Landscaping – The Master Plan

April 2020

Landscaping offers value.  It improves the lifestyle of building residents, provides recreational space and helps increase property values.

Landscaping for a community of hundreds is different than for a private property or balcony.  Spaces are larger, more heavily used and for multiple purposes.

Developing a master plan while working with a professional landscaper can ensure outdoor spaces remain popular, desirable and reflective of property values.

A master plan serves as a guide for how outdoor spaces are to look and be used.  It can ensure an area looks nice throughout the year, provide recreational and walking areas, and help address problems that may include drainage.  Its intent is to make the best possible use of available space utilizing appropriate plantings and hardscape.

A master plan is for more than one year.  One approach is to maintain a five-year master plan that is updated each year.  This provides consistency as condo boards may change.  It allows time for funds to accumulate so that larger projects can be considered.  Annual updates to the plan can reflect experience and changes in desires.  Trees and plantings that don’t work as intended can be improved upon the next year.

A master plan ensures individual landscaping projects reflect the entire area.

A master plan identifies costs, dates and timelines before a shovel goes into the ground.  It ensures work gets done correctly, on time and within budget.

A master plan needs to be complete or updated many months before work is to commence.  It takes time to arrange for equipment, people and supplies.  Contracts need to be signed well in advance of work dates.  Spring planning should commence in September so plans are in place before April.  Winter planning should commence in April.

Community landscaping requires the services of a professional landscaper who can handle all these tasks while guiding and advising residents to ensure plantings are appropriate for the region, season and area.