What to Consider When Choosing Your Commercial Landscape Design
Landscaping may not be on the forefront of your vision or planning. It is one aspect that is often not thought of when planning a commercial construction project. Most owners like you, are focused on creating a space that will increase productivity and one that fits into your budget. However, landscaping is a critical part of any development project. It is required by local ordinance, can be a significant part of the budget and will require annual maintenance.
The following are a few reasons why Landscaping is required:
- Contributes aesthetics
- Increases development quality, stability of property values
- Promotes public health and welfare
- Preserves quality mature trees
- Minimizes negative impacts of stormwater runoff
A few things to consider when evaluating your landscape plan are: Location, species, including annuals and perennials, natives and non-natives, soils and maintenance.
Several considerations need to be taken into account when designing a landscaping plan, including location of overhead and underground utilities. Certain species of landscaping grow tall, others grow wide or may have deep root structures. Evergreen trees are often used to provide landscaping buffers, but are sometimes planted too close together that they overcrowd an area and compete for limited water and then do not survive as a result. Be sure to ask your landscape architect or contractor about species, sizes and locations prior to approving a landscape plan.
There are many different species of trees, shrubs, and perennials. Not all species are suitable for certain geographic areas. The United States and Canada are divided into 11 hardiness zones based on the average annual minimum temperature. Southeast Michigan is considered zone 5. Evaluation of a plants suitability in your particular zone is critical to the plants survival and to protecting your investment.
Native and Non-Native Plants
Plants native to a geographic area are most likely suitable for the extreme temperature fluctuations and drought conditions in an area. Native plants typically have deeper root structures to maintain access to water in drought conditions in the summer and tolerate freezing temperatures in the winter. Non-native plants can also thrive in landscaping designs, but you may want to consider the tolerance of certain species of plants to avoid having to over water and replace because of low survival rates.
Soils vary from property to property. In one location there may be sandy soils that evergreen trees will thrive in, while in other locations the soils are clay and evergreen trees can struggle to survive. Soil amendments can be done to provide more suitable soils for landscaping or infiltration, however soil amendments are an additional cost. Soils should be evaluated when determining where to place buildings, storm water facilities and landscaping.
When designing a landscape plan maintenance can sometimes be overlooked because it is not a required item of information on a landscape plan. Once the landscaping is installed there are watering needs, irrigation systems that require maintenance, weeding, fertilizing, mulching, trimming, mowing and potential plant replacement. Reducing areas that require weekly mowing and watering can reduce costs, although the increased cost of weeding, mulching and trimming must be considered as well.
Every government entity has different requirements, so be sure to work with your consultant to develop a landscape plan suitable to your unique needs.