Landscape Plan for Cardinia Shopping Centre
This is part of a landscape plan for a sprawling shopping centre in Pakenham. The challenge for commercial developments, as always, is to find ways to satisfy the requirements of both council and the developer.
Council will usually want as much upper canopy as possible including throughout the carparking areas. The developer on the other hand needs to make the most of all available space for building and carparking. It can be a challenge to find suitable trees species and suitable planting methods, that will allow the trees to grow within limited space within in the carpark.
On some projects we have researched and discussed with council planners some scenarios that will allow trees to be grown successfully in very tight spaces. This has then allowed a developer’s preferred option to go ahead, as it enabled them to squeeze in the number of carparking spaces that were required for the permit to be approved.
Another conflict between council and developer in the case of landscaping commercial properties is that council usually require significant vegetation to soften the buildings. The developer and future tenant would prefer to have open and clear views to the façade of the buildings and especially the signage. Careful selection and positioning of the vegetation can fulfill both of these requirements.
Pedestrian access is another challenge for a retail site like this one. If pedestrian access has not been planned for successfully using the shortest possible route, people will of course take shortcuts through the garden beds. This can be allowed for in the design using plants which will tolerate the traffic in some areas and plants that will suppress the traffic in other areas.
Ongoing maintenance is another consideration for the developer and the tenant. The council is usually onboard for a low maintenance landscape plan as well, as it will help to ensure the site does not cause an eye-sore in the area in the longer term.
There are many ways to reduce ongoing maintenance on the initial landscape plan including:
Eliminating lawn areas or if that is not possible, ensuring the lawn areas are free of obstacles and that there is a planted or paved buffer between walls and the lawn areas;
Increasing plant density to reduce weed infiltration and reduce evaporation of moisture without ongoing mulching being required;
Adding inexpensive drip irrigation hose to reduce moisture stress and ensure the plants thrive and fulfill their role without further intervention.