Think landscape enhancements are luxury items? Unnecessary extras your budget can't bear?
Keith Updyke will change your mind.
Updyke, Greenscape, Inc.’s landscape construction branch manager, loves enhancements. Nothing brings more attention to a commercial property, he says.
Enhancements soften the landscape, boost curb appeal and entice people to stay awhile. They’re your commercial property’s impressive finishing touch.
“If you have an office building, a nice outdoor environment will attract employees,” Updyke says. “If you’re in retail, great landscaping will encourage new tenants to rent.”
Enhancements don't have to break the budget to create a huge impact on your commercial property.
Here’s a look at seven of Updyke’s personal favorites:
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 that Updyke considers one of their best projects of the year.
The 2,000-square-foot patio includes an elevated stage, tables and umbrellas in the heart of the bustling Cameron Village area.
“Number one, it’s a nice place for their employees to relax outside, eat their lunch, take a break,” Updyke says. “People are more productive when they can get outside.”
The 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.
The icing on the cake: vintage-style string lights that criss-cross overhead, adding an instant festive vibe.
“You see those lights and you think, ‘Somebody’s having fun over there — I want to go check it out,’” Updyke says.
“Once you see this patio,” he says, “you'll want one.”
Of course, not every company can afford such an elaborate project. No worries. Even a small hardscape project can make a big impact.
“Hardscape is great for apartment complexes, because so many people can immediately use it,” Updyke says. “You can add patio space around outdoor grills, or increase the usable deck space around the pool.”
Even a small courtyard with a couple benches and some potted plants soften a retail space and encourage people to linger, Updyke says.
“The idea,” he says, “is to encourage people to spend as much time at your place as possible.”
See The Light
Light for safety, light for aesthetic appeal, but, whatever you do, light, Updyke says.
“If you look at two buildings, side by side, and one has landscape lighting, that one is obviously much more attractive,” he says.
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.
Lighting The Landscape
Don’t keep your trees, shrubs and plants in the dark. Expert landscape lighting creates lovely, warm, ambient lighting that highlights the tree canopy, casts artistic shadows and features your property’s prettiest plants.
Lighting is artistry, Updyke says, and requires a professional design plan.
“Anybody can just slap some lighting in,” he says, “but there are a lot of technical aspects involved to make it look great.”
Lighting is a no-brainer for retail spaces, office buildings, apartment complexes and HOAs, Updyke says, but Greenscape has also installed lighting for companies that run 24-hours a day, with round-the-clock shifts.
“If you have employees who come in at midnight, you don’t want them pulling into a dark parking lot when they come to work,” he says.
And, Poof — Grass!
There’s nothing like a new carpet of lush green lawn. But you’re impatient. Who has time to wait for it to grow?
“If you have a big event, or the property owner is going to visit and you need things to look great, sod offers wonderful short-term impact,” Updyke says. “It’s an easy way to make things look nice quickly.”
But here in the heat of North Carolina, sod is tricky, Updyke says.
“New sod needs to go in during the spring or fall, when the temperature is more moderate, or it has to have irrigation,” Updyke says. “If you just put down sod and walk away, it’s going to die.”
No budget for in-ground irrigation?
Greenscape operates 2,000-gallon mobile watering trucks that can keep your new sod happy.
The Instant Impact Of Green
Shade trees, pretty flowering shrubs, unique foliage — it all makes a stunning difference, Updyke says.
“It’s difficult to explain to a person who isn't horticulturally motivated what an impact trees and plants make,” he says. “When you see a place that’s either been poorly planted or it’s never been planted and is barren, then you add some big trees, some plants around the entrances, some mulch — it’s amazing.”
Plants have a life span, just like we do, Updyke says. They don't last forever.
“Maybe the person who designed the property put sun-loving plants in the shade and they died,” he says. “We see that happen a lot.”
Time for replacements.
There’s a lot of building going on in the Raleigh area, he says, which means many commercial properties are expanding their space.
That new real estate needs trees, shrubs and plants to soften the hardscape, add shade and appeal.
“Not only do trees and plants add huge impact, but they go in very quickly,” Updyke says. “We can install a typical project in two days.”
The Value of Plants — From Inside
Adding trees and shrubs adds obvious impact on the outside of a commercial property, Updyke says, but don't forget the value it adds from the inside.
“Your building is being pelted by the sun and by 90-degree temperatures all day,” he says. “If, instead, it’s nestled among some trees, you’re going to feel the impact of that inside as well.”
For one thing, your air conditioning won't have to work as hard, saving money on your bill.
“People working inside won't have to close their blinds to keep the blinding sun out,” he says. “They can keep them open and enjoy the view.”
Greenscape is the go-to company for transforming commercial properties with the color and beauty of flowers.
“We have one of the best floriculture programs in the market,” Updyke says.
Our creative designers can boost the appeal of your front entrance with vibrant beds of colorful flowering plants that offer instant cheer. Large planters brimming with colorful annuals and exotic blooms — think palms, bird of paradise, hibiscus, shrimp plant, elephant ears and dramatic ornamental grasses — look impressive flanking an entrance or softening a hardscape patio.
Vinca, lantana and begonias pack a colorful, attention-grabbing punch around signage, but are low enough so they don't obstruct it.
People notice color. Keep visitors impressed and intrigued by changing your colorful flowers and plants with the seasons.
Exotic tropicals in the summer months love our North Carolina heat and offer a tropical vacation feel — and who doesn’t love vacation?
Wow your winter-weary springtime visitors with impressive masses of red and yellow tulips.
In autumn, ornamental cabbage and kale perk up beds and planters with interesting frilly leaves in green and purple, cream and pink.
Or, opt for one of our best-known floral features — an innovative “living wall.” These impressive vertical gardens turn blank walls into colorful, creative works of art so unique, people pose with them for selfies. Instant advertising.
If you’ve been neglecting your mulch, assuming it can keep hanging in there, year after year, it shows.
“Mulch breaks down,” Updyke says. “The sun bleaches it out. When it gets thin, weeds start to sprout. Grass creeps in.”
Chances are, it’s time for a fresh bed of mulch.
“Mulch or pine straw — we use both — adds immediate impact,” Updyke says. “It keeps your plant’s roots cool, keeps moisture in the soil, keeps the weeds down. It’s very functional — and man, does it make a huge aesthetic impact when it goes down.
“Your grass looks greener — even though it isn’t,” he says. “Your flowers look brighter.”
Mulch is among the most reasonably priced landscape enhancements out there, Updyke says, with big results.
A Word About Safety
Sure, you think about looks when you ponder enhancements. What will make your commercial property stand out from the crowd? Attract visitors? Inspire a few “wows?” Make the neighbors jealous?
But don't forget safety, Updyke says.
“If you have an office building, are there tree branches blocking the lights in your parking lot?” he says. “Are overgrown bushes creating the perfect spot for people to loiter? Are your parking lot sight lines blocked?”
Rejuvenation pruning is an enhancement that can solve a number of safety issues, Updyke says.
“People who design retail spaces often think only about 10 years ahead when they consider the growth of the plants,” he says. “A lot of properties are older than that, and could need to rip out the old, overgrown landscaping and replace it.”
Trust Your Commercial Landscape Enhancements To Greenscape
Landscape enhancements add that extra oomph to your commercial property, setting it apart from the other buildings on the block.
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 adding drifts of dramatic seasonal color to soften a sea of concrete to creating a welcoming, appealing seating area that encourages visitors to relax and linger — and maybe even shop a while longer.
We’d love to tell you more.
We’ve been meeting the full-service landscaping needs of commercial and residential 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.
We can't wait to hear from you.