Garden Design InspirationLandscaping Ideas16/06/2024by mabramczDesigning Green Spaces for Commercial Properties: Best Practices

Incorporating green spaces and promoting biodiversity are essential aspects of sustainable commercial property design. Commercial projects can incorporate green spaces such as rooftop gardens, green walls, and landscaped areas to promote biodiversity, improve air quality, and reduce the urban heat island effect. These green spaces not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of the building but also contribute to the well-being of occupants and the surrounding community.

Key Takeaways

  • Rooftop gardens and green walls can significantly enhance the aesthetic appeal and sustainability of commercial properties.
  • Green spaces contribute to improved air quality and reduced urban heat island effects, creating a healthier environment.
  • Promoting biodiversity through green landscaping supports local ecosystems and wildlife.
  • Employee well-being and productivity are positively impacted by well-maintained green spaces.
  • Using green building materials is essential for creating sustainable and future-proof commercial properties.

1. Rooftop Gardens

Benefits of Rooftop Gardens

Rooftop gardens are a fantastic way to utilize otherwise wasted space. They can provide a serene escape for employees, improve air quality, and even reduce energy costs by providing natural insulation. Before embarking on your rooftop garden project, it’s essential to conduct a thorough structural assessment of your building. The weight of soil, planters, and other materials can be significant, so ensuring your building can support this is crucial.

Design Considerations

When designing a rooftop garden, consider the types of plants that will thrive in your climate and the amount of sunlight the roof receives. It’s also important to think about irrigation and drainage systems to keep your garden healthy and prevent water damage to your building.

Maintenance Tips

Maintaining a rooftop garden requires regular care, including watering, pruning, and pest control. It’s a good idea to have a maintenance plan in place to ensure your garden remains vibrant and healthy year-round.

Rooftop gardens not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of a building but also contribute to environmental sustainability by promoting biodiversity and reducing urban heat islands.

Cost and ROI

While the initial cost of setting up a rooftop garden can be high, the long-term benefits often outweigh these costs. Reduced energy bills, increased property value, and improved employee wellbeing are just a few of the potential returns on investment.

Case Studies

Many cities around the world have successfully implemented rooftop gardens. For example, London’s rooftop gardens have become a model for urban green spaces, showcasing the beauty and functionality of these projects.

2. Green Walls

Green walls, also known as vertical gardens, are an innovative way to incorporate nature into commercial properties. They not only enhance the aesthetic appeal but also offer numerous environmental benefits. A green wall, due to its organic content and sometimes because of the planting medium used, cannot achieve an A1 or A2 rating. However, they still play a crucial role in sustainable building design.

Benefits of Green Walls

Green walls provide several advantages, including:

  • Improved air quality
  • Natural insulation
  • Reduced stormwater runoff
  • Enhanced visual appeal

Installation and Maintenance

Setting up a green wall involves several steps:

  1. Planning and design
  2. Selection of appropriate plants
  3. Installation of the supporting structure
  4. Regular maintenance and care

Fire Safety Considerations

It’s important to note that green walls have specific fire safety guidelines. The single burn test (EN 13823) is often used to assess their safety. Due to their organic content, they may not meet the highest fire safety ratings, but proper planning can mitigate risks.

Green walls are a fantastic way to bring nature into urban environments, making them more livable and sustainable.

3. Landscaped Areas

Creating beautifully landscaped areas is essential for any commercial property. These spaces not only enhance the aesthetic appeal but also provide a serene environment for employees and visitors alike. Incorporating sustainability into your landscape design can make a significant impact on the environment and your property’s overall appeal.

4. Green Roof Gardens

Green roof gardens are an excellent way to make use of otherwise wasted space on commercial properties. They not only add aesthetic value but also provide numerous environmental benefits. By incorporating green features and landscape design, developers can improve a commercial building’s green rating without making a single change to the property itself. If the existing roof is suitable, adding a green roof garden is a feasible and effective way for reducing a company’s environmental impact. Green roofs counter all sorts of urban ailments.

Understanding the GRO Green Roof Code

Enter the GRO Green Roof Code – a set of guidelines and best practices that are revolutionising how we view and utilise urban rooftops. This code ensures that green roof gardens are designed and maintained to the highest standards, promoting sustainability and biodiversity.

Benefits of Green Roof Gardens

  • Energy Savings: Green roofs can lead to energy savings of up to 35% by providing natural insulation.
  • Air Quality Improvement: A green roof measuring roughly 20,000 square feet can remove more than 9,000 kilograms of carbon emissions from the air every year.
  • Urban Heat Island Reduction: Green roofs combat the heat island effect, a phenomenon caused by buildings and other manmade structures absorbing ultrahigh amounts of heat.

