Commercial landscaping is an integral part of a commercial property. It makes the initial impression on prospective tenants-and you know what they say about first impressions and the number of chances you get. As for your current tenants, it helps keeps them happy and content and in place by giving them beautiful surroundings. Finally, well-done commercial landscaping preserves and enhances the overall property value.
Commercial Landscaping: The Design Process
The basic components of a commercial landscape design include:
Design. During the design process, your commercial landscape designers or landscape architects will work to bring together the program elements, your desired aesthetics and all permitting issues. This phase includes landscape layout, plans for plant materials and budget development. In providing design services, a true professional should work creatively, diligently and patiently to help you define the scope of your project, assist in the selection of materials, coordinate vendors, determine the scheduling, and adhere to the approved budget.
Drainage systems. A plan for landscape drainage is essential for commercial properties in the Gulf Coast region due to Houston’s dense soils, low-lying areas and heavy rainfalls. A proper drainage system protects your property from flooding, provides protection for the foundation of building(s), especially from cracking and uneven shrinkage or swelling, and carries water away from roofs, paved areas and landscaping, thereby avoiding standing water where mosquitoes can breed or people can slip and fall. Drainage contractors are particularly valuable in viewing the drainage system as a whole to ensure all the pieces work well together.
Irrigation systems. Another essential feature of commercial landscaping, irrigation systems save money and provide convenience. They supply appropriate amounts of water to the various plants, thus protecting your landscape investment. They perform this function by separating the lawn, flower beds and planters into different zones that require different watering conditions due to the various plant types, weather and sunlight conditions.
Landscape lighting. Since lighting has been proven to deter crime, one of the most important services that landscape lighting delivers is safety. This attribute makes it an invaluable benefit to entities that conduct business at night, such as restaurants, hotels, social clubs, country clubs, museums, colleges and schools. Additionally, as part of the commercial landscaping, a well-designed landscape lighting system gives your property round-the-clock visibility. A third purpose of landscape lighting can be to create an ethereal work of art, proving that beauty can be functional.
Commercial Landscaping: Ongoing Maintenance
As owner or manager of a commercial property, your days are filled with time management issues-meetings, budgets, security, tenants’ needs and demands. Therefore, an important partner for you to add to your team is a commercial landscape maintenance provider who can work efficiently and effectively without continual oversight.
The first order of business for this professional is regular maintenance. Duties include turf care-mowing, edging, fertilizing and treating it for any diseases. Hedges, bushes and ground cover need to be trimmed too so that they conform to the original design’s intent. Trees need looking after: deep-root feeding, aeration that promotes healthy roots, and inspection for disease and insect infestations. All plants need to be fertilized on a regular schedule, especially plants of the tropical, acidic and seasonal color variety. Plants also need systematic observation of and treatment for pests and diseases that are detrimental to overall health.
The addition of seasonal color to commercial landscaping is also important as it maintains an updated image of the property. Your landscaping pro should have an extensive and creative expertise with plant choices, color and texture that will bring your property to life.
Finally, your landscape service partner can handle preventive maintenance. Some items on this checklist include tree inspection (for instance, dead limbs need to be taken down for safety reasons; wounds need to be treated quickly to protect trees, which are valuable assets) and the inspection of the irrigation system. Proper maintenance and regular inspections of the irrigation system will detect such problems as broken lines and heads. Jeff Halper with Exterior Worlds says, “This service is so important for commercial properties. We have saved some of our clients as much as $5,000 to $10,000 per month because we caught problems early.”