We’ve all seen them: lifeless, dull office landscapes that don’t add any beauty or value to the property. They’re practically everywhere you turn—but these outdoor areas are full of opportunities to add functional space that employees and guests will love.
It’s a fact that being outdoors provides many health benefits, so making your office landscape more beautiful and functional—and encouraging employees to get outside a few times a day—can actually boost morale. It’s also a great way to attract prospective employees, and to make your property more sustainable by enhancing air quality and fostering wildlife. (And don’t forget, indoor plants are great for employee health and morale, too!)
If you’re looking to improve your office landscape, here are five ways to add both function and beauty:
Plant a garden. Whether you want color-coordinated flowers, shrubs, or even vegetables and herbs, planting a garden is an excellent teambuilding exercise that provides ongoing benefits. Gardens don’t have to take up much space—even a 4’ x 4’ area can be big enough—and asking employees to take a few minutes to care for plants will encourage them to get outside more. Simply having a garden to enjoy can go a long way toward making employees happier.
Add lighting. It’s true that employees aren’t usually at the office during early morning or evening hours—but chances are good you still have some traffic in and out of your building during those times of day. Outdoor landscape lighting will help those early birds and night owls feel more secure, and will also allow them to enjoy the property even when it’s dark outside. Well-placed lighting can also add curb appeal, and can actually increase property value.
Plant more trees. Something about being around big, beautiful trees just makes us feel good. If your office property doesn’t have many trees, you can always add them—or if you’re lucky enough to have a forested area already, create a walking path. If you’re limited on real estate, consider putting small potted trees on balconies or along walkways. Also, consider planting coniferous trees: They’re great for blocking wind and adding shade, and you won’t have to worry about cleaning up leaves in the fall.
Build paths, walkways, benches, and gathering areas. Helping your employees and guests navigate your property with walkways—and having comfortable places to sit and relax—is key to getting the most from your landscape. You can make sitting areas out of large natural objects like stones, or you can build and install benches or seats to give your employees a place to enjoy lunch, or to take a breather from the busy work day. Paths can be made with gravel, concrete, brick, stone, mulch, or with interlocking pavers (which are a great choice for both homeowners and businesses). Another perk about paths and walkways is that they can provide a quick and easy way for employees to get exercise.
Add water features. Water features are often a finishing touch for outdoor spaces, and can work well as a focal point of well-designed landscapes. In addition to providing a peaceful place to congregate and talk, fountains also add movement and sound, which make your property more unique and appealing. Keep in mind that fountains require less maintenance than ponds, but ponds can be great if you want to be around wildlife like fish and birds. Just remember to drain and turn off your water features during winter months!
Improving your office landscape using the ideas above is a win-win for everyone: Employees are happier, your property value increases, and everybody gets more functional space to enjoy. You can always start small—maybe with a small garden or a few trees—and slowly improve your landscape over time with other features. And don’t feel limited by the suggestions in this post—there are thousands of creative ways to make your office landscape more appealing!
If you’re looking for assistance coming up with ways to enhance your landscape with functionality and beauty, we’d love to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.