Key Components

  • Artificial Grass: Often used for its low maintenance and durability.
  • Raised Beds: Ideal for growing a variety of plants and vegetables.
  • Garden Clearance: Regular maintenance is essential to keep the green roof garden in top condition.

Green spaces are also linked with employee satisfaction and retention. A well-designed green roof garden can provide a tranquil escape for employees, boosting their wellbeing and productivity.

5. Biodiversity Promotion

Promoting biodiversity in commercial properties is not just about adding plants; it’s about creating a thriving ecosystem. Incorporating native plants and green spaces can significantly reduce environmental impact and promote biodiversity. Here are some innovative sustainable garden design ideas in the UK that can help in promoting biodiversity:

Native Plants

Using native plants is crucial as they are well-adapted to the local climate and soil conditions. They require less water and maintenance, making them an eco-friendly choice.

Wildlife Habitats

Creating wildlife habitats within commercial properties can attract various species of birds, insects, and small mammals. This can be achieved by adding birdhouses, bat boxes, and insect hotels.

Pollinator-Friendly Plants

Pollinator-friendly plants are essential for supporting bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. These plants not only enhance the beauty of the space but also contribute to the overall health of the ecosystem.

Aquatic Features

Incorporating aquatic features like ponds and water gardens can support aquatic life and attract birds and insects. These features also add a serene and calming element to the landscape.

Vertical Gardening

Vertical gardening solutions are perfect for spaces with limited ground area. They can be used to grow a variety of plants, including herbs, flowers, and even vegetables, promoting biodiversity in a compact space.

Promoting biodiversity through innovative sustainable garden design ideas in the UK can transform commercial properties into vibrant, eco-friendly spaces.

6. Air Quality Improvement

green commercial property with plants and trees, improving air quality

Improving air quality is a crucial aspect of designing green spaces for commercial properties. Enhanced quality of living is one of the primary benefits, as polluted air causes almost 4.5 million premature deaths a year. Urban forest areas, when properly designed, can help improve air quality and provide healthier living environments.

Benefits of Green Spaces

  • Reduced emissions: Green spaces help progress towards sustainability and climate goals by reducing emissions. For example, strategic placement of trees can cool the air by between two and eight degrees Celsius, reducing the need for air conditioning by 30%.
  • Quality indoor environment: Green real estate prioritizes the health and comfort of its occupants by ensuring optimal indoor air quality, access to natural light, and the use of non-toxic building materials.
  • Healthier living environments: Green buildings focus on improving indoor environmental quality, which includes better air quality, more natural light, and reduced exposure to toxins.

Case Study: Tengah, Singapore

The town of Tengah in Singapore offers a good example of how urban planning can provide more healthy living standards by integrating green spaces. The project increased per capita green space from 13m² to 85m², improved ground water resources, and produced 325,000 cubic meters of oxygen each day, significantly improving the air quality in the city.

Designing green spaces is not just about aesthetics; it’s about creating environments that promote health and well-being for everyone.

7. Urban Heat Island Reduction

Urban heat islands are areas that experience higher temperatures due to human activities and infrastructure. Trees, green roofs, and vegetation can help reduce urban heat island effects by shading building surfaces, deflecting radiation from the sun, and releasing moisture into the atmosphere.

Benefits of Reducing Urban Heat Islands

  • Lower urban temperatures
  • Mitigate air pollution
  • Build environmental resilience

How Green Spaces Help

Strategic placement of trees in cities can help to cool the air by between two and eight degrees Celsius, thus reducing the urban heat island effect and the need for air conditioning by 30%.

Energy Savings

Green roofs and living walls provide natural insulation, reduce stormwater runoff, and improve air quality. They can lead to energy savings of up to 35%.

Reduced emissions to get closer to the sustainability and climate goals of the Paris agreement: Green spaces help with progress towards the environment goal for decarbonisation.

8. Employee Wellbeing

Creating green spaces in commercial properties can significantly boost employee wellbeing. Green spaces and well-maintained outdoor areas contribute to employee satisfaction and productivity. Let’s dive into the key aspects of how green spaces can enhance employee wellbeing.

9. Green Building Materials

When it comes to designing green spaces for commercial properties, choosing the right green materials is crucial. Not only do they help in reducing environmental impact, but they also create healthier and more productive spaces for tenants.

Sustainable Materials

Green buildings incorporate materials that are sustainably sourced, recycled, or both. This includes the use of reclaimed wood, recycled metal, and low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints, which contribute to better indoor air quality and overall environmental sustainability.

Innovative Alternatives

Innovative green building materials are transforming the construction industry. Here are some materials paving the way for a sustainable future:

Traditional Material Green Building Material Replacement
Concrete Bendable concrete, Precast concrete, 3D printed concrete, Ferrock
Steel Mass timber, Bamboo, Reclaimed steel
Wood Bamboo, Recycled plastic, Reclaimed wood, Mass timber
Insulation Straw bale, Cellulose fiber

Benefits of Green Materials

Using green materials isn’t just about ticking boxes for sustainability certifications—it’s about future-proofing your investment. Green materials create spaces that reduce harm to the environment and offer healthier, more productive spaces for your tenants.

