Aesthetic and Affordable Landscape Design for Self-Storage

Landscaping is in integral part of a self-storage facility’s curb appeal. In this article, landscape architect Charles Brenton offers sound advice on creating a reasonably priced yet appealing landscape design for self-storage.

May 9, 2015

3 Min Read
Aesthetic and Affordable Landscape Design for Self-Storage

Landscaping is in integral part of a self-storage facility’s curb appeal. Colorful flowers, commanding shrubbery and trees, and xeriscape designs are welcoming and can even add function to a storage property. The trick is to find a balance between creating an aesthetically pleasing curb that’s also affordable to install and maintain.

Below, Charles Brenton, founder of Brenton Landscape Architecture in Baltimore, offers advice on how to create a reasonably priced yet appealing landscape at a storage facility. He also highlights some design trends facility operators should consider for their sites.

What are some of the most important considerations when it comes to landscape design for a storage facility?

Like other commercial clients, developers of storage facilities want to maximize their leasable space and minimize their grounds-maintenance costs. At the same time, it’s important the facility presents a welcoming, secure and well-maintained appearance to the street. Municipal landscape ordinances typically set minimum standards to which the facilities must adhere.

How can operators create an inviting landscape affordably?

Facilities typically need to be well-lit and easy to navigate. Welldesigned environmental graphics can go a long way to making your facility more userfriendly. A robust design team will provide you with an attractive and sustainable outcome without any increase in your development costs.

A simple landscape design at Vault Stor & Loc in Eugene, Ore.Landscape architects bring to the site-design process a unique sensitivity for shaping the users’ experience of a site. Make sure the landscape architect is involved early in the design process. He’s trained to consider the spatial experience formed by parking vegetation and drive aisles, and to arrange these elements to optimize user satisfaction. Plant materials and site furnishings such as signage, security fencing and lighting should respond harmoniously to the architectural character of the buildings.

Shrubs and trees at Vault Stor & Loc in Eugene, Ore.Beyond shrubbery and flowers, what design elements can add to a facility’s curb appeal?

Planters and vines might work in small areas. Other options might be upgraded perimeter fencing at high-visibility locations, lighting and ornamentation of the façade. When using plant materials, it’s important to respond to solar exposure. Also, keep snow management in mind.

What are some trends in landscape design?

A growing emphasis on sustainability and resource conservation is reshaping the building industry. Landscape architects are making greater use of drought-tolerant native shrubs and grasses in their planting palettes. They’re finding the public to be more accepting of landscapes that express their region’s native landscape, not an imagined English countryside.

In the part of the country where I work, urban storm-water management has become a significant cost factor in site design. Redevelopment of abandoned industrial or commercial sites is a growing trend.

When redevelopment occurs on previously developed sites, there may be little or no need for costly facilities to capture and store rainwater; whereas on greenfield sites, significant surface or underground storm-water storage areas are likely to be required. Water capture and reuse for irrigation is a growing practice. This water-conservation technology is especially apt in the drier areas of the country. Storage facilities can also be good locations for solar arrays.

Brenton Landscape Architecture works primarily in the landscapes of Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The firm has been performing creative, integrative work at the juncture of landscape architecture, landscape urbanism and land planning for more than 20 years. Mr. Brenton also has experience with the unique design requirements for self-storage facilities. For more information, call 215.370.2655; e-mail [email protected]; visit

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