Whether you manage an office park, industrial facility, or a retail center, installing and maintaining landscape plants can be great ways to improve your professional corporate image and welcome people to your space.

As you choose plants for your unique commercial landscape in Greater Chicago, you’ll consider the design and maintenance needs of each species, as well as how the whole space works together. But there’s another key consideration you can’t forget when it comes to commercial landscaping in Greater Chicago, specifically, and that’s the kind of traffic your site receives. 

Most commercial properties see more vehicular and pedestrian traffic than residential properties do. These are known as high-traffic areas. Let’s learn more about landscaping for high-traffic areas to ensure great flow and beautiful spaces that can work for you and visitors to your property.

Landscaping Ideas for High-Traffic Areas

Commercial landscapes are designed to draw people in. Whether it’s an industrial facility or office park that sees regular employees and deliveries or a retail center that experiences has regular shoppers and holiday shopping peaks, people will come to your site for a purpose – to work, to deliver, to pick up, to learn, to shop, to visit, and many other reasons.

This means as people are in a hurry or parking in different areas or need to get somewhere swiftly, they will naturally follow the intended walkways from parking areas to entrances … or they may not. Cutting corners to save a second here or there is just something people tend to do. We all do it. 

But after you've created an inviting commercial landscape for your guests and worked hard to maintain it, It’s hard to see those efforts trampled on by people coming and going. 

So you want to create high-traffic landscaping that suits the traffic patterns on your commercial site, working with it instead of against it. Try these ideas.

1. Know Your Areas of Focus

The most common areas that need high-traffic landscaping on commercial properties typically include:

  • Entrances and exits to commercial sites
  • Outside of building entryways
  • Outdoor gathering areas or places where shoppers can rest, workers eat lunch or take breaks, or recreational/lounge areas in outdoor settings.
  • Any natural cut-throughs that generate from parking areas or areas lining pathways that lead to entrances.

annual flowers near entrance to building

Your goals with high-traffic landscaping in these sections are to highlight your property’s brand and entrance, move people around your property efficiently, block cut-through traffic to reduce landscape disruption, and enhance safety on your site by landscaping to prevent trip hazards and keep pedestrians safe.

2. Use Hardscape Elements to Direct Traffic

Your first and more obvious solution to areas on your commercial landscaping in Greater Chicago that you find get a lot of foot traffic is to make them easier to navigate. 

When it comes to areas that people use as shortcuts or sneak-throughs, one option is to go with it. Avoid sensitive plants and opt instead for some hardscapes or traffic-safe solutions. 

sign with plantings and water feature near walkway

Pavers placed in grass can be a great way to provide people with a path to get them where they need to go on your site. Maybe your turf gets trampled there, causing mud on particularly wet days and tracking it indoors. These pavers can encourage people to choose them for their steps, so the grass can grow around them – giving you the look you’re after and preventing any of that excess mud. 

landscape construction team installs pavers

Permeable pavers can also be great additions to high-traffic landscaping, especially if the area you’re looking at tends to collect a bit more water than other spots. These pavers reduce runoff volume by trapping and slowly releasing rainfall into the ground instead of allowing it to flow off into storm drains and cause potential erosion nearby.

Gravel and mulch are other solutions to regularly walked areas or cut-throughs because it can keep pedestrian feet relatively clean. When people walk through it, they won’t bring mud or dirt inside. And it makes an area look nice as well.

3. Choose the Right Plants For High-Traffic Areas

If you can’t redirect the pedestrian traffic on your commercial site, or the hardscape solutions above don't work for you or don’t fit the aesthetic you‘re seeking, then choosing plants that can handle heavy feet is your next best bet for high-traffic landscaping. This can enhance your landscaping, while also giving it a sharp, clean look.

You want to choose plants that are heat and drought tolerant, as well as salt tolerant, so they can handle traffic and salt applications in winter. 

landscape bed with ornamental grasses and flowers

You also want low-maintenance plants that don’t require a ton of care or upkeep. 

Whether you have sunny or shady areas to fill, your commercial landscape professional should be able to offer suggestions on the right plants that can add color or texture to a gathering area or stand strong against a ton of foot traffic so you have a great-looking site with suitable high-traffic landscaping.

When You Have Tough Traffic? You Need High-Traffic Landscaping

High traffic landscaping is certainly a challenge on any commercial facility in Greater Chicago. 

Have you tried some solutions on your highest traffic places and they haven’t quite worked out the way you wanted them to? We completely understand. These areas aren’t always easy to navigate, and sometimes you can implement a solution and find that it doesn’t work out the way you intended. 

Luckily, solving these problems on all kinds of commercial landscapes in Greater Chicago is our specialty. Let KD Landscape’s professionals take a look at your busy spots and provide a solution that keeps the traffic flowing smoothly and your property looking good at the same time. 

Want to learn more about how we can help you deal with your high-traffic landscaping in Greater Chicago? Get started today with a free quote. We’ll review your options together so you can feel confident and make a great choice. 

Guide to Hiring the Right Commercial Landscaping Company

Request a Consultation