It is true that you must consider maintenance when planning commercial work (just like residential design), but design also needs to compliment the architecture and surrounding environment. Low maintenance does not have to mean dull and uninspired. I believe it is also important to educate as a designer and teach those in charge of the maintenance about the specific nature of each plant and how best to avoid labor intensive care, by planting the right plant in the right place!
When you have a grounds crew like the professional team at Air Products, you know whatever you design will be well taken care of.
Air Products has a long history of environmental awareness and stewardship. It is crucial that any new plantings on campus carry on this tradition. The first installation outside the main administration building, adds a much needed view of a beautiful, natural setting. Previously this space was completely devoid of warmth, color, interest or joy. My re-design combines beautiful season long interest that is both low maintenance and environmentally friendly. All of the plants used will attract beneficials, such as butterflies, bees and birds.
As far as the containers on campus, I have decided to use the existing planters for now and do more research on self watering styles that will look as good as they work! When designing containers it is equally as important to use plants that will do well in the microenvironment they inhabit, as in the beauty of their arrangement.
I plan on adding more posts explaining each garden and container in more detail during our "off season"... Which gets shorter and shorter as our business grows. So, until then here are a few pictures, showing some of our new containers at the main campus.