commercial landscaping public space Mill Park

Commercial Landscaping of Public Spaces

Commercial Landscaping of public spaces provides quality open green and accessible places for the community. From walkable shady streets to the commercial landscaping around libraries, museums, and community centres, these landscaped areas form the heart of local communities.

Public Space Commercial Landscaping - Reds Landscaping & Design
Commercial landscaping of the public space at Mill Park Sports and Aquatic Centre.


It is through these areas that many people in local communities connect, play, walk or cycle. In these ways, commercial landscaping supports the health and well being of local communities as well as provides essential environmental habitats for indigenous species. The design of the commercial building landscape has a significant impact on the success of these public spaces.

Commercial landscaping with a children's play area - Reds Landscaping & Design
Commercial landscaping with a children's play area. Design by Angelo Carrafa Landscape Architects (ACLA)

The History of Public Spaces

Many of the public spaces we see in cities today are reflections of ancient public spaces. Public spaces for democratic political discussion have their roots in the ancient Greek Agora of the Polis and were extended to the ancient Roman Fora. The Romans were also instrumental in spreading the Greek peristyle courtyard garden, which later evolved into the cloistered abbey garden and courtyard, throughout Europe.

Public Space Ancient Agora Athens - Reds Landscaping & Design
Victorian engraving of an ancient view of the Agora at Athens. Note the peristyle building in the background.

Ancient public spaces were primarily functional as market places, thoroughfares, and meeting places, and, as such, were social spaces.

The Persians, Babylonians, and Assyrians

Going back even further, Persian gardens are described in the old testament as pleasure gardens. The gardens were designed to enable cool water and shade to be enjoyed in private. The landscaping also included man made hills with terraces planted with shrubs and trees.

Greek Gardens of the Classical Period

Sports and public places were both big parts of Greek culture. Sports grounds developed into the academy and the lyceum, and people gathered in these places. The public spaces in Greek life included groves of shade trees, which are essential in a Mediterranean garden. Also included were some porticoes, spectator seating, and the exercise ground itself. It was around this time that a courtyard garden design with rows of columns supporting roofs over covered walkways became part of the urban lifestyle. This garden design became known as "peristyle" from the Greek word "peri" meaning around (as in perimeter) and "style," which means column. It is thought that this style of architecture originated in temples like the Temple of Hera at Samos and was then adopted for domestic buildings.


Greek doric columns, and gardens - Reds Landscaping & Design
Greek Doric Columns, and Gardens.

Greek Gardens of the Hellenistic Period

The death of Alexander the great was the start of a new age in Greece where the country was less Athens centric. New luxurious gardens or pleasure grounds had sprung in the Greek colonies. Notable amongst these were the gardens at Syracuse and Alexandria. These gardens were more influenced by gardens in the east. Under Alexander the great Macedonia had formed a huge empire stretching from Macedonia to parts of India. Within the empire the spread of people brought architecture and landscaping to different cities. After the death of Alexander, the empire was divided, and the various kings spent money on gardens and architecture to impress their guests.

Pleasure Gardens

According to historian John Plumb, the 1700s in London was an age of commercialised leisure. This was largely due to rising incomes and the growth of the middle class in Britain. New ideas emerged about how people could converse and socialise with each other one of these being the pleasure garden. On the rural outskirts of eighteen century London, pleasure gardens sprang up in places like Hampstead, Ranelagh and Vauxhall.

The Cremorne Gardens on the banks of the Yarra

The Cremorne Gardens, on the banks of the Yarra near Richmond, was Melbourne's first amusement park. The concept of the gardens was based on the Cremorne Gardens in Chelsea, London.


Cremorne Gardens Melbourne - Reds Landscaping & Design
Cremorne Gardens Melbourne was based on English Pleasure Gardens.


Botanical Gardens

For hundreds of years, botanical gardens, such as the Royal Melbourne Botanical Gardens, have formed important public spaces for communities.

Public Space Ornamental Lake Botanical Gardens Melbourne - Reds Landscaping & Design
Public Space, Ornamental Lake Botanical Gardens, Melbourne. Although the lake and gardens are open to the public from sunrise to sunset, there is a fee for admission.


