Particularly now, public and commercial building decision makers hesitate to add landscaping, aside from grass and a few shrubs, when contemplating renovation or construction of a new building. They think of these features as extraneous and find it difficult to imagine a “value-added” benefit. A few facts and figures may help to transform their thinking.
Particularly where renovation is the objective, landscaping can add anywhere from 5% to 11% to property value at the time it’s installed. In the long run, however and with consistent maintenance, good landscaping is an investment that easily overtakes the highest performing stock over 10 years.
According to J. William Thompson and Kim Sorvig, authors of “Sustainable Landscape Construction: A Guide to Green Building Outdoors,”
“Developers interviewed for the study [conducted by Texas A & M Horticultural Sciences, 1999], indicated 5 percent increase in value for individual gardens and 20 percent increase for public landscape amenities affecting the whole development (this increase equals six times the extra construction cost for the amenities). Presumably, these figures relate to newly installed landscaping.”
This resource (as well as the study it cites) is valuable for its’ thorough examination of landscape value and well worth obtaining in any effort to support installation. An additional fact claims that landscaping, in general, extends its value to surrounding properties and improves the reputation of the “neighborhood,” according to experts cited.
Landscaping has Obvious Value to Architects and Landscape Architects
Recognizing that landscape design is an integral part of the building design, designers have difficulty imagining the building without it. Nevertheless, that’s precisely the effective approach these professionals should take when the subject is raised. A simple contrast can be a dynamic visual aid in showing how landscaping can complete—and “complete” is the key word—the design. This strategy is more likely to succeed when working with government decision makers.
For the owner of a business or commercial enterprise, and particularly apartment complexes, a winning strategy would involve relating landscaping to the owner’s business, or commercial enterprise in the same sense that their efforts to demonstrate how additional features improves their product or service to benefit of their client or customer. Again, using illustrations to show how this happens—with exterior circulation flow or friendly seating opportunities—it could be vital to illustrate how landscaping introduces important visitors to a prestigious environment.
Estimating the Construction Budget
The first opportunity to discuss landscaping occurs when budget figures are calculated. It can be shown that while the value of construction diminishes the value of landscaping increases. Include the figure of 20% if estimating a public building. With today’s focus on Green design, show landscaping as a Life Cycle Cost to demonstrate its value-added Green benefit to the whole design. If the owner is interested in Green Design, this knowledge becomes a major consideration and could make a difference in the decision-making process. Most unequivocally, this is an opportunity to reinforce building design with context and shouldn’t be relegated to a last-minute decision.