Creative commercial landscaping concepts

While we generally share residential design and styling tips on the blog, we know a number of our readers also have commercial properties. With ‘motel renovation’ being on our bucket list, this is a bit of a self indulgent article where we’re sharing our favourite creative commercial landscaping concepts. It’s all in the name of research, ha ha.

So whether you’ve got a commercial building of your own or want to daydream with us, today we’re delving into ways to enhance the aesthetic appeal of these outdoor spaces. Remember, a meticulously designed and well-maintained garden goes beyond mere aesthetics but can also be functional — enhancing a building’s passive design, and provide privacy, direction and interconnection.

Related article: 10 common landscaping mistakes and how to avoid them
Related article: How to affordably landscape your garden: Get the biggest wow factor on the smallest budget

Outdoor patio design
Landscaping by Myles Baldwin Design via Est

Define zones and paths

Just like with interior design, when it comes to landscaping design, it’s important to start with function first. How do you want to use your outdoor space and how can you create zones to support these activities?

Outdoor commercial landscaping zones could include:

  • courtyard areas for employees to work or eat outside
  • outdoor bench seats or lounge areas
  • shaded areas
  • outdoor kitchen or BBQ
  • garden planting or planter boxes
  • grassed areas
  • water feature/s
  • parking
  • entrance/s.

Consider sketching mud maps or creating bubble diagrams of these zones. Play around with ideas to see how they flow and interplay. It’s important to keep orientation in mind to understand what areas get direct sunlight at different times of the day.

Once you’re happy with your design, you can begin defining zones with hard materials, like retaining walls and paths. Use the fundamental landscape design elements of line, colour, texture, form and visual weight to determine the best hardscaping layout, placement and material finishes.

Example of landscape design
Example of landscape design via Austin Design Works

Design outdoor work and relaxation spaces

Some of your outdoor zones will require greater design input. In particular, outdoor work and relaxation spaces will need you to develop a materials palette and consider functional elements like appropriate shade. While each of these zones will be a mini design project in its own right, they should all speak to the overall landscaping design.

If you’re creating an outdoor work space, equip the zone with outdoor tables and benches amidst landscaped greenery. Think about how you can add comfort for the different times of year, such as outdoor heaters and fans. Integrating an outdoor power supply so employees or guests can recharge devices is a bonus.

We also love the idea of atriums and open-air enclosed spaces, seamlessly integrating the workplace with the outdoors. Sure it’s a big investment but there’s plenty of research to support the positive impact of nature on creativity and overall well-being.

Paleco outdoor work space
Outdoor work pods at Patelco Credit Union Headquarters via Hok

Add instant visual appeal with lush greenery

With your commercial landscape design in place, it’s time to colour it in with planting. Consider the different layers of planting — trees, shrubs and ground cover. Adding greenery will instantly transform your commercial property and give it visual impact.

Planting not only adds texture but also creates an aesthetically pleasing environment for your employees and visitors. You can also use plants strategically to provide privacy and enhance passive design. For example, lining the west side of your building with deciduous trees will block harsh sunlight in summer and in winter when they lose their leaves will allow sunlight into your building. This helps to regulate indoor temperatures and reduce energy costs.

Another strategic placement of trees is to plant them along paths or outdoor seating areas to offer shade and create comfortable spaces for relaxation.

Consider your ecological footprint when selecting plants. Opt for plants native to your region and prioritise low-water varieties. You can also harness the power of water management by implementing improved irrigation methods, such as efficient drip systems, to promote environmental sustainability.

Introduce colour with flowering plants

Technically this is part of planting but it’s so often overlooked that we felt it needed its own section. Different plants flower at different times of the year and one of the most common landscaping mistakes people make is to only consider one season. There’s no point having a stunning commercial garden in spring if it looks sparse and bare in autumn and winter.

Before locking in your plant selection, talk with a professional or do your research to understand how your garden will look in different seasons. Consider incorporating a variety of blooms such as hibiscus, elephant ears, vinca, lantana, and begonias to create a dynamic and visually stimulating environment around signs and entryways. Also be sure to include some evergreen options and add a mix of plants that bloom at different times. This will keep the landscape dynamic and in harmony with the changing seasons.

Health is wealth neon sign wall
Health is wealth neon sign in green wall via Treesy Green

Invest in signage

Your landscape design is more than just paths and plants — it’s everything that makes up the visual look and feel of your outdoor space. And this includes signage!

Signage can reinforce your brand identity and help visitors understand direction. Consider it an opportunity to not only be functional but an opportunity to seriously enhance your outdoor space and create a striking first impression.

The best signage we’ve seen is seamlessly integrated into the design rather than added as an afterthought. Consider transforming a blank outdoor wall into a vertical garden with a catchy neon sign in the centre. Or elevating the impact of your signage by surrounding it with a vibrant floral and shrub design. The possibilities are endless!

By incorporating these landscaping strategies, you not only enhance the visual appeal of your commercial building but also establish a welcoming atmosphere that resonates with anyone entering your property. What are some of the best or most creative commercial landscaping ideas you’ve seen? Share them below!

More landscaping ideas and inspo

Gina Beschorner Style Curator

Welcome to Style Curator, your destination for daily interiors inspiration, styling tips, reno advice, home tours and DIY projects!

We're on a mission to help you create a home you love. And with plenty of tips and tricks, tutorials and other home inspo, we give you all the tools to achieve it!

I’m Gina, Founder and Interior Designer, and you can read more about Style Curator here.


Get the best of the blog to your inbox each week PLUS instant access to our free downloads!

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.
    Interior style quiz

    Shop our fave online stores

    As seen in

    Style Curator in the media


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here