Rick Longnecker

Unlike residential homes, commercial properties experience large amounts of foot traffic nearly every day. It is important to keep this fact in mind when installing new landscaping elements. Failure to address foot traffic can lead to damaged plants and turf that is not only unsightly but also financially wasteful.

In a perfect world, the vast majority of foot traffic will be limited to paved walkways. In reality, people naturally take short cuts when they can. Signs of heavy traffic on non-paved areas should be pretty obvious. Once you have identified the problem areas, you can beat them or join them so to speak.

Ornamental boulders, shrubs, or hardscaping such as benches create physical barriers that block traffic, re-directing pedestrians towards established walkways. The other option is to restructure the area by making it more conducive to foot traffic. Replacing turf or plant beds with mulch, gravel, or paver stones makes the area an inviting route to pedestrians while eliminating their negative impact.

The best options will vary significantly depending on the size and location of the problem area and the resulting traffic it receives. Regardless of the builder’s intentions, walkers will tend to seek out the shortest path. The trick is to limit the negative impact of foot traffic by altering routes when possible, and adjusting the landscaping when necessary.

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