Whether you’re a commercial land owner, work in parks and recreation, or you’re on the HoA board of a condo association, savvy landscape management is a must.
Landscaping services is a $98.7 billion dollar industry averaging a 3.3% year over year growth. This should come as no surprise, since your property’s landscape is one of the first things that people notice. If it’s in pristine condition, it can yield a sizable return on investment. However, if it’s poorly managed, potential homeowners, clients, and community members will take note of it.
There are plenty of ways to boost the value of your property and maximize your potential returns. Some ideas can even yield returns as high as 300%-400%! Many of these ideas are low cost or low maintenance, and all of them are worth considering.
Here are a few strategies to help you get the most out of your landscape management:
Spruce Up What You Already Have
Before redesigning your entire landscape, try tidying up what you already have. You’d be amazed how much nicer your park or common area looks after raking away dead plants, adding fresh mulch to your plant beds, and giving your shrubs a trim.
A little landscape management goes a long way, especially if you schedule time for routine upkeep and maintenance. Every year, at least once a year, you should:
- Pull weeds and apply pre-emergent herbicides
- Apply post-emergent herbicides on weeds that have already sprouted
- Use lime to sweeten your soil if the pH is too low
- Fertilize your lawn – at least twice a year or more
- Add a two-inch layer of mulch to plant beds
- Apply urethane caulk to fix cracks in your concrete
- Prune your trees, shrubs, hedges, and flowering plants
- Plant new trees, shrubs, bulbs, and perennials after summer, but before the ground freezes over
Properly maintaining your landscape can contribute to 28% of the overall value of a home. In terms of real estate value, some of the same principals that apply to residential landscapes also apply to commercial landscapes. The level of effort put into commercial landscape management is reflective of how well a property is maintained. Not only does this increase value, but it also produces higher rents and lower vacancy rates over the period of ownership.
Add Wood Mulch and Decorative Rocks
Wood mulch and decorative rocks are easy, affordable, and work great for sprucing up your landscape. They can even help deter weeds while they’re at it!
Wood mulch works great for holding in moisture, which is necessary during the summer months. It can also help create a weed barrier for your beds, and once the wood decomposes, it provides your soil with nutrients and organic matter. Since it decomposes, you need to add more mulch every year.
Mulch can be tricky in the Pacific Northwest because it can be blown or washed it away. For these reasons, it also isn’t recommended for hilly terrain, so be mindful of your property’s topography before purchasing.
You won’t have the same problem with decorative rocks. Not only are they more weather proof, they’re also effective at slowing down water and reducing the potential for erosion issues. These rocks are also great for adding color to your landscape and can complement the surrounding scenery.
Decorative rocks are more expensive than mulch, but you don’t have to worry about replacing them every year. However, since they don’t decompose, they’re also not providing nutrients or organic matter to your soil, so you might be required to buy supplemental nutrients.
Improve Your Lawn Care
Improving your lawn is one of the most cost effective ways to increase your property’s value. Lawns are appealing because they provide an ideal setting for outdoor recreation, entertainment, and relaxation.
Simply controlling weed growth and fertilizing can yield over 300% ROI. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. People enjoy picnics on freshly cut green grass, not unkempt weed-infested knolls. They prefer to walk by lively, vibrant flowers, not patches of thatch and expired echinaceas. Lawn care matters.
Seeding your grass also provides you with a solid ROI – anywhere from 140%-400%, depending on what you use. Grass seed can cost anywhere from $30-$100 per bag, depending on type. The Pacific Northwest is home to cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass. These are usually cheaper than warm-season grasses, which land on the high end of the cost spectrum.
If you plan on seeding yourself, you should:
- Test your soil beforehand to know what you need and how much
- Know which grass seed type(s) to purchase
- Know the intended use for the seed
- Mix the seed with damp sand a day prior to help it germinate faster
- Gently water 2-3 times a day until it germinates
Remove and Replace Old Plants and Shrubs
Sometimes plants and shrubs are neglected to the point where you won’t be able to trim them. Though unfortunate, this presents you with an opportunity to update your landscape by replacing them with new, lush varieties. By simply renovating your space in this manner, you can enjoy huge returns and attract new clients, community members, and potential home buyers.
We also recommend planting new trees. Not only can small trees give you natural shade and help lower energy costs, mature trees can add anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 to the value of your property.
Adding Native Plants and Trees
Washington State has over 2,300 native plant species, and they make for great additions to your landscape because they:
- Resist native pests and diseases better than non-natives
- Require less water
- Adapt to our climate easier
- Provide food, shelter, and pollination opportunities for native species
- Require less fertilizer
- Don’t require pesticides
- Help keep our water clean and healthy
- Provide more sustainability
Assess your landscape to determine which native plants will work best in your space. Also, keep in mind that native plants are in high demand, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re able purchase the types you wish to use.
