2018 Commercial Property Trends Report

"Irresistible Amenities"


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As millennials search for the perfect places to live, work, and play, they're looking for lifestyle amenities with big impact.

Multi-use hardscape patios for workday meetings and after-work fun. Communal fire pits and grilling stations that bring friends together. Impressive garden common areas with soothing water features.

They want a sense of ease, fun and style.

Does your property have it?

If your building is 15 or 20 years old, chances are, it doesn’t.

That means you’re wasting a great opportunity to use your landscaping as a marketing tool to attract discriminating tenants, customers and visitors.

It also means you’re at a real disadvantage. Older, dated properties can't compete with the stylish landscape amenities of newer, youth-friendly buildings.

Renovation is the latest buzzword as more and more aging properties in the Triangle area are spruced up, updated with contemporary landscaping features that add instant appeal.

Nature-based walking trails. Fun community grilling areas. Intriguing plants and flowers that beg a closer look. The latest in dazzling water features.

What are the current commercial landscape trends that instantly make your property a must-have?

Take a look.

Then, be creative. Don’t limit these ideas to your company’s landscaping budget. Include them in your marketing budget. It just makes sense. These trends will bring visibility, appeal — and people — to your door.

1. Design Trend: Bring The Inside Out


The skyrocketing outdoor living trend isn't just for homeowners. It’s a great way to update a tired commercial property with a lively, contemporary vibe.

outdoor seating

People love to be outside. Adding an outdoor element to the work day makes it seem less like work.

Workers want to hold conferences outside at umbrella-covered tables on a pretty patio. They want to enjoy a fresh-air lunch in a garden so stunning it elevates that plain turkey sandwich.

When your afternoon break includes a refreshing walk on an exercise trail, you’re more productive when you get back to your desk.

Millennials expect these fresh-air amenities that older properties just don't have.

Adding relaxing, accessible outdoor spaces to your business makes it a better place to work.

Where would you rather sip your coffee? In a dim break room with fluorescent lights? Or beside a bubbling water feature surrounded by pots of vivid tropical blooms that lure butterflies and hummingbirds?

We thought so. Bring the inside out.

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2. Design Trend: Add More Fun


Landscaping isn't just about trees, shrubs, plants and flowers. It’s about providing comfortable, accessible spaces where people can relax, breathe the fresh air and have fun.

outdoor patioThat’s why the most popular commercial properties — whether they’re apartment complexes, HOAs, office parks or retail centers — are setting the bar higher for outdoor entertainment.

Outdoor fireplaces where friends can gather, talk, laugh and be cozy. Corn hole courts that inspire good-natured competition. Nature trails for spontaneous fresh-air strolls during the lunch break. A patio complete with a stage for outdoor entertainment. Comfortable seating close enough to a water feature that you can feel the cool spray on a hot afternoon.

At work? You bet.

Sure, plants are part of the mix. They come later, adding privacy, elegance and maybe even an intoxicating scent to calm those jittery workday nerves.

Add the fun, and people will follow.

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3. The Power Of Plants: Mix It Up


Never underestimate the powerful allure of plants and flowers. Add them, and you get instant beauty. Then, you get noticed.

plants that WOW

Drifts of colorful flowers market your building and attract shoppers, customers, tenants and residents.

Think about it. When you pull up to a hotel entrance to spend the night, if the landscaping packs a punch with well-tended flowers and oversized pots of exotic tropical plants, you’re automatically intrigued about checking in. This, you think, must be a high-end place.

When you want to create a great first impression, nothing seals the deal like wow-inducing landscaping.

But please, make it modern. Overgrown junipers and tired, dated hedges won't cut it.

The latest commercial property landscaping trend is a looser, more relaxed combination of flowering shrubs, perennials and ornamental grasses.

Feather reed grass waves in the breeze, adding mesmerizing motion to the landscape. And it changes hues throughout the season, giving you more beauty for your buck.

Blood grass sounds scary, but starts out the season with pretty red-tinged tips, then matures into a striking scarlet showstopper.

Tropical plants, in strategically placed beds by entrances and signage, lend an exotic feel — even if you’re just running errands. Isn't that when you need a vacation vibe  the most?

Hibiscus always steals the show, with its huge, spectacular, colorful blooms.

Bird of paradise, a native of South Africa, gets its name from its unique flowers. They look like brilliant orange tropical birds in flight.

Huge elephant ear plants offer a bold, dramatic touch with their massive leaves that look like — you guessed it — elephant ears.

