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Floors vs plants

It may not be the easiest decision to make: floors or plants? But if you keep the basics of good commercial landscape design in mind, it may lead you to the decision that suits your client’s brand.

Commercial landscape design

Landscape design should enhance the overall look and image of the building, but the design elements should also serve a functional purpose. To make the space work for you, think about how people to interact with the property and what you want them to think about the brand or company. This may also be your answer to the choice of exterior floors or plants.

Evoking the right brand message with exterior flooring

Landscape design is an advantage if you are leaning towards landscape and plants rather than flooring:

  1. It can enhance the brand by conveying the right message. To evoke an image, whether it be soothing, healing, sustainable, fun, professional or edgy, there are landscape elements that can translate that idea. Examples include Zen features for soothing spaces; dancing fountains for fun outdoor spaces; native grasses and wildflower plantings and green roofs for sustainability-focused buildings, or minimalist geometric plant designs for edgy businesses.
  2. The setting created can help people engage with the business. It can either encourage them to stay longer or it can keep them moving along. If you add benches, tables & chairs, fountains and low walls for seating, people will stay and enjoy the outdoor space. Many businesses and hospitality venues have found success creating more elaborate outdoor lounge areas with fire pits and lawn games to encourage people to stay longer.
  3. The design can direct the flow of traffic. Most businesses want to direct people to entrances and this can be done by highlighting the entrance points with plants and trees through the creation of paths and walkways lined with shrubs or trees, or by using brick or stone wall features.
  4. If your exterior design makes a bold statement, it can attract people to your business. The opposite is true too; if there is little to no shade, if there is no pizazz to the space or things aren’t well maintained, you can turn people away.
  5. Accentuate the architecture with landscaping. Add drama to the front entrance with careful colour and texture choices. Don’t forget the beauty plants can bring inside. Interior plant design, can add drama to courtyards and atriums.
  6. Conserve water and energy. Design your exterior space so that it contributes to energy saving by shading your building in the summer and blocking harsh winds in winter. Adding a green roof to your building helps control water run-off and reduces heating and cooling costs.


When planning the design, it is important to keep the scale of trees as well as their placement in mind. These plants will continue to grow and influence the landscape when they reach maturity. Thus it is important to keep the bigger picture in mind. Apart from how these plants will look once mature, some plants require a lot more water and maintenance, so also keep that in mind to suit your ideal design. Ensure that you will be able to keep the area healthy and looking good or consider a maintenance contract and leave the care to the pros. A landscape professional can also advise you on lower-maintenance plants and trees and ones that will help provide the functional benefits you desire .

Full acknowledgment and thanks go to for the information in this editorial.

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