A good property manager is always looking for ways to improve a building’s value. With so much attention devoted to the building itself, it’s easy to overlook the value of enhancing a property’s grounds. However, there are a number of cost-effective ways to do so; and we expect many to be a part of the top summer landscaping trends of 2017.
Here’s a look at a few of the ROI-enhancing summer landscaping trends that are expected to gain popularity this year—you may want to give them a try!
Programmable Green Space
This landscaping trend has been popular for a few years, but we’re starting to see it grow in popularity now that more Millennials are forgoing homeownership in favor of renting. Programmable green space can be used for a range of activities, from cookouts to flag football, a Frisbee tournament or a family picnic. Programmable green space is particularly important for city dwellers, as it evokes the sense of a yard for renters living in a concrete jungle.
We like this landscaping trend because it’s relatively low-cost and can be repurposed in creative way. Not every building owner has a large courtyard to repurpose as programmable green space—and that’s okay. Even the smallest plot of land can be enhanced with open green space. Just make sure that it’s designed to be inviting to residents, and that they know that it’s intended for their enjoyment.
As an added benefit, programmable green space can serve as a buffer between buildings, increasing the perception of privacy and combatting the feeling of claustrophobia that’s common in dense urban areas.
Boulders, stones, sculptures, and pavers can be more expensive on the front end than other landscaping materials, but we love these features because they are low-maintenance and long-lasting. Hardscape elements tend to look attractive regardless of the season or their age.
The same is true of an outdoor patio. Whether it’s made from concrete or individually placed pavers, a well-designed patio can draw residents to an underutilized space. Create a warm, welcoming environment by adding outdoor furniture and grills. This will help to create a sense of community, no matter the size of your residential property.
Just be sure to care for outdoor furniture properly! Replace fabric on cushions, throw pillows, and umbrellas to make the area feel fresh, inviting, and clean at a low cost. Adding a colorful outdoor rug is another easy, inexpensive way to make the space feel comfortable. Thanks to advancements in technology, there are plenty of outdoor fabrics to choose from that are both fade-resistant and waterproof.
Sustainable landscaping features aren’t some fad that only pertains to property owners in hot, arid parts of the U.S. Indeed, mainstream sustainability is taking root in every part of the country; and as a result, it’s a landscaping trend we expect to see in abundance this summer.
Low-maintenance gardens involving drought-tolerant plants are becoming the norm. Many residents now assume that sustainable features will be a major part of a building’s design—for both economic and environmental reasons. For instance, plants should be chosen not just for their beauty, but also for their ability to withstand dry summers and cold, wet winters, depending on your climate.
Property managers should consider other sustainable elements, too. Outdoor furniture made from natural or repurposed materials is becoming more popular. Some popular materials include teak, eucalyptus, acacia, bamboo, and recycled metal and plastic. In addition, you should consider incorporating LED lighting, water-efficient irrigation, and permeable pavers. Remember: sustainability is not an all-or-nothing proposition; do what you can now, and add on over time.
Edible Plants, Front and Center
Just because your property doesn’t have traditional areas to landscape doesn’t mean you can’t add some outdoor gardening features for residents. A growing number of people are interested in caring for community gardens that produce fruit, vegetables, and herbs to share between neighbors. Many of these plants are also aesthetically beautiful, such as lavender. People want to know where their food comes from; and providing green thumbs with an edible garden to supervise achieves a number of goals in one fell swoop.
Small, edible gardens are great because you don’t even need much land to make them work. Vertical gardens are growing in popularity, as are rooftop and balcony gardens. The key to success is choosing an area that is best suited for the plants that you want to grow. The area should get ample sunlight, be protected from strong winds, and have access to sufficient water and drainage. Some suggest planting surrounding flora that attracts pollinators as a way of increasing your garden’s harvest.
Consider adding a space for composting as well. Place a large composting bin outside, and send around a fact sheet for residents that explains the benefits of composting, such as reduced waste and the ability to create fertile soil for the edible garden you’ve created.
Building a Sense of Community
Building owners and property managers have often overlooked the importance of outdoor areas. Consider this, however: not only do landscaping trends beautify your property, but the ideas we’ve outlined also build a sense of community between residents. Whether you tend to two units or two hundred, these landscaping trends can be used to draw residents to one another—and to your properties. The more connected that residents feel, the happier they are, and the more likely they are to stay. So this season, think outside of the box to enhance ROI.