Lush Landscape Design for Self-Storage Facilities: Curb-Appeal Tips From an Architect

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I’m beginning to see the incorporation of green building techniques such as native plantings and wildflower/meadow planting designs, porous pavement in lieu of nonporous pavement, and bio-swales and rain gardens into these facilities because of new ordinances requiring reduced nonporous pavement areas and storm water run-off, as well as more owners wanting to build greener buildings and sites. Self-storage facilities are excellent for incorporating some of these practices because they have large pavement and roof areas that contribute to storm water run-off. They generally have a limited number of daily visitors and are normally in locations where having a more natural and less manicured appearance would be more acceptable to the general public.

What are the benefits of xeriscape?

First, there's a reduction in water required to sustain the plants. Second, there's a reduction in the amount of maintenance required. Third, there are reduced long-term costs associated with reduced water consumption and recurring maintenance.

Are there any other “green” design trends owners can incorporate into their design?

There are many ways owners can "green" their facilities, from using geo-thermal heat sources for climate control to using porous pavement on non-driveway/loading-dock areas to using rain gardens or bio-swales to control storm-water run-off. One excellent technique owners should consider using more frequently is placing extensive green roofs on their facilities. Not only will they reduce storm-water run-off, they'll also aid in keeping the facility's interior units cooler during the summer months.

What advice can you give about creating an inviting landscape for a self-storage facility?

Designing and implementing an attractive landscape and keeping it maintained and manicured will not only help in marketing their business, it will likely attract higher-quality customers and give an appearance that the owner takes pride in the facility and values customers. Even simply designed landscapes can be inviting if correctly installed and maintained.

Owners should consult with or hire an individual or company licensed and credentialed in landscape design or landscape architecture. They should also consider someone who has a strong knowledge of plants and horticulture and can provide the design of an inviting landscape using appropriate design techniques and the correct plant materials.
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