Landscaping and Architecture: Unlocking the Essence of Creating Spaces to Enhance Your Building


Well-designed commercial landscaping can have a tremendous impact on commercial spaces, the businesses and organizations that occupy them, and the staff, residents, and visitors who use them every day.

Great commercial landscaping enhances the appearance of a building, making it more inviting. It can also create functional spaces such as patios, courtyards, and seating areas, extending the usable area of the building and providing places for relaxation, socializing, and holding meetings. It can even improve accessibility, making the outdoor spaces around a building easier to navigate.

When creating a commercial landscape design for a space, it is essential to evaluate its interior or exterior architectural elements in order to develop a solution that not only complements these features but also enhances them. In today’s post, we will explore the three areas that we consider when designing landscaping for a commercial property: aesthetics, layout and surroundings, and lighting and the environment.

Aesthetic Considerations

It is important to ensure that a commercial landscaping design complements the architectural style of the building.

These aesthetic considerations play a role in plant selections, ensuring the plantings complement the existing décor and color palette. They are also important in choosing items such as planters to create a seamless integration of these elements and a cohesive overall look.

We like to create strategic focal points that draw the eye and add interest to a space. These focal points might include a particularly beautiful tree or plant arrangement.

It is also important to plan for year-round visual appeal by selecting plants that provide seasonal interest. All our landscaping designs are based on a building’s style and the client’s preferences. Certain clients may prefer a “garden style” that creates open and airy spaces by using colorful and vibrant flowers. Other clients may prefer a sleeker style that utilizes plants with strong, distinctive shapes, such as snake plants, to create a clean and corporate look.

Layout and Surrounding Space

We begin any project by conducting a thorough analysis of the site, including the soil quality, drainage patterns, sun exposure, and existing vegetation. Understanding these factors is a crucial first step in creating a functional and sustainable landscape layout.

Every space is unique when it comes to landscaping design and requires a distinct approach. Some offer a “clean slate,” while others have an existing aesthetic that must be considered. For example, we worked on a rooftop space in Manhattan that started off as a blank canvas with no preexisting layout. We created a fully furnished garden area where people could go to relax, designing a functional yet aesthetically pleasing layout that worked with the available space.

Many landscaping decisions ultimately depend upon the purpose of the space. Is it a community area? A lobby? We always strive to create a “wow” factor, offering a great first impression for visitors but also a pleasant environment for those who work in the space every day.

Defining different functional zones within the landscape can be useful. For commercial buildings, this might include entryways, gathering spaces, quiet relaxation areas, and service areas (such as loading docks). It is important to be mindful of the space and ensure that any additions fit properly and do not create any obstructions. Less can be more here; do not overcrowd the space. The same applies to plant size selection, which must be carefully planned to create a balanced look. The key is to aim for focal points without creating congestion, ensuring a seamless flow through the area.

Certain areas within a space may also offer enough room to add visual focal points such as planters or trees. Features such as seating areas, recreation spaces, or garden beds can also present an opportunity for additional plantings if the conditions are suitable.


Lighting & Environment

The choices we make for the landscaping design of a space can be significantly influenced by both lighting and environmental conditions.

An indoor area is likely to receive less natural light and may be less affected by changes in the weather. Exterior spaces, on the other hand, typically receive more light but are also more exposed to weather conditions. Therefore, no matter the space, plants are chosen appropriately to ensure they can thrive in their environment.

When designing an outdoor space, the surrounding buildings are factored into the process. These can cast shadows throughout the day as the sun progresses from sunrise to sunset, limiting sunlight exposure. On the other hand, some gardens may be positioned so that plants are exposed to direct sunlight for all or a large part of the day. Changes in the seasons can also make a difference and are always considered.

For indoor spaces, we consider the amount of ambient light as well as artificial light present. Some plants, such as snake plants, are able to thrive in spaces with little to no natural light. Some lobby spaces can also become “wind tunnels” in the winter, trapping cold air that can negatively impact plants.

Start Your Commercial Landscaping Journey with Cambridge

At Cambridge, we offer a range of commercial landscaping design services throughout New York City and the tri-state area. We can assess your individual space and your organization’s needs to create beautiful, vibrant, and functional spaces that enhance the aesthetics of your space and that your colleagues, customers, and visitors will love.

To learn more about any of our services or to get started, please contact us today.

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