Commercial Landscaping Goals in Public Spaces

The aim of the commercial landscaping design of public spaces should be to make the public space a welcoming and inclusive place for the enjoyment of people of all ages and abilities. This will necessitate the landscape architect designing wheelchair access, bridges, and ramps. The designers and urban planners need to consider the users as the primary focus of the landscape design.

Public Space Ramp for Wheelchair access Balwyn Community Centre - Reds Landscaping & Design
Public Space Ramp for Wheelchair access Balwyn Community Centre. Design by Angelo Carrafa Landscape Architects (ACLA)

Commercial Landscaping Design

Well designed commercial landscaping should also enhance the opportunities for socialising, recreation, and relaxation and, along with the aesthetic goals, contribute to the local character of the neighbourhood.

Commercial landscaping Melbourne Balwyn - Reds Landscaping & Design
Commercial Landscaping at Balwyn Community Centre.

To these ends, the commercial landscaping and the facilities should where possible include a diversity of activities. Some examples of these include tennis courts, barbeques, scooter tracks, outdoor gyms as well as tranquil areas like urban wetlands. It is essential that these are community facilities that are often available for a wide range of users at different times of the day.

Commercial Landscape Installation. Durable outdoor furniture for parks and public spaces

The provision of comfortable and durable seating is also an essential part of commercial landscaping design. People in public spaces need areas for relaxing and recovering, as well as just having a chat with friends.

(Design by Angelo Carrafa Landscape Architects (ACLA) Commercial Landscape Architects )

Seating is particularly important for elderly members of the local community. Where possible, curved seating will enable people to chat, hear and see each other better. This curved furniture design will benefit the hearing impaired when chatting with friends.


Commercial Landscaping using Seating using recycled materials - Reds Landscaping & Design
Commercial Landscaping using Seating using recycled materials. (Photograph by Botton and Gardiner)

Landscaping Infrastructure

Much of the cost of commercial landscaping of public spaces is in the hardscaping infrastructure. This includes structures such as flowing insitu concrete retaining walls, agricultural drainage, irrigation systems, and concrete paths.


Commercial Landscaping with insitu concrete retaining walls - Reds Landscaping & Design
Commercial Landscaping with insitu concrete retaining walls. Design by Angelo Carrafa Landscape Architects (ACLA)

Commuter thoroughfares and Size, Location, and Important Interfaces

Some other important factors for the success of the commercial landscaping of public space include size, location, and interfaces with adjoining properties. Ideally, pathways will provide a commuting thoroughfare for walking or cycling as well as a pleasant stroll for exercise.

The sustainability of Commercial Landscaping Designs

Modern commercial landscaping makes extensive use of drought tolerant Australian Native plants and drip irrigation systems. Attractive Australian native grasses are used in both mass planting and individual planting schemes. Where they are planted as individual plants, it is expected that they will naturally spread to fill an area. Much more use of rainwater harvesting is happening in commercial landscaping, as well as the use of rain gardens, permeable concrete and permeable paving to filter and retain storm water in commercial landscapes as well as apartment blocks. There is also a trend in commercial landscaping towards much greater use of recycled materials for the construction of asphalt roads and paths, as well as the use of eco-concrete.

Mudstone Path - Reds Landscaping & Design
The mudstone path to the Balwyn Community Centre Wetlands.

Commercial Landscaping for Active Living

The University of South Australia conducted a study in 2009 on the relationship between active living and the provision of public open space. Amongst the key findings of the study were that attractive commercial landscaping leads to a higher likelihood of people being physically active. This is just one more way that the aesthetic design of commercial landscaping contributes to the health and wellbeing of the community. Another key finding was that "high quality open space design and amenities are crucial."


Outdoor Gym Installation Balwyn Community Centre - Reds Landscaping & Design
Outdoor Gym Installation Balwyn Community Centre. Design by Angelo Carrafa Landscape Architects (ACLA)


Commercial Landscaping to attract visitors

Well designed and constructed commercial landscaping will serve to attract visitors to the public space by providing important street appeal. When attractive vistas are available from the adjacent properties and thoroughfares, the public space becomes a people magnet. Commercial landscaping through the provision of trees, shrubs, and other greenery will create an aesthetic that people will want to visit. One important factor in Melbourne's commercial landscaping is the provision of shade trees over seating areas and car parks. As with residential landscaping, the kerb appeal of a public space is important.


