One of the best ways facilities in 2021 can invest in sustainability is through their landscape design. Just like the rest of your building, it matters what you choose to invest in that will last for the future. As facilities make the switch to energy- and resource-efficient systems for their buildings, they should do the same for their exterior landscaping and hardscape installations.
Sustainable landscaping is ideal, but not many facility managers know how to achieve it. If you are interested in building a more sustainable outdoor space for your building, here are some tips to help you get started:
Shade trees are a tremendous asset to your sustainable landscape. Though they may take several years to grow, they can provide shade for your building that will reduce indoor cooling costs. Plus, they can take up a great deal of space and will thrive with little maintenance once successfully planted. By adding shade trees close to the building (without increasing risk of building damage if one falls down) you can create a more energy-efficient building with very little effort.
Traditional landscaping typically uses grass to cover large spaces of land with decorative plants centered at focal points for visual appeal. However, grass requires a lot of water to survive and is typically more difficult to maintain than other drought-resistant options. The goal of sustainable landscaping is to reduce resource consumption, so talk to your landscaper about drought-resistant plants and other coverage options to reduce the need for landscape irrigation.
Flowers are a staple in most retail landscaping and outdoor showrooms, but they do much more than add aesthetic appeal to your building. When you add flowering plants such as milkweed and other native flowers, you provide nourishment for the surrounding environment and a place for native butterflies and bees to pollinate. This low-effort addition to your landscape serves a practical function and will stimulate long-term plant growth on your property.
When choosing hardscape, it’s important to identify options that are eco-friendly and will last. Typically, we recommend stone for sustainable landscaping because it will last as long as vinyl or metal but does not require the intensive manufacturing process of these materials. While wood hardscape is sustainable in its manufacturing, it will not last as long as stone.
Sustainable landscaping will make your building and your business better for the future. To learn more about sustainable design in commercial facilities, visit our resource center.