First impressions last—especially when it comes to real estate. Beyond its architecture, construction and natural setting, nothing is as critical to a property’s image from the outside as its landscaping. As a result, owners and managers of buildings and developments can take steps from the start to create a landscape plan with extraordinary impact throughout the seasons.
Regardless of the size or scope of a development, its landscape plan should set the tone with aesthetic and functional components that complement the real estate. Lawns, gardens, flowers, trees, water and hardscape elements also need to be planned for immediate and long-term results. The landscape welcomes visitors, and the same time creates a motivating quality as well as an area of respite for building tenants and their visitors. And for the municipality in which the property is located, the landscaping can contribute to the overall beauty of a neighborhood, becoming a source of pride and even a local landmark.
Considering the Elements
The initial planning for a new landscape installation or an upgrade at a multifamily residential property looks well beyond the short-term “visual” results to ensure that the project— and its associated investment—will continue to achieve its purpose for many years. In an industry where assignments often are awarded to the lowest bidder, it is important to understand that cutting corners can result in much greater costs down the road.
A good landscape design has three main considerations: soil quality, climate and ultimate maintenance requirements. Soil must be properly treated and plants chosen that are appropriate for the natural environment and setting. Trees, shrubs and lawn areas must be consistently maintained. And of course, gardens require proper irrigation to prevent landscaping from quickly becoming messy and unwelcoming, and requiring replacement within a few years—or even months.
Usually, a property requires some degree of modification every five to 12 years. It may be a case of having the wrong plants in the wrong location, which can be resolved by transplanting existing trees, shrubs or annuals. Sometimes just a change in the amount of light through relocation or pruning can improve a plant’s performance.