How commercial property owners can provide safety on their properties with proper landscaping and lighting

How commercial property owners can provide safety on their properties with proper landscaping and lighting

By Mike Gambino

Some commercial property owners might believe that the only way to provide added safety for their tenants is to minimize landscaping and eliminate any feature that might pose a danger to building occupants and their customers or guests. But with a little careful consideration and a thoughtfully designed landscaping and lighting plan, commercial properties can offer both a beautiful landscape and tenant safety.


Three key factors are carefully chosen plant materials, good lighting, and diligent maintenance. The right plantings, illumination, and landscape design and care, provide transparency and visibility – the ability to see over, around, and even through plants to avoid unexpected encounters and surprises. To help accomplish that, consider plant heights and densities and keep them well pruned and trimmed as they mature to avoid dense over- and undergrowth.

Having the right amount of illumination is an important safety element for tenants

Proper illumination means having the right amount of light in the right places. There’s no need to flood an entire space with bright, over powering light. Instead, bring illumination down closer to the surface of walkways, parking and the new asphalt driveway paving areas so pedestrians and drivers can see and be seen without being blinded. Carefully planned and controlled lighting also can save energy and money while minimizing light pollution.


                                                           Here are 8 landscaping and lighting tips to help ensure safety:

  1. Make sure that traverse routes are designed to take the shortest, safest routes possible. No matter how much you might like to encourage them to meander through a winding walkway, people prefer to get from Point A to Point B in the shortest amount of time and distance possible especially after the sun goes down. That means if there are corners and curves adding length to their walk, they’ll cut across and end up wearing a new path.
  2. Understand how humans and vehicles interact on your property and separate them as much as possible. Any time you can separate a walkway from a roadway, try to do it. By installing a boulevard strip or median, you’re keeping pedestrians as far away from moving vehicles as possible, increasing their safety. An added bonus is the additional space a median or strip provides for plantings to provide beauty.
  3. Where humans and vehicles intersect, such as at crosswalks and vehicle loading and offloading zones, make those areas as visible as possible for both pedestrian and drivers. Clear markings and effective lighting go a long way to promote pedestrian safety.
  4. Proper illumination is crucial for helping to prevent accidents and crime. Efficient lighting around travel areas will help boost pedestrian visibility and reduce hiding places for criminals. The right lighting improves direct and peripheral vision, minimizing the need for head movement to make people feel safer and more at ease.
  5. Good drainage and storm water management is a key component in commercial landscape design. Water should quickly drain away from pedestrian areas and entryways to keep tenants as dry as possible as they enter and exit the building. Driveways and other vehicle travel. Driveways and other vehicle travel areas also require adequate drainage to help drivers avoid losing control of their vehicles in heavy rain and to prevent pedestrians from unexpected and unpleasant soakings from passing cars and trucks. Where possible, consider incorporating porous paving options and vegetated storm water management design as ways to improve drainage and the protection of water as a resource.
  6. In snow-prone regions, adequate space needs to be dedicated to snow storage during the winter months. This enables snowplow operators to easily and conveniently pile snow while ensuring that pedestrians and drivers can safely maneuver around sidewalks and parking lots.
  7. Ice management is also important. Proper drainage goes a long way in preventing ice formation and build-up in the first place. By effectively managing water removal before ice forms, building management can avoid over-salting for safety, minimizing costs as well as environmental damage.
  8. Prune for aesthetics and thoughtfully with an eye for public safety. While removing excess growth improves sight lines and visibility, over-pruning can create strong and sharp branches that can injure people walking too close or accidently falling into them (eye pokes are one of the top five landscape injuries). Elevate the importance of proper pruning to ensure you are caring for your plants using horticultural best practices. This is one task best left for highly trained professionals. Remember, plants are a long-term investment.


Property managers should keep in mind that choosing the right plant materials, having sufficient lighting and maintaining the building landscape are the most important factors that increase occupants safety.

facebook logoThis landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all 20160627_004632146_iOSrights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 27 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .

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