commercial landscape architecture - commercial landscaping

Landscape Ideas for Commercial Properties

When it comes to creating landscape architecture for commercial properties, there are many unique considerations. Namely, the design must cater to the needs of pedestrians and the goals for the client’s business. Since this can sometimes feel like a momentous feat, we thought we’d offer up some landscaping ideas for commercial properties, whether they be doctors’ office buildings or retail boutiques. 

Use Surrounding Landscape Architecture for Inspiration 

This is especially important in more urban locations, as you’ll likely be picking up foot traffic from other places. 

In any setting, pay close attention to the green spaces, streetscapes, and canopy just beyond your property lines. Do they encourage walkability? If so, your property might be a great place to offer a spot for respite. Alternatively, maybe the surroundings are, well, rather bleak—all pavement, no tree cover, no pleasant walkways. In that case, making your property a little oasis could result in a very desirable response. 

Focus on Circulation Patterns for Commercial Landscaping

couple walking under trees good landscape architecture circulation

Not only will this make your landscape more enjoyable for pedestrians, it will also improve upon the results your work brings to your clients. Here’s why …

When you design pathways to guide people in a certain way, you make the entering of a store or building feel accessible, even intuitive. You’d be surprised how heavily an easy way into a structure can influence a person’s intention to follow through on an appointment or browse a shop.

Think of it this way: When you have to park 15 spaces away from the door, walk on hot pavement with no tree cover, and look at an eyesore of a building with no appealing foliage the whole way there, how likely are you to want to return and spend time in that area? Whereas, if a store also happens to be in a lovely, pleasantly landscaped area with plenty of shading trees, plantings, beautiful flowers, trickling water features, and a comfortable bench, you might be inclined to visit even if you don’t really need to buy anything. It’s just a nice place to go.

But then, often, you do end up pulling out the pocketbook.

This idea is backed up in a study shared by The Nature Conservancy Washington. It states that “shoppers claim they are willing to spend 9-12% more for goods and services in central business districts that have high-quality tree canopy” and “pedestrian-oriented retail areas experience a 20-40% increase in foot traffic.”

Consider How You Can Be Green With Commercial Landscape Design Ideas

green building commercial landscape architecture

We aren’t only talking about the actual green stuff! Smart landscaping ideas for commercial properties should always include concepts for reducing energy costs within surrounding buildings. 

Quite a few studies have linked the shade provided by trees to a lower amount of air conditioning use. For example, McPherson and Simpson’s 1995 study in Phoenix found that areas with ample trees and plantings could project an average daily energy savings of about 13%. That might not seem like a huge number at first, but it makes an impact over time.

And besides, why not save even a small amount of energy when the method of doing so is only beneficial? There’s no downside to adding more vibrancy to your landscape!

Keep the Complete Landscaping Vision in Mind

When we think of the commercial landscapes that have made great impressions on us, it often seems they have a quality we can’t quite put a finger on. But how do landscape architects bring that to life?

They do it by understanding that it’s never just a line of trees, a well-placed bench, or a tranquil water feature. It’s all of that combined.

The overarching secret to beloved commercial landscapes is the balance of various enjoyable features. Think about where visitors would want to sit: under trees or where they can hear the water trickling by? It’s probably both, so next contemplate how best a scene like that could fit into the space you’re working with. 

Where should flowers be positioned for optimal viewing and wafts of lovely scent? Should there be patches of grass where little ones might get some energy out after shopping or after attending a class or appointment? How can you organize seating so that parents can look on as their children play but still take the scenery in for themselves?

Landscape architects do much more than arrange plantings and hardscape; they create experiences.


If you’re looking to bring these ideas and more to life in your own landscape, Jerry Pate Design is here to help! We serve Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. Contact us today.

Steve Dana
Steve Dana
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