Planning Outdoor Common Spaces – Repurpose underutilized spaces with landscaping

May 2023

As winter ends, people look to escape their indoor environment and make use of outdoor space.  Both residents and building management begin thinking about landscaping.  After a cold and hard winter, care and perhaps an overhaul is required.

Unlike a private balcony or backyard, landscaping of common areas involves conflicting choices.  Is it better to fix up or redesign a courtyard, or repurpose the space as a community vegetable garden?  It takes time to make decisions, develop a plan, obtain supplies and get the work completed.

When space permits, it makes sense to carve out spaces for different uses.  Shaded areas and seating for reading, conversing and other passive activities; and paved or open grass for groups, activities and sports.  Perhaps a playground for children.  Spaces can be separated by planters and shrubs.

An alleyway, unused parking or other space can be repurposed by incorporating nice stone flooring, planters and greenery, benches and a fence.  Paved areas can be replaced with grass or a garden.  Basic considerations with outdoor landscaping include creation of shadows and wind tunnels.  Water runoff should be factored into design.  Plant choice and selection of those that will thrive depend on available sunlight, shading and availability of water.

Community considerations add a unique dimension to landscaping and design.  Noise mitigation and privacy requires that these spaces don’t back onto someone’s window, door or private patio.  Lighting and video surveillance needs to be positioned so it doesn’t shine or intrude into individual suites.

Landscaping and design of outdoor areas requires the expert services of a landscaping or design company.  They understand what questions to ask, develop a plan for approval and implement while saving money and headaches by avoiding mistakes.