Give Your Landscape Some Color
Add some vibrancy to your landscape with colorful foliage that will catch eyes and increase perceived property value. Colors evoke strong feelings, moods, and emotions. 85% of people place color as a primary reason for why they purchase a product, and 93% of consumers place visual appearance and color above all other factors.
Consumers’ attraction to color can provide you with a significant ROI on your commercial landscape management. Small flowering plants and trees are very affordable. For extra credit, include native or adaptive plants for improved sustainability and easier care.
Paving and Patterning Stone Driveways
Replace old driveways and walking paths, or set aside time for annual or “as needed” repairs. Hardscaping is a good return on investment, and it’s not always as complicated as you think.
If you decide to replace instead of repair, consider using paving stones. They are more durable than concrete and asphalt, and can last for decades. Paving stones come in multiple colors, textures, and styles, and make for great branding opportunities. If your company or property has a specific logo, insignia, or color scheme, incorporate it in your design. It’s an effective way to be remembered.
Add Low-Maintenance Water Features
We want to emphasize low-maintenance here, because water features can be a lot to manage. They can leak, water can get murky, and they can attract unwelcome critters. As a rule of thumb, the larger the water feature, the greater the risk of there being problems. Here are a few ideas for smaller, more manageable water features:
Bird baths don’t require any pumps or filters, and they’re cheap to install. They’re also affordable and can come in a variety of shapes and colors, so finding one that fits your landscape should be easy.
Fountains come in multiple varieties; including pipe fountains, sphere fountains, spouting fountains, and disappearing fountains. They also come in multiple sizes, designs, and colors, and smaller ones come in kits with easy-to-follow installation instructions. People and wildlife alike enjoy the tranquil sound of running water, making these features very valuable to any landscape.
Like fountains, people are drawn to the soothing sound of running water waterfalls provide. Waterfalls incorporate some movement to your landscape, and they come in multiple varieties, including rock waterfalls, rain curtains, sconces, and staircases, to name a few. They also pair well with colorful plants and stones for a more organic look. You can even get a pondless waterfall to make upkeep more manageable.
Miniature ponds are easy to build and only require about 4-6 hours of sunlight to keep the pond clear and its inhabitants happy. Wherever you choose to build or buy one, make sure that it doesn’t have runoff rainwater, otherwise you risk disturbing the balance of your pond. For extra credit, consider getting a koi pond. They’re a little more maintenance, but make quite a splash.
Commercial Landscape Management Can Reduce Crime
A few years ago, Chicago poured millions into becoming the “greenest city in America.” As a result, both the city and Gregg Robertson, the president of the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association (PLNA), made some fascinating discoveries. They found that crime rates decreased, test scores of children living in the area increased, and neighbors took ownership of their improved landscape.
Another Chicago study revealed that crimes around buildings with “high levels of greenery” dropped by 48%, and that violent crimes were reduced by 56%. Even modest amounts of greenery were associated with lower crime rates. This is because:
- Greenery reduces aggression and helps people relax
- Green spaces bring people together outdoors, increasing surveillance and discouraging criminals
- Well-kept properties cue to criminals that the residents care for it and are watching over it
These studies prove that not only does landscape upkeep make your property look nicer, but it makes it safer as well.
Hire a Landscaping Company
One of the best ways to increase your landscape’s ROI is by hiring a professional. They cost more than if you DIY, but professional landscapers know what they’re doing and can save you a lot of time and headaches. Landscape management is a lot of work, and if done wrong, your mistakes cost you more than if you hired a professional in the first place.
Your time is valuable, so we recommend using it to focus on other tasks at hand or doing things you love. Leave the work to us!
Commercial Landscape Management FAQs
What does commercial landscape management include?
Commercial landscape management includes maintenance services such as mowing, edging/trimming, blowing/raking, weeding, pruning, and overall tree and shrub care. It also includes storm cleanup and enhancements such as adding trees, bark, mulch, shrub, gravel, and topsoil to improve the appearance of your property.
Is it cheaper to seed or sod a lawn?
Seeding a new lawn usually ranges anywhere from $400-$1,500, depending on the seed and the size of the property. For commercial properties, this cost can be much higher. The cost to install sod is roughly twice the price, but also gives you a fuller, lusher lawn, faster.
Should I seed or overseed my lawn?
If your lawn is only patchy in a couple of areas, we recommend spot-seeding. If large areas of grass are damaged, you should overseed or seek a professional for guidance.
Do landscape management companies handle storm clean up?
Absolutely! If your commercial landscape, HoA, or property is in need of a one-time clean up, commercial landscape management companies are there to help. Some of their services can include debris removal, leaf and storm cleanup, and brush, shrub, and tree removal.
How much does commercial landscaping cost?
Costs vary based on the size and needs of your property. For a free estimate, give us a call!