Facilities Landscaping Trends: A Larger Focus on Sustainability

Facilities management includes a wide range of services, operations, and activities that seek to improve the use of facilities and create better experiences for occupants. It is easy for Facility Managers to grow overly focused on buildings and forget the value of effective landscaping. Throughout 2020, a resurgence of interest in landscaping will lead to more opportunities for sustainable facilities management and promote the continuation of integrated facilities. To unlock that goal, Facilities Managers must understand the forces behind sustainable landscaping trends and how to align their organizations with the top trends in the industry. 

Driving Forces of Sustainable Facilities Landscaping Trends

Significant forces are pushing more Facilities Managers to rethink standards for landscaping. Governments have implemented new regulations, primarily local regulations, that govern what facilities can and cannot do with respect to landscaping. Meanwhile, customers and building users, such as patients, students, and shoppers, also play a role in driving sustainable landscaping in facilities management. The moral conscious of society demands more businesses to embrace sustainable landscaping, and sustainability will naturally lend itself to improvements and cost efficiency and lower total cost of ownership of facilities. Sustainability in and outside of the facility also plays a role in the skills and capabilities of building occupants. As reported by the Aramark Top 20 Facilities Management Trends for 2020 Report:

“Research funded by United Technologies found employees in green building environments scored 61% higher in cognitive function than when breathing conventional building air.” 

What will happen? While improving the state of indoor air quality through proactive HVAC work order management is nice, Facilities Managers will need to think more about how to bring guests outdoors and into their sun-bathed facilities. More facilities will move their purposes outdoors—renewing the need for quality, usable landscaping. 

The Leading Facilities Landscaping Trends

The top facilities landscaping trends are helping organizations look to sustainability and improve building occupant/user experiences. Across the spectrum of industries, such as health facilities, school campuses, retail shopping centers, public buildings, and more, the modern customer or user wants an enjoyable, pleasant, and engaging experience. Since the grounds are the first thing anyone sees when visiting your facility, it is important to understand the top trends affecting landscaping. 

  • More Facilities Managers will plant a purpose to benefit the environment and promote sustainability, says Facility Executive.
  • Take advantage of existing plants and trees, reducing disruption to the environment.
  • Simplification of landscaping will promote more attractive facilities. 
  • Flexibility is going to be the name of the game for landscapes.
  • Data-driven landscaping will lower waste and improve sustainability along the way.

Tips to Align Your Company With the Trends

Finding the right path to leverage those facilities landscaping trends is not always easy. Anyone can claim to plant sustainable shrubs, trees, and flowers, but what does an organization do to really make an impact and lower environmental costs? To answer those questions, consider following these tips:

  • Consider thinking about plants that require less water; avoid the temptation to trash all green materials. 
  • Revisit the existing landscape with a focus on how to reduce waste, such as adding rubber mulch that won’t decay with time. 
  • Simplify facilities with fewer ornamental shrubs and trees, focusing more on simple, easy-to-care-for, and self-maintaining grasses or plants.
  • Always think about how the environment may change, so adjust facilities landscaping trends’ planning to account for local changes in weather patterns and more. 
  • Use actionable data to understand the costs versus benefit of all landscaping decisions, such as the weekly water costs for keeping an oak versus a flowering shrub thriving. 

Unlock Greater Efficiency, Curb-Appeal, and Savings With Integrated Facilities Landscaping

More efficient use of the facility grounds will improve the value of your buildings and encourage users to enjoy the outdoors too. While some parts of the country continue to live in cold, spring is mere weeks away. Everyone is ready for the steps back into the outside, and your facilities must reflect the need for people to connect with the outdoor environment. Plus, creating a seamless, positive experience between the indoor and outdoor aspects of your facilities will set your organization apart and build more brand value. 

Eric Crabb

Eric Crabb