Tennis Court Repair Balwyn - Reds Landscaping & Design
Tennis court construction Balwyn Design by Angelo Carrafa Landscape Architects (ACLA) - Commercial landscape architects.


What makes a great public space?

What makes a Public Space Great? - Reds Landscaping & Design
What makes a Public Space Great?

What makes a public space great? An explanation from the Project for Public Spaces

To quote from the Project for Public Spaces: "Great public spaces are those places where celebrations are held, social and economic exchanges occur, friends run into each other, and cultures mix. They are the 'front porches' of our public institutions – libraries, field houses, schools – where we interact with each other and government. When theses spaces work well, they serve as the stage for our public lives." – Project for Public Spaces

Related Commercial Landscaping information from Red's Landscaping Melbourne

Commercial Construction and Landscaping

Balwyn Landscaping – Commercial Project

Commercial Landscaper Melbourne

Melbourne Landscaper – Mill Park Leisure


Blogs to Follow @RedsLandscaping

@Reds Landscaping and Design

More information on Public Spaces and Commercial Landscaping

Public Space at the Crossroads of everything.

A glossary of Road Diet Stratergies.

What is Public Space and Why does it need protecting.

Landscape Australia. The Politics of Public Space

Urban design guidelines for Public Space

Melbourne Parks and Public spaces

Victorian Walks and Public Spaces

Landscape Design Credit ACLA

Gardening Knowhow

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Soft and Hard Landscaping, Residential Home and Civil projects across Australia by Reds Landscaping and Design

Great Melbourne Lawn - Reds Landscaping & Design

5 Steps for a Great Melbourne Lawn

Lawn renovation is best done in early Autumn in Melbourne gardens. Take the time to assess your lawn and plan for some renovation and repair work. Start by walking over your lawn and checking for any bald patches, or high spots or dips.

Lawn Irrigation Systems

Turn on your irrigation system and check if all parts of the lawn are getting adequate water. If you cannot push the tines of a fork into the bald patches, then the topsoil might be compressed or the irrigation might not be reaching that spot. Also check for weeds and other pests and diseases whilst you are there.

What is the best treatment for grass?

Step 1: Lawn Weed Removal

The first step in a successful lawn renovation is to remove the weeds. If the weather is sunny, you could use a selective spray, but do not be afraid of digging the weeds out by hand.

Lawn Care Melbourne - Removing Weeds - Reds Landscaping & Design
Removing weeds is an essential aspect of successful Lawn growth.


Step 2: Aeration of the Lawn

To make this job easier, give the grass a really good soak or do it just after a good rain. Using a granulated or spray on soil wetter will help too. The slugs of soil should come up the aerator tines and drop out onto your lawn.

Mechanical Lawn Aerator for large or commercial lawns
A walkway is a great addition to your garden that is sure to enhance your outdoor landscaping and allow you to get more enjoyment from your yard.


If you have a smaller area of lawn, then Bunnings has a hand held aerator that is reasonably priced. You can get a cyclone aerator at around $55–$60. This is money well spent.

Hand Held Aerator. Great for renovation work.

Hand Held Aerator. Great for renovation work.

The holes made by the aerator will allow oxygen, water, and nutrients to quickly get to the roots. This is especially important if you have some high traffic areas that may have had some compression and wear.


Lawn topsoil profile - Reds Landscaping and Design
Lawn topsoil profile shows the effectiveness of aeration in getting oxygen and nutrients to the lawn roots.

Step 3: Over Sow Grass Seeds

If you have hybrid roll out grass, then you will not find grass seeds of the exact same type of grass. Your local plant nursery will be able to suggest something that looks similar. Sowing lawn seeds in early Autumn means that the new lawn grass has all winter and spring to get established before the next hot summer.

Oversow lawn - Reds Landscaping and Design
Oversow the lawn with new lawn-seed. Ensure seeds go into the aeration holes.



