By A.J. Dilenno
With businesses beginning to ramp up services or planning to reopen, now may be a great time to examine your building’s landscapes to see where improvement or maintenance may be required. Landscape care and maintenance are often overlooked for the benefits that contribute to the overall health and well-being of customers, tenants, and the public. There are many reasons to make landscaping part of your priorities this summer. Well-maintained landscapes provide more than just curb appeal; they prevent serious facilities issues from occurring while also making facilities more sustainable. Here are four reasons why investing in your landscape is worth the time and attention.
1. An Investment in the Environment
One major benefit of well-maintained landscaping is sustainability. Global climate change has made environmental awareness a byword for commercial property development, but launching green initiatives can be costly. Investing in landscaping is one thing you can do to make sustainability more affordable.
For example, planting shade trees like maples and oaks keeps the temperature down during those hot summer months, diminishing the need to run air conditioning. The reduced energy consumption isn’t just good for the environment; it can save your business a lot of money as well. Curbing your property’s carbon footprint can also enhance your business’s brand by demonstrating environmental awareness and reducing the costs you pass on to your customers.
Choosing the right soil is another sustainable measure that can make a big difference to operating budgets. Soils with certain types of microbes lower expenses by minimizing reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Microbes also increase the overall longevity of your soil and keep plants healthy, which further reduces long-term maintenance costs.
2. A Natural Pest Defense
Along with climbing temperatures, summer is the season of bugs, and landscaping is one of the best forms of natural pest control available. While some plants are prone to pests, other plantings, certain soils, and the right layouts can dramatically decrease pest infestations. Once you have the ideal design, make sure you keep your walkways and beds well-maintained as leaves and other decaying plant matter can attract harmful insects. You also want to monitor trees and other plants for signs of insect damage to prevent more serious infestations.
Regular care for your landscaping prevents pests from damaging trees or killing young plants while organic mulch controls weeds, retains moisture, and reduces overall water consumption. Of course, vibrant, healthy plants also enhance the beauty of your property and attract customers to your business, so investing in the right landscaping upfront increases revenue in the long run.
Water is vital to keeping plants healthy, but it can create safety issues if your property doesn’t have proper drainage. Standing water can attract bugs and cause accidents, so your landscaping design should include an effective runoff system to prevent water buildup from storms and automated sprinklers. Because standing water can also kill your plants, establishing a good drainage system is another important step in protecting your investment.
3. Lighting and Layouts for Safety
In addition to preventing infestations and standing water, having the proper layout, well-lit pathways, and clear signage can direct street traffic and pedestrian flow. Lighting at night will further reduce slips and falls, cut down on crime, and help your customers feel safe. Good lighting also accents design elements and serves as a focal point for landscaping features.
Landscaping has other safety benefits as well. Properly designed landscaping creates firebreaks by providing alternative water sources and plenty of green plants that are less likely to burn if a fire does break out. Including open, green spaces can also improve access for emergency vehicles by providing drivable areas.
4. It’s About Curb Appeal Too
While landscaping offers some potentially life-saving benefits, don’t underestimate the importance of curb appeal. Planting shade trees and flower beds and including a few well-placed benches creates inviting places for customers to relax and enjoy their visit. A well-maintained property also boosts employee morale and fosters a sense of pride in your business. Other plantings control sound pollution from busy streets and freeways, while seasonal plantings provide a festive look during the holidays. By contrast, a poorly maintained property can make a bad impression on potential customers and drive away business.
If you’re looking to increase the visual impact of your property, now is a great time to spruce up your landscaping. With the lifting of shelter-in-place orders, many businesses are preparing to reopen, but customers want reassurance that their favorite stores and restaurants are safe places to shop and eat. At the same time, the public is ready to get out and visit their favorite spots. Investing in landscaping is one way you can restore a sense of normalcy and encourage customers to return to your business.
When evaluating landscaping, facility managers should inspect property for standing water, look for any dead or wilting plants, clear beds and walkways of leaves and debris, and make sure all plantings have the right amount of sunlight. Hiring a qualified landscaping company can alleviate much of the labor involved in caring for your property. If you are looking for a landscaping vendor, consider hiring a facility management company that can consolidate billing and services, negotiate prices with other vendors, and provide robust customer service.
With today’s economic uncertainty, businesses are more mindful than ever about cutting costs and saving money. However, investing in landscaping increases the economic viability, safety and curb appeal of your property. With the right choice of plantings, a good design, and the proper care, landscaping provides essential benefits that any business can appreciate.
Dilenno is senior director of procurement at RWS Facility Services. He is responsible for managing over 5,000 vendor partners throughout North America, delivering on-time facility services through the RWS One Call, One Team approach. Dilenno has more than 10 years of experience in the facility management industry.
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