Low-Maintenance, Eco-Friendly Landscaping Options for Commercial Buildings & Rental Properties
Owners and managers of commercial buildings, condominium complexes and rental properties know that the exterior appeal of their properties can be nearly as important as the interior offerings when it comes to appealing to potential tenants.
Green belts that separate the property from neighboring lots and clean walkways lined with attractive ground covers are just some of the important aspects of curb appeal that entice renters and prospective buyers to want to learn more about the property.
Of course, lush landscaping and perfectly manicured grounds can come at a high cost to the property owner if water usage and maintenance requirements are not considered.
Fortunately, it is entirely possible to have attractive, inviting grounds that are easy to care for and cost less to maintain by choosing low-maintenance, eco-friendly commercial landscape design.
Why Choose Low-Maintenance Commercial Landscaping?
To many people, this may seem like a silly question, since low-maintenance landscaping just makes sense for rental properties, condominium complexes and commercial buildings.
But just look around at the multitude of buildings with landscape that requires a team of professionals to weed, mow, prune, rake, water and fertilize on a weekly, or almost daily basis, to see that far too many choose high-maintenance landscaping that requires ridiculous amounts of time and money to maintain.
At the very least, many commercial property owners and managers seem to think they must make a choice between luxury and low maintenance.
This is absolutely false.
It is actually quite easy to achieve a high-end look that is low maintenance and cost effective, but it is easy to understand why some would not realize this.
Commercial landscape contractors are often accustomed to working with big budgets and companies that want their properties to stand out from their neighbors.
Others are used to working with property management firms that want the most immediate bang for their buck, often requesting a paradise to be created within a very small budget.
In either case, most contractors are used to working with conventional options, such as natural grass lawns and the typical fare of colorful flowers, exotic plants that add to a lush look and fast-growing trees that will mature quickly.
Those who work with high-end clients may have the benefit of companies that appreciate the value of paving stones, but these same companies often overlook low-maintenance options, like artificial turf, in their efforts to create a verdant oasis for their renters or condo owners.
Those who generally work with clients with tighter budgets are often forced to make the most of lower-end options, such as conventional concrete slabs or filling flowerbeds with inexpensive annuals that are colorful but must be replaced each year.
Commercial property owners, condo homeowner associations and property management companies can save money and reduce the maintenance requirements of their property’s grounds by choosing to install low-maintenance options.
Considering that conventional grass lawns are at the top of the list for residential water usage, it is easy to see how reducing natural lawn space will immediately begin to show a reduction in water usage charges each month.
Once you also remove the costs of weekly mowing, weeding, aerating, fertilizing and applying pesticides, you can see how making this one change can significantly cut property maintenance expenses.
Maintenance costs can be reduced even further by opting for plants, shrubs and trees that require less water, pruning and overall care.
All commercial property owners can see significant savings in grounds maintenance by choosing low-maintenance landscaping options, but rental property owners who do their own yard maintenance will also appreciate the significant reduction in the time required to keep their properties looking spectacular.
Why Choose Eco-Friendly Commercial Landscaping?
Many low-maintenance landscaping options are also eco friendly, particularly when it comes to water usage.
But whether or not minimal maintenance is part of your landscaping goal, choosing eco-friendly landscaping is an option that is quickly growing in popularity.
Some companies are turning to eco options because of the money-saving benefits that can come from choosing ground covers and plants that require little water and minimal care.
Others choose environmentally responsible landscaping because of their commitment to lowering their environmental impact or their desire to attract business owners, renters or homebuyers who are interested in living a more earth-friendly life.
With the growing movement towards greener living, the appeal of eco-friendly buildings and low-water landscapes is becoming a more important factor for property managers and building owners to consider.
Owners and managers wishing to increase their property’s appeal to potential buyers and renters might also consider that property maintenance costs will be lower with low-maintenance, eco-friendly landscape options.
This means that they can then charge their residents lower monthly maintenance costs or homeowners association fees, due to the reduced overhead of the property.
If your condo community is offering lower monthly fees for beautifully landscaped grounds or your commercial property is renting at a lower rate than other commercial spaces in the area due to your reduced costs, this is sure to catch the attention of potential residents.
Using less water, fewer pesticides and less maintenance overall is a great reason to choose eco landscape as a money-saving, environmentally responsible option.
The increased appeal to potential renters makes this choice even easier to make.
Low-Maintenance, Eco-Friendly Commercial Landscaping Options
If low-maintenance grounds keeping that conserves water and requires fewer chemical pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides is the right choice for your commercial property, here are 10 options for you to consider to help you save money and reduce the time it takes to maintain your properties.
1. Commercial properties in dry regions, such as Southern California, often make use of water features to create a relaxing, refreshing landscape that is inviting to visitors.
Waterfalls and fountains are common choices, but both of these options can be serious water wasters if measures are not taken to minimize water usage.
