Guide to Commercial Landscape Design

Commercial landscape design is a unique specialism that requires not only creativity and landscaping expertise but also extensive project management knowledge and experience. Graduate Landscape have been manging and developing high quality commercial landscape design projects for many years. This guide to commercial landscape design offers an insight in to the key aspects of a successful commercial landscape design project.


There is an extensive range of workplace legislation which needs to be adhered to, Health and Safety is one of the most important. Managing Health and Safety on a busy site with other trades working alongside can be tricky. Each trade has their own priorities and deadlines so you need to work together and communicate to ensure everyone reaches their goals in a safe manner. Environmental regulations like noise pollution or waste production are also important. Landscape designers need to be vigilant of the environmental impact they and other trades working nearby have on the quality of the soil through contamination and compaction. It’s not just Health and Safety legislation designers need to be aware of, planning conditions and local authority requirements for the space are just as important. Failing to meet these could jeopardise the whole project, so it’s key to have a good knowledge and understanding of all these regulations.

Small budget, big impact

Budgets can sometimes be restrictive as commercial projects by their nature are profit driven. Green space in a project has a strong visual impact, and can heavily influence the appeal to the end customer. Commercially driven projects must justify every penny spent, making sure there is a good amount of return on the investment. Balancing all these factors can be a challenge, but there is always room for unique ideas. A skilled experienced commercial landscape designer can work within budget restrictions. A designer with expertise can create a stunning landscape which will add kerb appeal and visually improve an area, whilst still meeting the required budget.

Hitting the brief

It’s essential to work with the client to produce a targeted brief and ensure this is met throughout. The brief needs to establish the scope, parameters and longevity of the project ensuring it’s realistic in terms of ultimate cost. Every commercial client is different so it’s important to understand the specific requirements to create a bespoke solution. Communicating the brief to everyone involved ensures everyone is working together with a shared goal. Keep checking to ensure you are staying on target to hit the brief at each stage through to completion.

Delivering on time

Landscape designers must ensure work is completed on time and deadlines are met. Clear schedules and realistic timescales will help manage the project and make sure you stay on track. There is often a narrow window of opportunity between building, construction and completion of a scheme, getting timing right is critical. Sometimes the landscape design will need to be concentrated at certain times of the year to coincide with the projected opening of a building. Landscape designers have to skilfully respond swiftly to changing situations and a degree of flexibility is required to fit in with other priorities on site. When managing a design project, you need to be able to work alongside site and project managers to gain maximum production on site, communicating to all parties at all times. Keep checking deadlines are met in a timely manner throughout and ensure you are on schedule to deliver on time.

Creative use of space

Space on a commercial site is generally maximised for saleable assets whilst landscaping space is minimised. Landscape designers need to be clever and creative in their designs. Its good practice to create an adaptable landscape as the final occupier is unknown, so you want a design which will have longevity whilst allowing people to leave their own mark. It’s important to appeal to a wide range of people whilst conveying the right image for the commercial client. Low benches and rockery can be considered for a calm tranquil space, or in contrast, animated fountains can add an element of action and fun. For uniqueness, to emphasise green credentials and promote sustainability, green roofs and green walls can be added. Understanding how people will engage with the space is important, the client might want features like seating and tables so people can stop and enjoy the outside space or a minimalist approach to allow people to flow through. Creativity is essential in meeting these requirements and developing a design which fits the required space whilst looking aesthetically pleasing.

Easy to maintain

Finally, any landscaping for a commercial site needs to be easy to maintain. The site might be maintained by a company who has a limited budget for professional gardening, or the site might be handed over to a private client who might require an easy to maintenance outdoor space. Ultimately, the easier the landscaping is to maintain, the better it will look in the long run. It’s important to keep the maximum visual impact and the ever important kerb appeal throughout the life of the project.