How much of your budget should you put toward landscaping for your commercial property?

You might be surprised.

Experts recommend spending between 25 and 35 percent of your budget on landscaping. If this seems excessive, you haven’t thought it through.

This isn’t the place to skimp. The appearance of your property outside tells customers a lot about the quality of service and attention to detail inside.

Why should you spend this much, and how should you spend it? Let’s take a look at how to develop a commercial landscaping budget for your property.

Understanding The Importance Of Landscaping

parking lots and entrances are the first impression for a guest at your New York businessFirst impressions are crucial for commercial properties. If your lawn is brown or full of weeds, it may reflect poorly on your business.

But a healthy, green expanse of neatly trimmed turf or bountiful beds of colorful flowers is a clear sign a property is well tended. It shows the owners care.

If you’re a hotel manager, you’re probably not thinking much about your grounds. You’re concerned about your rooms. But if your front entrance is neglected, your flower beds full of weeds, are customers going to trust that your rooms are clean and well maintained?

Say you manage a medical building where procedures take place. What will customers think about the quality of service inside if the outside is anything less than perfect?

Are you trying to attract new tenants? Impressive landscaping automatically makes your property more desirable. Appearance matters.

Allocating Your Commercial Landscaping Budget

large, colorful planters improve the curb appealEvery property is different, from shopping mall to restaurant to a medical building, and your landscaper can advise you on the top landscaping priorities for your specific property.

In general, there are a few crucial elements to include when planning your landscaping budget.

Annual Flowers

Don’t underestimate the impact of colorful, well-tended plantings. From abundant beds of tulips and daffodils in the spring to masses of hot pink petunias or impatiens in the summer to bright mounds of yellow and russet mums in the fall, drifts of vibrant flowers lend an instant sense of cheer.

Their presence is an instant “welcome.” It tells customers and tenants you care. Budget for seasonal color programs — the pansies that look so perky in April will be long faded by July.

Inviting Entrance

A tidy, inviting entrance area with healthy plantings and lush green turf speaks volumes about the quality of service inside.

This is also a great spot for large planters of eye-catching flowers and foliage. Oversized planters filled with trees, stunning perennials and seasonal annuals make a powerful impact, both for pedestrians walking past and passersby who see them from a distance.

Dress them up with twinkling white lights for the holidays. Your entrance is your customers’ first impression. Don’t blow it.

The “50 MPH View”

Your potential customers’ first impression may be as they drive past your property at rush hour.

That means you have just a few seconds to impress. Make it count by devoting part of your budget to developing a lush, green lawn with crisp, clean edges.

Plantings can make a big impact, too. But remember, you won’t get much drive-by impact if you plant two of this and three of that. But drifts of a few hundred ornamental grasses waving in the breeze can be a real attention-getter.

Money spent here can mean the difference between potential customers stopping in, or just driving by.

The Parking Lot

This is critical to your customers’ first impression. Is it weed free? Clean? Are there opportunities here for green space? Flower beds? Small trees for shade?

It’s easy to neglect your parking area. Our advice: Don’t.

Spring And Fall Clean-Up

leaf removal is a must to keep commercial landscapes healthy and attractiveHere in the Northeast, winter takes a huge toll on landscaping. That means fall and spring clean-up should be near the top of your budget priority list.

Once the snow melts, your property will be a mess of soggy debris and clutter. Your flower beds will need to be ready for planting. Everything needs a general tidying up.

Ignore this, and it tells customers you just don’t care.

Once fall settles in, your landscaping has other needs. Leaves, weeds, litter and fallen limbs have to go, to keep your property looking well maintained.

And this task isn’t just for appearances.

Leave all the leafy junk and it will rot, leading to mold, mildew and even disease. This attracts pests and smothers your turf’s access to sunlight and air.

Be sure to talk to your commercial landscaper about setting aside money for these important services.

Don’t Make These 3 Common Budgeting Mistakes

Commercial property owners and managers have a lot on their plate. Dealing with tenant concerns. Collecting rent. Complying with governmental regulations.

It’s easy to put landscaping on the back burner, both time-wise and budget-wise. Are you making any of these common budgeting mistakes?  

Ignoring Timing

timing is key for dormant pruning at retail businessesExpert landscaping and maintenance is all about timing. Certain tasks need to be done at certain times of year to keep growing things happy and healthy.

It’s important to sit down with your landscaper to discuss what needs to be done each month of the year, and budget accordingly.

Neglect this step, and you could discover your landscape budget is shot, but crucial services remain undone. For instance, you’ll want to budget for:

  • Planting annual flowers in the spring
  • Insect control in late spring
  • Stone and hardscape work midsummer
  • Lawn aeration and slice seeding in the fall
  • Dormant pruning in the winter

Plan it all out, a year or more ahead, and you’ll stay on budget and get all the services your property needs.

Assuming Landscaping Is A One-Time Thing

Just like your favorite pair of jeans, landscaping eventually wears out. The pretty annuals planted in the spring need replacing with mums and ornamental kale by late summer.

Mulch breaks down and gets thin in spots. It needs replacing.

Yes, your landscape looks great right after the crew leaves, but it takes regular maintenance to stay that way. Think of your landscaping as a year-round work in progress, and budget accordingly.

Doing Things Halfway

Some commercial property managers budget for fertilizing and weed control, but stop short of services like lawn aeration. Weed and feed is good enough, right?

Not if you want a long-term healthy lawn, that will continue to present the best first impression for your commercial property.

Lawn aeration is a great example. It might seem like an unnecessary extra, but it’s important for your turf’s long-term health.

Over time, the soil becomes compacted and thatch builds up, and your soil can’t breathe. That means the roots of your grass won’t be able to absorb nutrients or water. So slowly, over time, your lawn dies.

A lawn aerator is a machine with sharp tines that perforate the soil and removes plugs of soil, thatch, and grass, leaving small holes to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grassroots. This helps the roots grow deeper and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn.

Weed and feed all you want, but if your soil can’t breathe, your lawn suffers. If you skimp on lawn care, it will show.

Pretend You’re A Customer

Hudson Valley business with landscaping done by NeaveStruggling with how much to spend on your property’s landscaping? 

Take a few minutes and approach your building from the parking lot, just like your customers do. And ask yourself some simple, but important questions:

  • What do you see?
  • Does your building seem like a cheerful, welcoming, well-maintained place?
  • Do you want to go in?

Imagine the addition of eye-catching, colorful plantings and an expanse of verdant, neatly trimmed grass.

The extra dollars you’re reluctant to put toward your landscaping budget could cost you much more in lost business if your property looks unappealing.

Neave Knows Commercial Landscaping Plans

The experts at Neave Landscaping have been designing and maintaining commercial property landscapes in the Hudson Valley for more than 40 years.

We know exactly what it takes to engage customers through beautifully planned, executed and maintained landscape features.

We’re happy to sit down with you to help you plan a customized one-year, two-year or five-year commercial landscaping plan, complete with an itemized budget so you know exactly what money should go toward what services at what time of year.

Your business is unique, with a specialized set of needs. We’ll give you, and your property, the attention you deserve.

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