From property owners to property managers, many of our commercial clients ask us about ways to make their landscaping more sustainable. Not only is sustainable landscaping easier to maintain, but it can use less water and is better for the environment.

Here are four sustainable commercial landscaping trends we expect to see in Northwest Florida in 2016.

Native-Plant Landscape Design

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Both commercial and residential clients are opting for more native Florida plantings, especially for properties that don’t have a lot of turf. And some commercial clients with turf choose to use native plants in specific areas instead of turf.  

Native plants are ones that are indigenous to the area and thrive here. One advantage is that they’re more drought tolerant. Once a plant is established, you can minimize the watering, depending on the season. This is a big cost savings.

Some native plants to consider are the trees like the Oak, Magnolia and Sable Palm. Native shrubs include the Wax Myrtle, Hollies like the Yaupon Holly, Saw Palmetto and hearty grasses like Muhly grass. These plants have a more natural plant color palate, with fewer flowers and more green, earthy tones. You won’t have pops of color like you do with plants that have colorful flowers.

Plants to avoid for sustainable landscaping includes anything with large leaves. These leaves retain water and need water to survive. Also avoiding plantings that flower heavily is a sustainable step forward, as it takes water to bud those flowers and also to survive.

Moving To Drip-Based Irrigation

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Water conservation is of course important in sustainability. We’re using fewer spray heads in commercial landscape irrigation, and moving to drip-based systems.

In the past, sprays and rotors were used to maintain turf areas. The drip-based irrigation systems save water, partly because they’re not watering the pine straw and dirt, but rather targeting the plants that need it.

Using zone separation, we can make sure grass requiring more water gets that, and plants needing less get what they need. We can modify the schedule depending on the season and how established the plants are.

Incorporating Rain Sensors

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Rain sensors are important for commercial properties in addition to residential. Residential communities often require rain sensors, which are programmed to halt watering if there’s rain or adequate moisture in the lawn.

Today's sensors are also much more discreet than their predecessors. Hard wiring, mounting and hiding are non-issues.

Thanks to advancements in technology, sensors can be wireless and even managed remotely (from a smartphone, for example), giving property managers and commercial landscapers the option to refine a site's watering needs — and save you money — from a distance.

Florida law requires that newly installed irrigation systems must have rain sensor. This is a bigger issue in South Florida, but still relevant in the Florida Panhandle.

Edible Plants

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While using edible plants are more common for residences, some commercial properties also follow this sustainable trend, especially with citrus trees. Other popular edibles are herb gardens, which can be a nice addition in a commercial property.

Given that our soil is mostly sand-based and not nutrient rich, most vegetable gardens and herb gardening is done with raised beds. A commercial property manager might consider a few well-placed raised bed herb gardens to add guest/tenant interest to a property.

Start Setting Trends With GreenEarth

At GreenEarth, we fully understand the positive impact sustainable landscaping can have on our environment. Plus, we also know how to make sustainable landscaping attractive and meet our clients’ needs.

Let us know what your landscaping interests are, and we can give you a customized plan incorporating these sustainable trends.

If you’d like a consultation or want to know what we can do to help you, give us a call at our Panama City Beach office at (850) 236-1959, or call our Santa Rosa Beach office at (850) 267-0010 to set up an appointment. You can also fill out the online form on our website to schedule a consultation.

free landscape planning guide from GreenEarth

Images: Saw Palmetto, Drip irrigation, Rain clouds, Lemon tree