Commercial landscape design is much more than sticking some plants and mulch in front of a commercial building or storefront. For the smart business owner, a thoughtful, well-planned commercial landscape is a capital investment that yields long-term benefits in terms of community goodwill, positive customer relations, increased brand and business value, and even increased profitability.
One of the challenges facing business owners or managers considering a commercial landscape project is understanding which parts of the project comprise a one-time capital investment and which parts should be considered ongoing operating costs that need to be budgeted every year.
Because some business owners make the mistake of thinking of a commercial landscape as a one-time expense, they will budget for a landscape installation without considering the long-term maintenance needs. As a result, that investment can rapidly turn from an asset into a liability. If commercial landscape capital spending has no support from money budgeted to manage and protect that investment, it will deteriorate over time and become not just a liability, but also a continuous drain on resources.
Think of it this way. Investing in developing a commercial landscape is much like investing in a commercial vehicle – say, a delivery truck for your business. If your business is just starting out, part of your business plan may be to allocate money for the purchase of a delivery truck. This will ensure you can deliver products to your customers on a timely and reliable basis to keep them happy and your company successful. But if you haven’t planned for the upkeep of that truck – fuel, periodic oil changes, worn-out part replacement, repairs and such – over time, the ability of that truck to perform will diminish until it’s no longer drivable and therefor no longer serves its purpose.
A commercial landscape is similar in many ways. The initial installment can be viewed as a capital investment, with money budgeted for soil preparation, drainage and irrigation installation, plantings, hardscape construction and whatever other elements your design may call for. But a commercial landscape is not a static thing. Watering, pest and weed control, trimming, pruning, and grass cutting are all ongoing operating expenses necessary for keeping your commercial landscape a beautiful, healthy, thriving business asset.
Summer seasonal color: Petunias and Cleomes
So before you spend a penny on your landscape, make sure you have the operating cash to maintain it. If need be, restructure your commercial landscape project to minimize and control ongoing costs such as irrigation, annual or semi-annual plantings, and fertilizing. If you have a project that is larger than your budget, plan to phase in development (and its associated maintenance) as your budget allows. A well designed, installed, and maintained commercial landscape will then function properly and provide all the short- and long-term benefits it is capable of yielding.