If all this makes your dated, tightly-trimmed shrubbery seem boring, you’re right.

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4. Plants That Impress: Be Unique — And Save Water


Keep visitors interested time and time again by changing your colorful flowers and plants with the seasons. They know they’ll see something fantastic — but what?

Coral honeysuckle

In the winter, the pretty yellow tips of gold tip arborvitae turn a beautiful bronze, lighting up the landscape.

Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick is an out-of-the-ordinary shrub with fantastic gnarled and twisted branches. It adds “What’s that?” interest to beds or large containers.

Magnolia and cedar offer different textures and colors to keep the mix interesting.

As water becomes an increasing commodity, two big water-saving trends are on the rise: xeriscaping and native plants.

Xeriscaping is planting drought-tolerant trees, shrubs, plants and ground cover that need little if any water or fertilizer.

North Carolina boasts a host of beautiful native plants. They’re the ultimate in easy care, because they automatically love where they’re planted.

Carolina rose is a low shrub that bears delicate pink flowers with a lovely scent.

Coral honeysuckle (pictured) is as pretty as it sounds — a high-climbing vine with glossy leaves, trumpet-shaped vivid flowers and interesting, papery bark. Hummingbirds love it.

Cardinal flower grows to an impressive six feet high and boasts 8-inch spiky red flowers that dare you not to notice.

You get the idea. Include native plants in your landscaping and you not only get low maintenance, but high appeal.

Not sure what’s best to update your tired commercial landscape? We’re on it. Greenscape’s floriculture department is among the best in the region. We’ll deliver the wow factor.

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5. Water Management: A Crucial Foundation


Boring? Maybe. Your property’s water management isn't as enticing as showy pots of bird of paradise or the latest in patio design.

water management

But it’s even more crucial.

Your property should flush excess rainwater through the public sewers, or toward nearby rivers or lakes.

When it doesn’t, that excess water can damage your building’s foundation, sidewalks and driveways.

Too much water creates a host of problems. Mold and mildew. Insects and rodents.

It can flood those spectacular flower beds and create a big puddle nuisance for customers or tenants walking your property.

Expert water management solutions can solve the problem, including retention or detention ponds, bioswales or a rainwater harvesting system. One or more options can help get that water under control.

At Greenscape, we design from the ground up, so we know how to handle the structural details that keep water where it’s supposed to be — not drowning your flowers and spilling over onto your hardscape.

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6. Smart Irrigation: It Thinks For You



You don't want excess water — but you want enough.

The latest trend in irrigation is smart irrigation — smart enough to know exactly when your landscape needs water, and when it doesn’t.

Smart irrigation systems have rain sensors that know when nature has already done the watering, so you don't have to.

When a line breaks or another mechanical problem pops up, they automatically turn off.

These systems don't activate based on time of day — that’s old school.

They use local weather forecasts and your precise landscape conditions, so the watering schedule is tailor made for your property.

Pretty smart.

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7. Hardscape: Transforming The Common Patio


Hardscape is a great way to add a contemporary feel to a dated property. A significant trend now in the Raleigh area is to buy old rundown apartments and fix them up, incorporating modern, updated design to attract young residents.

outdoor entertainment

You don't have to look far for a great example of how a hardscape project can transform a commercial property.

Greenscape, Inc. recently installed a stunning, multi-use patio at the Colliers International building at 702 Oberlin Road in Raleigh.

The 2,000-square-foot patio includes an elevated stage, tables and umbrellas in the heart of the bustling Cameron Village area.

Employees love to relax outside, savor their lunch, enjoy some fresh air.

A 15 by 30 foot stage rises 18 inches above the patio, features electrical and lighting and serves as a spot for company events, as well as a rental space for other groups to enjoy.

Trendy vintage-style string lights criss-cross overhead, adding an instant festive vibe.

While the expansive Colliers project is envy-inducing, even a small hardscape project can make a big impact.

A simple courtyard with a couple benches and some potted plants soften a retail space and encourage people to linger — and spend.

Hardscape offers a hangout. And who doesn’t love to hang out?

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8. Lighting: The Beauty Of After Dark


How much time are you wasting after dark? Lighting helps you market your building and extend your hours after the sun goes down.

landscape lighting

Even if nobody visits your building after dark, don't just let it fade into black. Remind passers-by you’re there by highlighting your property with expertly-designed landscape lighting.

There are lots of reasons to incorporate lighting into your property’s renovation.

