The key to increasing your rental rates across both commercial and residential can be attribute to the quality of landscaping. Why is it that some people in good locations have a hard time to rent at higher rates whilst others have little to no issues? When I look at and speak to, clients across our wide breadth of total FM service contracts, they either tell me that they have little to no issues renting their apartments, or leasing their tenanted spaces of that they are struggling to find tenants that are willing to pay market rates. I realized that communities that focused on the role of landscaping as a selling tool were faring better than those which did not employ an often overlooked aspect of FM.
Through some digging around on the internet, I discovered that my suspicions were studied in a number of extensive research articles as far back as the early 1990s. These articles all focused on the impact that landscaping has on their ability to extract higher retail and rental rates/home sales. The impact on landscape across residential sales in many of these articles is varied, but in most cases is significant. Some articles include impacts of tree coverage to improve sales rates by 19%, whilst others studied ratings of landscaping across neighborhoods and compared properties with better landscaping versus those with poorer landscaping coverages, with estimates of sales price impacts in favour of the highly landscaped properties of 3-5% higher than their counterparts.
In one of the most recent studies some quantifiable data was presented that stated across 89 buildings in one major metropolitan area within the USA, that the landscaping can be directly related to a 7% increase in commercial leasing rates, but that this rate was highly dependent upon the design quality, but more importantly the maintenance of the landscaping had the biggest swinging factor on the capability for that particular property to be classified as a Class A, B, C… building. Simply put, it is not good enough to simply have proper landscape design it must also be matched with an efficient and effective maintenance plan that is adhered to and consistent.
Moving across to the impact of landscaping on my colleagues’ realm, it can also be noted in these studies the impact that tree cover has on the reductions in overall civil works via repainting and paint degradation (Cracking and discoloration) on the overall long term operational budget. Similarly, where shade cover of trees was designed and maintained properly, the reduction to cooling loads and impacts on greenhouse heat effect was less by 15%, and filtration of noise pollution was affected by nearly 20%. These three factors will have a direct impact to the building operational costs and the ability for those employees that utilize the offices or live in the buildings to have a positive work environment that is conducive to higher productivity levels, although that was not directly measured.
(The Author, Johnny Scrico is the Manager-Special Services at ServeU LLC)