Curb appeal! On HGTV when residential home remodeling is the focus, curb appeal is one of the first things presented as a sure-fire, instant value builder. The curb appeal of your business should be considered equally–if not more–important. Your exterior face-to-the-public is the first marketing tool you have to connect and confirm your potential client. If the general public or future customers pass by your place of business, do they notice your business at all? Does it catch their eye or engage them in any way? Worse, do they make a mental note that your place is not very attractive? Does your business have a strip foundation planting around the building with an assorted and disconnected bunch of shrubs sheared because they are threatening to grow over the windows?
Landscapes can and should be so much more. There are certainly some good examples of quality landscapes around the greater Lehigh and Berks counties. The vast majority of commercial landscapes are, sadly, just tired and old. When traveling to larger metropolitan areas, you will notice more businesses have invested in their landscapes to add that curb appeal. Your business could stand out in the crowd, be attractive to customers and gain more respect in the community with an updated look to the landscape design and installation around your building.
Create dimension to the landscape by bringing the plant material away from the building: place key island beds filled with color, texture and scale. Planting the right plant at the right place is important so that a few years from now, costly maintenance crews won’t have to be shearing shrubs that were the wrong choice in the first place. Adding color to the property in the form of flowering shrubs, herbaceous perennials or seasonal annuals makes an enormous difference in creating marketable visual impact as well as being just good planting design. Include both needled and broadleaf evergreen as important components of winter interest. Use a variety of textures and forms of leaves on the plants as well as the variety of shapes of shrubs to create a balanced design that catches attention when passing by. Feature ornamental trees that give height to the property as well as another season of colorful bloom during the year.
If your business is large enough to have a place for employees to spend their breaks and lunch outdoors, studies show that there is improved performance by adding the healthful benefit of being in a relaxing outdoor environment for a period of time. In addition to the evidence of reduced employee aggression, they are able to renew their sense of well-being and increase productivity. In medical studies, it has been shown that staff turnover decreases and staff satisfaction increases when a renewing place is created for employees to go outdoors to be refreshed. This helps the bottom line of your business. There are even clinical indicators of faster healing of patients in hospitals and health care facilities who look out onto green spaces instead of not having a window in their rooms.
The bottom line–investing in an attractive environment for your employees and potential customers will show that you are a leader in your profession and ultimately will pay off in a return on that investment.