Whether you live in a towering mid-block high-rise or a sprawling suburban development, landscaping not only helps a co-op, condo or HOA increase and retain property values, but has a positive impact on residents themselves—beautiful, functional green spaces and plantings increase pride of ownership, influence morale, and just generally make a place more pleasant to be in for owners and visitors alike. And unless there happens to be a master gardener or landscape architect on a building board or grounds committee, chances are that the community's administrators will have to call upon a professional landscape specialist to help make the most of their building's potential.
Before You Make The Call
So you’ve decided to get the help of a landscape professional….what now? There are some things that you can get in order before you make that call for help, things that will make the process much easier and more likely to yield the desired result.
One thing I always ask clients to think about is developing a collection of images of landscapes, says Lauren Barry, owner and principal designer with Project Plant in Brooklyn. “A set of photos or clippings of what the client likes or doesn’t like. It’s extremely helpful to know what kind of style the client prefers or would rather avoid, and it can save a lot of time up front in the process.”
Committees can save time by having several questions answered in advance, says Joe Costanzo, president of C & C Landscape Contractors, also based in Brooklyn: “A list of goals, what the space is gonna be used for, whether security is an issue, aesthetics, and the type of plant material they community would like to use.”
Doing some basic research about local landscapes will also be helpful to everyone involved, continues Costanzo. “The more knowledgeable the committee is, the easier the process will be. Also, having a general budget number in mind is extremely important.”