Lighting an outdoor patio extends the space and ups the atmosphere of a restaurant. Lighting signage draws attention and directs potential visitors.

Professional lighting is key to safety and security. It deters criminals, eliminating spots for them to lurk and hide. That means fewer break-ins, less vandalism and improved safety for visitors.

See for yourself. Be a visitor at your own building. Walk from your car to your entrance. Stroll your walkways.

Do you feel safe? Take note of the dark spots where you should shed some light.

The lighting experts at Greenscape can light your building, uplighting columns and highlighting your building’s best architectural features.

Path lights offer both safety and beauty, and undercap lights on retaining walls cast soft light down, both highlighting the architectural aspect of the wall and shedding just enough light for pedestrians.

Don't forget about your property’s trees, shrubs and plants. You’ll be amazed at how magical — and how completely different — your favorite plants look at night, with designer-inspired lighting.

Shadows emerge that rival artwork. The tree canopy suddenly looks like an enchanted forest. You’ll want to go back to your property at night, just to hang out.

If you haven't updated your landscape lighting to LED, you’re at the back of the pack.

LED bulbs use about a third of the electricity of traditional lights, so it won't take long to see a return on your investment.

You’ll save money on maintenance, too. An LED bulb has a lifespan of about 50,000 hours. That means hardly any need for replacements.

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9. Water Features: Beyond Luxury


Sure, water features are beautiful, but they add more than splash to your commercial landscape.

great water feature

The white noise they create is a great buffer, allowing you to have a business conversation outside on your office patio, without hearing your co-worker’s chatter at the next table.

Add a water feature to your retail space common area, and shoppers with small children in tow will linger longer, as their kids delight in splashing their fingers in the water.

Everybody’s fascinated and soothed by moving water. A budget luxury?

Not anymore.

Water features require some maintenance, but a wow-inducing water feature adds a sense of high-end elegance.

Opt for a tumbling waterfall in a courtyard or a fountain spray to draw attention to an entrance.

One of the latest trends in water features is the “pondless” waterfall. No more need for an accompanying large pond. These streamlined waterfalls recirculate the water in the same way a fountain does.

Enjoy the beauty of the water without the hassle of pond maintenance. And, in a much smaller space than was possible before.

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10. Finishing Touches: Extras That Wow


When a prospective tenant comes to look at your place, don't get too excited — they’re looking at lots of other places, too. Your competition.

How to make sure your site rises above the rest? Offer great details that make potential tenants, residents and visitors want to stay. Be sure your place has the convenient, stylish perks that will spur them to text their friends.

What are these extras?

living wallIt might be an innovative “living wall.” These impressive vertical gardens turn blank walls into colorful, creative works of living art. Greenscape, Inc. is known for them. People talk about them. They take pictures of them.  Bonus for you: instant advertising.

Maybe your stand-out feature is a common area, a fun gathering spot with a fire pit and a barbecue station.

A millennial who lives in an 800-square-foot apartment would love the amenities of a house. But they don't want to own a house — that means they’d have to mow the grass.

So you offer a great outdoor patio with grilling stations. Now that trendy tenant can invite some friends over and grill some steaks. They don't have to worry about running out of propane — you’ve got that covered.

After dinner, they can gather around the fire pit and make gooey s’mores.

Maybe you add some extra amenities, like a volleyball court or corn hole games.

No muss. No fuss. All the fun.

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11. Trust Your Updates To Greenscape


Not sure which updates will make the biggest impact on your commercial property? That's where our Green Team designers come in. They have lots of ideas, from creating the perfect workplace patio to designing tropical-inspired pots of exotic blooms. At Greenscape, we’re with you from the glimmer of an idea right through to expert, professional installation. Our team of creative designers will help you envision the custom details to make your commercial property stand out from your competitors. Experts in the latest landscaping trends, they design modern, appealing, irresistible spaces.

Then, our skilled, experienced crews will bring those great ideas to life. Your old building won’t know what hit it.

Once your updates are complete, we stick with you, providing expert landscape maintenance to keep your investment in impeccable shape.

We’d love to tell you more about the benefits you’ll see by updating your commercial property with current landscaping trends that are impossible to resist.

We’ve been meeting the full-service landscaping needs of commercial customers in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary areas for more than 35 years.

We offer landscape management and lawn care, design and build services, irrigation, landscape lighting and more.

Call us at 919-552-7742 or fill out our online form to request a free consultation and learn how we can transform your landscape with the latest trends.


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