Owners and property managers must watch the nickels and dimes as well as the dollars that are spent on the property. Save one dollar in operating costs and (assuming a 10% cap rate) the value of the property increases by $10. That is why owners are always looking for new ways to economize. In addition to saving money, we are always looking for a way to invest a little in the property for a good return.
A well-planned landscape has a recovery value of 100% to 200% in increased rentals at the typical suburban office building. In addition, the owner gets back more than just dollars spent; the landscaping dramatically influences an owner’s positive image in the community.
A well-maintained lawn, and pruned shrubs with splashes of colorful flowers help an office building have “curbside appeal”. It says to prospective tenants, visitors, clients, and the community at large that the building’s owner is stable and intends to stay around for a while. Clients instantly have confidence that “these people can handle my needs”.
When a property has poor grass, weeds, and unimaginative shrubs, it sends the message that the owner doesn’t care. The owner is often perceived as someone who probably takes shortcuts. And if the owner neglects the landscaping, prospective tenants wonder will the details of the leases, repairs, and overall maintenance of the building itself also be neglected?
Overplanted landscapes are as hard on the eyes as sparse ones. A good design will combine the factors of function, balance, and symmetry. Function, for example, considers such things as the placement of walkways, parking lot access, and building entrances with safety in mind. Things like trash receptacles can be screened by planting evergreens and hedges in front of them. A good design might include:
- Repetition. This is the repeating of a plant or a theme to give the impression of one continuous landscape and tie the property together.
- Focal points. An area is highlighted by a tree, garden, or sculpture for visual appeal and eye direction.
- Compatibility. Species of flowers and shrubs are selected that will complement the colors, textures, and forms in both the landscape and the building.
Long Range Thinking
The professional landscaper will select trees and bushes that will not obstruct traffic when they are fully grown. Fast-maturing shrubs can detract from the overall design unless they are carefully thought out in advance.
The owner has other options to choose from in addition to natural growing plants and flowers. He can select stonework, cascading water, and lighting accents to create a favorable impression of the building.