Step 4: Top dress the lawn

Top dress with either a high quality sandy loam with a little organic matter or a course sand. The course sand works well in high traffic areas, but a topsoil high in organic matter is better at holding moisture. For real problem areas, try top dressing with a cheap fine textured potting mix. When topdressing, take care to fill any low points and bring the level up evenly to any paths or edges. Protruding pavers can make a real mess of your mower blades if the lawn is lower than your pavers. Depending on the type of topsoil you have, you may want to topdress with some gypsum to break up the clay. The gypsum will penetrate deep into the lawn through the aeration holes.

Walkway Ideas and Designs (Brick, Paver and Flagstone) - Reds Landscaping and Design
A walkway is a great addition to your garden that is sure to enhance your outdoor landscaping and allow you to get more enjoyment from your yard.



Topdressing with cheap potting mix

For small bald patches in your lawn, a cheap fine potting mix can be a good alternative to sandy loam. The whole nature strip below has been repaired this way, and the rapid growth in the grass is amazing. The potting mix helps to keep the grass seeds moist for germination and can provide some protection from birds.

top dressing with a cheap fine textured potting mix - Reds Landscaping and Design
Top dressing with a cheap fine textured potting mix. This is a great solution for small problem areas or bald patches in your lawn.

Step 5: Apply Soil Wetter and liquid fertilizer to your lawn

Give your grass a liquid fertiliser like Neutrog Seamungus as well as some more soil wetter. The liquid fertiliser will encourage plant and root growth. The soil wetter is required as often the top dress soils are hydrophobic, resulting in the water just running off the soil. If you repeat this last step for 3 or 4 weeks, the results will be amazing.

hydrophobic-hydrophilic - Reds Landscaping and Design
The Wetting of Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic Materials.


The Lawn Topsoil Conundrum

For hard wearing lawns, the topsoil needs to be a sandy loam. This type of topsoil should also be used when topdressing the high traffic areas of your lawn. This will also mean that the area will require regular watering or an irrigation system to stay green as the soil moisture content will be lower in these areas. One solution to this problem is to use a product like Neutrog Seamungus after aerating to help the soil retain moisture. We have had some success using this product on some of our commercial landscaping lawns.

Soil moisture - Reds Landscaping and Design
The ability of your soil to provide moisture will depend on the soil structure and the amount of organic matter.

Restoring Commercial Landscaping Lawns

When restoring commercial landscaping lawns, many of the same principles apply as they would to a very large residential area.

The use of mechanical spreaders and mechanical aerators is required to do economical restoration of a large area. Many lawns in public spaces need to be very hard wearing, so sandy loam topsoils and irrigation systems using harvested rainwater are often used. Often, there is a trade-off between attractive green grass and sustainability, with areas browning off a little over summer. Couch grass will often brown in the colder months, but this is not a major concern either.

commercial landscaping lawn - Reds Landscaping and Design
Commercial landscaping grass just starting to green up after the application of soil wetters and Neutrog Seamungus.


Many commercial landscapes will use a hard wearing kikuyu in either an instant roll out or by hydroseeding or hydromulching.

The Lawn in Landscape Design.

The lawn has been part of landscape design for centuries. Lawns were established as a vital element of garden design during the 18th century. Eighteenth-century landscape designers stylised English pastoral scenery around English Manor Houses as a central part of the landscape design. In those days, cheap labour with scythes enabled lawn maintenance on the rolling green hills close to the stately home. With modern landscape design, the maintenance of the lawn is a critical factor in good landscape design. The grassed area cannot be too steep or uneven for mowing with a rotary mower. Our 3D design package enables all of these items to be checked as part of the landscape design package.


3D computer render of a lawn, house and garden - Reds Landscaping and Design
3D computer render of a lawn, house and garden.


Related Landscaping Ideas from Red's Landscaping

Melbourne Landscaping Topsoil Types

Commercial Landscaping of Public Spaces.

5 tips for Drought Tolerant Landscaping in Melbourne

Landscaping Melbourne with Climbing Plants

Screening Plants for Garden Privacy

New Home Construction Landscaping

5 Melbourne Garden Weeds and how to prevent them.

13 Best landscapers of all time.

3 Best Types of Concrete Retaining Wall

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More information on Lawns

Neutrog Seamungus.

How to improve hydrophobic soil