Commercial landscaping must look inviting, be easy to maintain, and be safe. Unfortunately, safety is sometimes overlooked in an effort to achieve only the first two of these goals. The following can help create a safer landscape for your business property.
1. Keep Walkways Open
Avoid the green aisle when it comes to landscaping near walkways and sidewalks. A row of hedges or other dense vegetation along a pathway will require constant maintenance to ensure branches don't overgrow onto the sidewalk and become a hazard. Further, dense vegetation on the side of a sidewalk can hide other hazards or make the sidewalk difficult to navigate, especially for those in wheelchairs or those who are pushing strollers. Instead, opt for either lawn or low-growing flower beds as a border for sidewalks.
2. Collect the Clippings
Grass clippings and fallen leaves shouldn't be left on commercial lawns. First and foremost, they are unattractive and can smother the grass beneath. Second, the clippings can be quite slippery when wet from irrigation or dew. If someone cuts across the lawn of your property, they are much more likely to slip if there are clippings or fallen leaves sitting on top of the wet grass.
3. Define Entranceways
Landscaping can be used to route people toward the entrance of your building, which reduces the risk of them wandering to parts of the property that aren't meant for customers. Framing the door with a large tree or topiary on either side, or perhaps pots of brightly colored flowers, catches the eye. Combine this with a well-defined path to the entrance, such as one lined in flower beds or low shrubs, and your customers will naturally know exactly where to go.
4. Block Hazards
Every property has a few exterior hazards that aren't always easy to see. For example, drainage culverts are often required, but they aren't necessarily safe to walk through. Plant cattails or other marsh-loving plants in the culvert to discourage people from walking through. You can also screen off items, like ground-based HVAC systems, with a wall of shrubs. Use thorny shrubs for areas where neither customers nor your maintenance crew need easy access.
5. Remove Messy Trees
Certain trees just aren't well suited to a commercial property. Trees that produce masses of messy fruits, like mulberries, don't just leave the sidewalk looking bad. The fallen fruits can pose a slip-and-fall hazard as well. Replace messy trees with low-mess varieties such as ornamental cherry.
Contact a commercial landscaping company for more tips on keeping your property attractive and safe.