One of the most important steps in reducing water wasted by water features is choosing a fountain or other water feature that recycles the water used.
With the growing popularity of water features with water recycling systems, it is now easy to find a wide variety of appealing designs.
2. Design your landscape in zones to group together features with similar water requirements.
This will help you make sure that your plants, grasses and trees are being watered appropriately without water being wasted on landscape features with lower water needs.
3. If you have existing landscape with an irrigation system, request an audit from the local water provider.
Water companies will often perform this service for a nominal fee or at no charge and will test your installed system to determine if repairs are needed and to make suggestions regarding improvements you can do to reduce water consumption.
4. Look into using gray water for your irrigation needs.
Both residential and commercial properties can benefit from a gray water system that reclaims water used in sinks, showers, bathtubs and laundry rooms to reuse the water for landscape irrigation.
5. Install an automatic irrigation system – like automatic sprinklers – that has a rain sensor.
Set your automatic sprinklers to water early in the day to avoid water loss from evaporation.
The rain sensor will further reduce the amount of water wasted by detecting rain and making sure your sprinklers do not water your grounds when precipitation can do it for you.
Make sure that there are no ground covers, rocks or bushes blocking your sprinkler heads and affecting water distribution.
6. Install a sprinkler system controller that will automatically adjust the watering schedule as the seasons change.
If you do not want to make the additional investment to add this controller to your sprinkler system, you can also ask your landscape team to manually adjust the watering schedule for your system every other month.
7. Consider using artificial turf instead of natural grass.
If you are in the design stages, you may want to consider using synthetic grass in your landscape design.
If you already have a natural lawn on your commercial property, you may want to consider replacing it with fake grass.
Synthetic turf is a fantastic alternative to conventional grass and is a low-maintenance, water-saving option.
With artificial turf, you will never again pay a team of landscapers to water, weed, fertilize, mow, aerate and edge grass areas on a regular basis.
You will no longer need to use the chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides required with natural grass, and you will never again worry about the brown spots that appear from residents with dogs who relieve themselves on your property.
Synthetic grass provides the same green, lush look and soft, comfortable feel you want from a lawn, but with minimal maintenance requirements and no regular watering.
8. If your commercial property has flowerbeds, borders with flowers or plants, a container garden or individually planted bushes and trees, install a low-volume drip irrigation system that will water your landscape more efficiently by delivering water straight to the roots of your plants and shrubs.
9. Choose drought-resistant plants and shrubs to save water and time.
Opting for native plants, ornamental grasses, trees and shrubs is a simple way to conserve water and reduce grounds maintenance.
As you might expect, plants that are native to the area and have adapted to thrive there require less water, less pruning, fewer soil additives and less overall care.
Far too many people think that opting for native plant species inevitably means settling for a boring, unappealing landscape design.
If you are concerned about this, search online or find local places to tour where you can see some of the vibrant, beautiful xeriscape designs that create an enticing oasis that is low maintenance and drought resistant.
10. Cover bare patches of soil with ground covers that require no water.
It might be tempting to plant a ground cover that will grow into a lovely green carpet or bloom with tiny flowers, but you can avoid bare dirt and create a beautiful landscape with ground cover options that require no water at all.
By choosing gravel, bark, mulch or wood chips, you can cover patches of bare earth with beautifying materials, while also reducing erosion and weed growth.
If you use several inches of a natural ground cover, such as mulch, around shrubs and plants, it will also help the soil retain moisture to allow for less water usage.
Low-Maintenance, Eco-Friendly Commercial Landscape Design: Hardscapes
The fewer plants you have, the less water, pesticides and herbicides you will need to use.
However, it is difficult to make your grounds look appealing if you skimp on plants and leave bare patches of dirt or concrete in an effort to save water and decrease your environmental impact.
We have already talked about using ground covers that do not require water and artificial grass to create appealing spaces that need little to no water to look their best.
You can take this a step farther by installing incredible hardscape features that will become focal points for your overall design.
This might include paving stone walkways in intricate designs, large patios made from pavers, stone walls and borders, or community areas with barbecues and outdoor seating for residents to enjoy.
These functional spaces crafted with paving stone floors can be swept free of dirt and debris to save even more water.
Eco-Friendly, Low-Maintenance Commercial Landscaping: Final Thoughts
Whether you work with a professional landscape designer with experience in environmentally friendly design or plan to create your own water-saving, low-maintenance grounds, it does not take any more effort or time to install commercial landscape that is better for the planet and your pocketbook.
Plus, when you choose landscape that requires less maintenance and water, the savings you can experience over the years are significant.
You do not have to sacrifice a luxury look in order to save money on water and maintenance costs, particularly when you choose appealing options like native plants, artificial grass, paving stones and ornamental grasses.
This allows you to enjoy the cost-saving benefits of low-maintenance, low-water landscape, while your tenants can enjoy community spaces or grounds that are inviting and visually pleasing.