If you could use your current landscape maintenance budget to do double duty, wouldn't you take that opportunity? After all, how smart would you look telling your boss that you were able to use your limited dollars to serve two purposes for your Northeast Ohio commercial property? Pretty smart, right?

That’s what sustainable landscaping practices can do for you.

Unsure of what makes a landscape improvement “sustainable?” Let’s review what types of outdoor areas qualify and look at some of the best ideas for your site to see if your property -- and budget -- could benefit.

What Do Sustainable Landscaping Ideas Do For You?

Sustainable landscaping services usually serve two important purposes on a commercial property.

First, they improve the environment. Designed and maintained attractively, a sustainable initiative should benefit not only the most immediate environment, but also the environment of the local community.

Second, a sustainable initiative should cut down on maintenance costs. Sustainable landscape management uses practices that minimize resources to reduce any negative environmental impact.

Here are 5 sustainable landscaping additions that can serve more than just one purpose for your Northeast Ohio commercial property.

1. Wildflower or Butterfly Gardens

While many people enjoy large expanses of turf, those areas do require quite a bit of upkeep during the growing season, including mowing, fertilization, and irrigation.

On the back areas of many larger commercial properties, some facility managers are opting to create bigger wildflower or butterfly gardens. These are natural spaces full of native plants, designed cleanly that attract a variety of species, including bees, butterflies, and birds.
Sustainable landscaping wildflower garden
Some facility managers have even been able to use these areas as places for on-site workers to enjoy or as educational areas on college campuses for the purpose of studying natural environments.

Not only does this sustainable landscaping idea improve the local environment, but it also cuts down on maintenance costs -- a win-win on both initiatives important to this movement.

2. Bioswales

One of the best ways to practice sustainable landscaping is to minimize water waste. Excessive water use can be one of the biggest costs in a commercial landscape, so reusing water, filtering water, or saving water can all be positive property perks.

Sometimes water can even become a safety hazard. The flow of stormwater can create standing water on your property that can breed mosquitoes, damage turf, and flood buildings if too close to your structures.

One way to manage stormwater is called a bioswale. By definition, this area is a ditch or swale that uses native plants and gravel to help slow water flowing off of parking lots and concrete paths, while being an aesthetically pleasing addition to a site.
Sustainable bioswale installation
Plants chosen for a bioswale are typically native, hardy, and strong-rooted perennials and ornamental grasses that offer a mix of color and variety. In addition to slowing water flow and fixing drainage issues, these sustainable landscaping practices require less maintenance and can boost safety on your commercial property.

Commercial properties that choose to add bioswales often have standing water or drainage issues they’d like to alleviate on their sites.

3. Prairie Grasses

Choosing the right plant material is super important when it comes to sustainable landscaping ideas. A plant should be low-maintenance, aid in water conservation, and perform well in the site’s specific climate and conditions.

For instance, there are many ornamental grasses that can make attractive choices for larger areas. They offer a great texture and even add interest from their movement in the wind. And they only require annual cutbacks for maintenance.Prairie grasses at Kent State University landscape

4. Rooftop Gardens

Many commercial properties struggle to make space for nice landscaping, especially if they are in a concrete urban jungle type environment.

Commercial office environments, for instance, want to create outdoor spaces for employees that work in the buildings to sit, relax, and even have lunch. If they don’t have the room outside their doors, sometimes looking up brings the solution.

More and more commercial businesses are converting their rooftops into small gardens and green spaces, allowing their tenants or employees a space to soak up the sun or take breaks amidst nature.

This sustainable landscaping initiative not only looks good, but also cools the building because of the shade the plants provide. In addition, that greenery improves air quality for all those nearby.

5. Dormant Pruning

pruning-beforeThink you can’t do anything to improve the landscaping on your commercial property in the winter months? Think again. Dormant pruning of trees and shrubs may seem like a regular maintenance task, but it does incredible amounts for boosting plant health and reducing maintenance on your site.

Dormant pruning is the practice of making more aggressive cuts to trees and shrubs while they are dormant between December and March because it causes less damage to the plants and reduces the size of them at the same time. This aids in tree health and eases maintenance, making it a healthy practice and sustainable landscaping task to boot.

Choose Sustainable Initiatives That Maximize Your Budget

Need some ideas to maximize your commercial landscaping budget and reduce maintenance on your property? Let some of these sustainable landscaping practices inspire you.

Whether you have a drainage issue to fix or an area that could do more for the environment, or you need to add more green space to your site, one of these ideas could fill the bill.

Still confused at how you can use your limited budget to cover two things with one landscape improvement? We get it; it’s tough to think about just getting your regular to-do list accomplished, let alone consider enhancements that could elevate your local reputation and environmental initiatives.

Let Turfscape help. We’d be happy to discuss some specific ideas that could improve your property, reduce your maintenance needs, and fit within your budget so you are the property hero. Request a proposal today. We’ll review your options together so you can make the best choice.

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Image Sources: Rooftop Garden, Wildflower Garden, Bioswale