Embrace creative landscape design trends for 2024: emphasis on eco-friendly materials, water conservation, native plants. Transform your outdoor space into a sustainable green oasis.

10. Comprehensive Landscaping Plan

Creating a comprehensive landscaping plan for your commercial property involves several key steps to ensure the space is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. A well-thought-out plan can significantly enhance the property’s value and appeal. Here are the essential components to consider:

Assessment and Planning

  • Site Analysis: Conduct a thorough assessment of your property’s current landscape, including soil type, drainage, existing vegetation, and any particular challenges or opportunities.
  • Design Principles: Develop a landscaping design that complements your property’s architecture and aligns with your business’s branding. Consider factors like colour schemes, plant variety, and seasonal interest.

Plant Selection and Placement

Choose plants that are well-suited to your local climate and soil conditions. Consider the mature size of plants to avoid overcrowding and ensure they have enough space to thrive. Planting should be done strategically to enhance the visual appeal and functionality of the space.

Routine Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial to keep your landscape looking its best. This includes:

  • Lawn Care & Mowing: Keep the grass healthy and well-trimmed.
  • Weeding & Pruning: Regularly remove weeds and prune plants to maintain their shape and health.
  • Hedge trimming: Keep hedges neat and tidy.
  • Tree cutting: Remove dead or overgrown branches to ensure safety and aesthetics.
  • Waste Clearance: Regularly clear away garden waste to keep the area clean and tidy.

Sustainable Practices

  • Water Conservation: Implement irrigation systems that reduce water waste, such as drip irrigation and timed sprinklers.
  • Eco-friendly Pest Management: Opt for natural pest control methods and organic treatments to minimise chemical use.

Budget Management

  • Phased Implementation: If budget is a concern, consider implementing your landscaping project in phases.
  • Cost-effective Solutions: Focus on high-impact, low-cost improvements like mulching, pruning, and selective planting.

Landscaping and outdoor maintenance are integral to presenting your commercial property in the best light. By understanding the key components of a successful landscaping plan and employing routine maintenance strategies, you can create an outdoor space that is not only beautiful but also beneficial for your business, the environment, and the well-being of those who visit or work at your property.


Designing green spaces for commercial properties is more than just an aesthetic endeavor—it’s a commitment to sustainability, biodiversity, and the well-being of everyone who interacts with the space. By following best practices in soil preparation, plant selection, watering, pest control, pruning, and seasonal care, you can create vibrant, healthy landscapes that enhance the beauty and functionality of your property. Remember, the goal is to strike a balance between visual appeal, practicality, and eco-friendliness. With thoughtful planning and regular maintenance, your green spaces can become a testament to your business’s dedication to excellence and environmental stewardship.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of incorporating green spaces in commercial properties?

Incorporating green spaces in commercial properties promotes biodiversity, improves air quality, reduces the urban heat island effect, and enhances the aesthetic appeal of the building. These spaces also contribute to the well-being of occupants and the surrounding community.

How can green walls be integrated into commercial buildings?

Green walls can be integrated into commercial buildings by installing vertical gardens on the exterior or interior walls. These walls can be designed with various plants that are suitable for vertical growth and require minimal maintenance.

What is a green roof garden and how does it benefit commercial properties?

A green roof garden is a rooftop covered with vegetation. It benefits commercial properties by reducing energy costs, managing stormwater, improving air quality, and providing a recreational space for occupants.

How does promoting biodiversity impact commercial properties?

Promoting biodiversity in commercial properties enhances the ecological value of the area, supports local wildlife, and creates a more resilient environment. It also improves the overall aesthetic and can attract more visitors or tenants.

What are the best green building materials to consider for commercial properties?

The best green building materials for commercial properties include recycled steel, bamboo, reclaimed wood, and low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints. These materials reduce environmental impact and create healthier indoor environments.

How do green spaces improve employee well-being?

Green spaces improve employee well-being by providing a natural and relaxing environment. Access to nature has been shown to reduce stress, increase productivity, and enhance overall job satisfaction.

What is the role of a comprehensive landscaping plan in commercial property design?

A comprehensive landscaping plan is essential in commercial property design as it ensures that all elements of the landscape are well-coordinated and meet the specific needs of the property. It includes assessment, planning, and maintenance strategies to create a sustainable and aesthetically pleasing environment.

How can green spaces help in reducing the urban heat island effect?

Green spaces help reduce the urban heat island effect by providing shade, releasing moisture into the air through evapotranspiration, and reducing the amount of heat-absorbing surfaces like concrete and asphalt.

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