on how satisfied they are living and doing business in your building(s). People take pride in places they call their own. They want to get excited about inviting friends and family over, and they want to feel comfortable hosting a prospective customer in their place of business.
The key to optimal landscape design for large properties or areas with multiple units is to foster a sense of intimacy and cohesiveness. When you create a consistent ‘look and feel’ to your property, you meet a subliminal need for familiarity that people unknowingly seek as they go about their busy lives.
5 Strategic Landscape Design Areas to Think About
Ideally, your landscape designer has created a sense of place, flow, and alignment with your property’s surrounding environment, all without looking ‘forced’ or overdone. Not easy to do, but when you understand how a landscape designer thinks, you can evaluate your own property and figure out whether or not your designer has hit the mark.
Here are the five key landscape design strategies you’ll want to be on the lookout for:
- Theme. When choosing plantings and hardscapes, take the surrounding area into consideration. Is your building in a wooded area? A more natural setting would be a good fit, with shade-loving plants, redbuds, and dogwoods. Is your property located in the middle of a bustling city block? An Asian theme might be more suitable, with smaller trees and shrubs, a pachysandra ground cover, and intimate spaces for people to gather. Your tenants will be more inclined to enjoy a landscape that complements – as opposed to clashing with – the surrounding environment.
- Color. How do you want people to feel when they enter your property? Relaxed and mellow? (Think pastels.) Fired-up and ready-for-anything? (Try reds, oranges, and yellows.) To a large degree, the season will dictate your choices, but keep in mind that you are sending out a new ?vibe? each time you refresh your plantings. If you choose an English-garden style – a mix of flower colors, types, and heights – you might be tapping into a feeling of nostalgia. A massive show of solid colors says Look at me, which can be a good thing for attracting new tenants to your buildings. Leasing to a large organization that does serious business? Tone down the color and stick to a selection of hearty green-leafed plants and ornamental trees.
- Repeats. Too many textures, colors, and plant varieties can create fatigue. If someone wanders from one end of the property to another, you want them to experience a sense of ease and familiarity. Rather than install an overabundance of varying specimens, choose a core set of plants and arrange them differently in multiple locations throughout the property. It’s okay to have more than one basic group of plant-types, but use garden shape, color balancing, and outdoor structures to create variety, rather than a whole new look for each nook and cranny.
- Segmenting. Tap into the natural topography of your property to create intimate spaces. A small hill, a brook, a cluster of trees – nature has already created a palette for you to work with. Use it! Then, by adding fences, gazebos, arbors, trellises, and pergolas, you can offer your tenants places to gather – and places to get away. Segmenting your property with defined spaces for people to recreate (or meditate) encourages people to spend time outdoors, and endears them to the places they’ve chosen to work and live.
- Layers. Layering is essential for creating interest and – movement – around a building or apartment complex. A strategically layered landscape is a critical – yet subtle – part of a well-orchestrated master plan. Most people sense the lack when layering is not done properly; something feels amiss. Medium-size conifers flanked by billowy shrubs ending in a bed of impatiens creates a ‘wave’ that piques interest – and sooths. Tiers of plants – from low to high – can draw the eye to a focal point, or a bench can invite a stressed-out employee, a frazzled young mother, or a weary shopper to sit for a moment in your gazebo and rest.
Think about how your property measures up in each of these five areas. Hopefully, your landscaping company has incorporated these strategic effects into your design, with a keen understanding of the impact each decision has on your tenants.
But now that you know what to look for, you be the judge! If you don’t feel your landscaping company has optimized your property in all five areas, challenge them to do so or seek out a new solution. A qualified landscaping company can help you develop a phased approach that accommodates your current installation, the season, and your budget.