When we talk about a commercial property’s common area, we mean a shared space, where people congregate to relax, munch a sandwich, read a book.

But they should be anything but common. They should be a bright spot in your property’s landscaping.

A common area might be part of an apartment complex, an office park, a university, a homeowner’s association.

Whatever the case, a common area should have certain features that make it attractive and appealing — a place where people want to spend time.

Let’s look at a few ways to enhance the common area landscaping on your property.

Why Are Common Areas Important?

Common areas create a sense of community, and lure people outside for fresh air and a place to relax.

Outdoor common area landscape

At a university, they offer a place for students to study, gather for group projects or relax between classes.

An appealing common area is a great perk for employees, a place to de-stress and re-group.

At an office park, common areas provide respite from the busy work day, which means employees can return to work refreshed and ready to work. That means higher productivity.

In a retail setting, appealing common areas cause shoppers to linger longer, which means they’ll likely shop more and spend more money.

Outdoor common area at retail property

An inviting, attractive common area might make the difference between a potential tenant choosing your place — or somebody else’s.

Here’s a Look at Some Ways to Enhance a Common Area

Seating Areas

Everybody needs a place to plop down and rest once in a while.

A courtyard area furnished with a bench or two and planted with shrubs and flowers gives apartment tenants a place to rest or gather to chat on the way in or out. Add a fountain or other water feature to boost the relaxation factor.

common area landscaping and seating

At a corporate campus, attractive, comfortable seating areas offer spots for employees to take coffee breaks and eat lunch outdoors in nice weather.

Add a pergola overhead and it can be a great covered meeting place. Who wouldn’t rather attend a meeting outside?

Common Area Gardens

Trees, plants and flowers add shade, color and tranquility to any common area. Think perennials, rose bushes, shade trees, colorful annuals.

Include a variety of plants that bloom throughout the year, so there’s always something to catch people’s eyes.

Gardens in an outdoor common area

A large, sprawling apartment complex usually includes big expanses of brick or wood. Flowering shrubs break up the stark landscape and will get larger and more eye-catching as the years go on.

Native plants — plants original to your area of the country — are hugely popular now. They’re hardy and less susceptible to pests and diseases. They grow well and require little care.

Bonus: birds, butterflies and hummingbirds will start flitting around your common area. Natural entertainment.

Walking Trails

Walking trails offer people a way to get some fresh air and exercise, whether they’re apartment tenants, office workers or college students.

Depending on your property’s layout, you could install paths or trails around or through the space. By showing pedestrians where they should walk, you’ll also help cut down on unwanted foot traffic on turf areas.

There are plenty of options of materials for walking trails, from mulch to river rock to pavers.


Young families with small children love playscapes. Kids get exercise, and parents get a brief break.

Consider dividing the space by ages, including options suitable for toddlers, preschoolers and school-age kids.

The playscape surface is one of the most important elements.

Adding yards of new wood chips every year gets expensive.

Lots of sustainable playground surfaces are available that eliminate that annual expense. Some can even incorporate your corporate logo.

Poured rubber is poured just like concrete to create a seamless rubber surface. Synthetic turf facilitates drainage, needs no maintenance and is shock absorbing.

Rubber mulch is a smart alternative to traditional wood chips.


Patios invite relaxation and conversation. They’re great spots for water features — a soothing fountain or a pond with bubbling jets.

Common area patio and tables

Separate areas with low shrubs to offer semi-private spaces for reading or conversation.

Add a grill or a fire pit, and you encourage apartment residents to gather and get to know each other.

Giant planters make an instant impressive impact and are especially useful for sites that don’t have much green space. They become an instant focal point. They break up the monotony of a large flat wall. They can hide eye sores and create privacy.

Create An Irresistible Common Area With Level Green

The first step to creating attractive, appealing common area landscaping is finding the right commercial company to hire.

At Level Green Landscaping, our mission is to help you create a beautiful, functional landscape perfectly suited to your commercial property.

Our experienced team can install plant beds, walking trails, patios, gardens, seating areas, playscapes, pavilions and more to enhance your property’s common areas.

And once everything is finished, we can keep it looking fresh with regular maintenance services, including mowing, edging, blowing, pruning and more.

Contact us at 202-544-0968 or by filling out our form online. You can also request a free consultation to see how we can enhance your landscape design.

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