Owners and property managers must watch their operating budgets and the dollars spent on the property. Save one dollar in operating costs and (assuming a 10% cap rate) 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 property 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 a property owner’s positive image in the community.
A well-maintained lawn, pruned shrubs with splashes of colorful flowers help an office building have “curb appeal.” It conveys to prospective tenants, visitors, clients, and the broader community that the building’s owner is stable and intends to stay around a while. Clients feel confident that “these people can manage my needs.”
When a property has an unkept lawn, weeds, and unimaginative shrubs, it sends the message that the owner doesn’t care. The owner is often perceived as someone who probably takes short cuts. 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 ever-greens 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.
Balance/scale. Plants are placed symmetrically and sized in proportions so as not to overpower or diminish an area.
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 in addition to natural growing plants and flowers. He can select stonework, cascading water, and lighting accents to create a favorable impression for the building.