When you think landscaping, you probably don’t think of a swanky Chicago co-op or condo high-rise building. After all, landscaping is typically reserved for suburban homes where there is rolling turf, strategically placed trees, sprawling flower beds and maybe even a gazebo or fountain. No doubt about it that greenery and other design elements add to a home’s curb appeal and, in a slowly-improving economy, curb appeal increase value and attracts buyers.
But take a closer look at the outside of that same co-op or condo building and you’ll see that exterior landscaping is a vital part of the building’s look. Whether it’s curbside planters, historic shutters that complement the building’s veneer or dramatic lighting that draws attention to a unique aspect of the façade, there are ways to landscape the building outside that draw its attention to passersby.
Experts agree that landscaping makes a good first impression and increases the value of any building. If the exterior and the plants look good, people will think that the community is being taken care of and residents will want to live there.
Planning a Picturesque Exterior
With any spring project, sprucing up the building’s exterior starts with planning. “Generally you have a client and they come to you looking for ideas, they usually know basics but that’s it,” says Glenn Broadfield, account manager at Landscape Concepts Management in Chicago. “I try to scope out what their limitations are. Do they want to do something that is a seasonal change or something that is more sustainable, which would be shrubs and perennials. Then I find out what is their budget. Sometimes people will say ‘I want an English garden but my budget is $1,000.’ So that’s not going to happen. You have to find out what their expectations are and then realistically meet them. Theme, goal and budget are the three most important things when it comes to landscaping.”
“There are a few parameters we like to follow when planning for greenery for our clients,” adds Suzanne Coventry, LEED Green Associate, ISA Certified Arborist and account manager for ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance in East Dundee. “One, location, exposure and care; what is the exposure from the sun, elements and or sidewalk traffic. Will there be children and pets? Location, who will see it? Is it at an entry or secondary focal area. Two is budget. The best way to handle this to be honest with what you want to spend. It helps us and you. Three, the most important one of all; walk your client through images, plants, pots and flowers. A picture is really worth a thousand words.”