Data centers are hot.
Sure, they’re literally hot, emitting a lot of heat keeping the internet moving.
But they’re also more in demand than ever, as more everyday business interactions shift to the cloud, demand for personal entertainment soars, and massive companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook keep chugging away.
Northern Virginia is a data center hot spot.
“It’s insane how many data centers are popping up, on any available land,” says Jenna Visco, a northern Virginia branch manager at Level Green Landscaping.
That means landscaping services for data centers are more in demand than ever.
What services do these busy facilities need?
Visco walks us through some top data center landscaping considerations.
1. Safety and Security
“The number one thing is safety and security,” Visco says.
Data centers house business-critical sensitive data and applications. Security is crucial, on the inside and the outside.
“They want a 6-foot clearance from the fence, with no shrubs or tree branches close to it that people could climb to get over the fence,” Visco says of a Virginia data center client.
That means landscaping for data centers includes vigilant attention to trimming and pruning.
2. No Unsightly Mess
Mess looks like neglect, and data centers need a clean and tidy image.
One of Visco’s Virginia data center clients is surrounded by woods, which means leaves blow into the property.
Level Green crews stay on top of it.
“Our accounts manager visits weekly to make sure leaves haven’t blown into corners by the front gates and become trapped,” Visco says.
Mowing crews make a second pass to scoop up any sticks or debris.
Portering service in the landscape maintenance contract offers another level of cleanliness, with crews quickly scooping up any trash or debris on the grounds.
“We’re talking about maybe installing some screening under the fence to prevent leaves from blowing in,” Visco says.
3. Landscaping for Data Centers: Beautification
No offense to data centers, but they’re not the prettiest buildings on the block.
“They’re massive buildings, usually gray, with no windows,” Visco says.
“The counties really want to beautify them,” Visco says. “They might be next to an HOA community. They’re under a lot of pressure to look good — especially to the outside community. They don’t want communities to try to block them from coming in.”
That means expert landscaping.
“They care a lot about trees and nice canopy cover,” Visco says. “They want something besides grass.”
She recommends lush shrubs, colorful perennial beds, “and nice healthy trees that help block the building.”
Her branch is planning seasonal color plantings for a Virginia data center client so the grounds will bloom with impressive color from spring through fall.
Surrounded by woods, the center has a problem with hungry deer nosing around, so crews will use a combination of netting and a deer repellent product “so the flowers don’t become their breakfast.”
Another consideration for data center landscaping: Patios with seating to offer a fresh-air respite for employees who work in windowless buildings.
4. Sustainable Landscaping Ideas for Data Centers
Data centers are often interested in sustainability and green initiatives, and that extends to landscaping services.
“In general, because they deal with technology, they tend to be interested in new ideas,” Visco says. “They’re always curious about sustainability. I’ve seen data centers interested in drilling a well so they can use the groundwater.”
There are lots of sustainable landscaping ideas for data centers. Among them:
They allow rainwater to seep through, rather than pool and flood the property.
At Level Green Landscaping, several team members are certified by the Interlocking Concrete Pavers Institute, specifically trained in installing these permeable pavers that redirect stormwater.
Rooftop gardens save energy, minimize stormwater runoff, help cool surrounding areas, and offer a bit of green calm.
Level Green was recently certified as an installer by LiveRoof, a leading manufacturer of green roof systems. There are only a few such certified installers in the Washington D.C. metro area.
These shallow depressions are planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses. They encourage stormwater to soak slowly into the ground — not rush into the nearest storm drain.
A rain garden’s soil filters oil, grease, and other pollutants before slowly releasing the cleaner water into the water table.
5. Comprehensive Landscaping Services for Data Centers
“It might surprise people, because it seems like they’d be bare bones, but data centers often have a plethora of landscaping services,” Visco says.
These clients typically have a packed landscaping contract, from the standard mowing and turf care to seasonal color plantings, portering, and watering.
“The idea is they might have a tour come through or people drop in who might want to lease space there,” Visco says. “They want it to look good at all times.”
6. Stormwater Pond Maintenance
Data centers often have large stormwater ponds on the property, with specific maintenance concerns.
The ponds collect water from rain and runoff and release it slowly, at a nice, easy rate that prevents flooding or erosion.
But if neglected, allowed to clog or erode, they can fail.
The grass and plants around these ponds help filter pollutants from the stormwater, but they can’t be overgrown.
Landscaping services for data centers often include maintaining these critical ponds.
A Level Green account manager recently attended stormwater pond maintenance training sessions offered by Fairfax County, gaining valuable skills she can bring to the rest of the Level Green team.
Need Landscaping for Data Centers? Trust Level Green
The data center industry is booming, and as these massive buildings continue to pop up, they need comprehensive landscaping services to beautify, add safety, and meet sustainability goals.
Sustainability is a top priority for all of us at Level Green Landscaping, and we incorporate green practices into all of our projects.
Whether it’s updating an irrigation system to cut back on water usage or using mowing techniques that reduce the need for spray chemicals, we always look for ways to better our clients’ sites.
We provide commercial property maintenance for properties throughout Washington DC, Maryland and parts of Virginia. Level Green Landscaping services commercial properties like office buildings, homeowner associations (HOAs), mixed use, condominiums, retail, institutions and government entities.
Contact us today at 202-544-0968 or by filling out our form online to see how we can transform your landscape into a beautiful, sustainable space. You can also schedule a free consultation with one of our team members.
We’d love to hear from you.