Strip malls can be a challenge to property managers looking for a design that is inviting. The square buildings, parking lots and sidewalks can cause strip malls to all look the same. Without an eye-catching landscape, a strip mall will either be overlooked or be seen as simply a place to get in and out of as quickly as possible. A few simple landscape design ideas can be effective in making a strip mall a more appealing place to spend those precious hours in the day. Below are three landscape design ideas that will make a strip mall into a more inviting place to be.
A Natural Look
People are drawn to natural, park-like spaces. They help us to relax and to feel like we can slow down. Today more than ever, as people rush around to get their shopping done, they are drawn to places that provide greenery and a break from endless concrete. Here are a few ideas to easily achieve a more natural look:
- Tall Grasses, such as New Zealand Flax, are an excellent choice at a strip mall. Not only are they drought-tolerant and easy to maintain, but they break up endless straight lines with a refreshing fountain-like spray.
- Use rocks and boulders of different sizes to give depth and variation to the landscape.
- Use terraces, raised beds and mounding to vary the heights and create a more natural, rolling quality to the landscape.
- Water features, such as fountains, or even dry creek beds provide a sense of flow and serenity.
An Invitation to Stop and Enjoy
If you want people to take their time with shopping and perhaps to get some food or coffee while they are there, it helps if the outdoor area is an enjoyable place to spend time. Here are a few simple features that do this:
- Grassy lawns with trees that provide shade are very inviting on a hot day.
- Pathways through the garden beds make customers feel that it is acceptable to meander a little rather than rush from store to store.
- Benches or picnic tables on the grass, or within the landscaped areas on gravel or wood chips, give people an outdoor space for enjoying food or reading a newspaper.
- Aromatic flowers are attractive to look at and draw people in. Smell has a powerful effect on memory and will leave a lasting impression that will draw people back to the mall.
Color and Contrast
The right use of color will make even the dullest looking strip mall appear as an oasis to the weary shopper. Here are a few ways to use colorful plantings to achieve the optimum effect:
- If you are working with a light colored building then use dark plantings and vice versa. With this simple trick you can achieve stunning contrast.
- Hanging baskets can be filled with an array of flowers. They are easy to maintain and can be changed seasonally to create a new look.
- There are many species of flowers that hang nicely over cement planters bringing color to plain looking borders.
- Some plants, such as ornamental ivy, can be trained to creep up a wall and bring life to an otherwise empty space.
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