The Benefits of Landscaping

Landscaping does more than just create beautiful curb appeal. Taking care of your property, whether a single-family residence, a condominium community, or a commercial development, has environmental, economic, and health benefits.

Environmental Benefits

Maintaining your lawn or property helps to protect you and the environment. Here are some of the ways landscaping helps the environment:

  • A lawn helps to control temperature extremes. In summer months, grass is cooler than pavement or cement, and trees that provide shade help cool down the property and home even more.
  • Grass helps to capture dust and pollutants and produces oxygen, keeping the air we breathe cleaner.
  • Pollutants and storm runoff are reduced when healthy lawns absorb water, which reduces local flooding and keeps polluted water out of larger bodies of water.

Economic Benefits

Along with helping the environment, a well-cared for property has economic benefits for homeowners and business owners alike:

  • Curb appeal is the first thing people notice when looking to buy a home. A beautiful property can increase the value of your home and reduce the time your property is on the market.
  • Residents of apartment complexes or condominiums are likely to pay more to live in a complex with grounds that are well cared for. HOA fees generally take care of landscaping, which means residents can enjoy the benefits of the property without having to care for it themselves.
  • In commercial spaces, green space encourages shoppers to spend more time at the development and increases property values.

Health Benefits

Landscaping also positively impacts health, both at home and work environments.

  • By filtering pollutants, landscaping helps to clean to the air.
  • In workplaces, landscaped areas help to decrease stress and increase positive mood, even if just looking out a window.
  • A well-planned property can provide privacy and a beautiful environment where you can spend time with loved ones.

With warmer weather approaching, now is the time to get started on your landscaping, so that you can enjoy the benefits of the outdoors for the next several months.

Office Space: Collaborative Conference Rooms

What do you envision when you think of conference rooms? Many people still picture a large room with empty walls and a large table with chairs. In today’s collaborative workplaces, meeting areas and conference rooms are taking on many different designs.

Determine Size Needs

If you are designing your office space, first determine the need you have for meetings. Smaller rooms can be utilized for more intimate meetings with two to six people. These spaces can also be used for brainstorming sessions, focus work, one-on-one sessions and phone or video conferencing.

Large conference rooms may still be needed for management sessions or company-wide meetings, but the layout doesn’t have to be traditional. Consider comfortable seating surrounding a central area. Being in a relaxed space can make people feel more at ease, and therefore more willing to share thoughts and ideas.

Of course, the traditional conference room still holds its purpose for larger and more formal corporations.

Purpose of Meeting Rooms

There’s a variety of reasons companies need meeting areas. Are you bringing outside clients into your office? Are you holding management sessions to make decisions for the company? Do employees need space to collaborate on projects?

The purpose of your meeting areas will help you determine the style layout of each space. Many offices that rely heavily on collaboration opt for meeting areas with glass walls. Collaborative areas may also need items such as a large whiteboard for brainstorming.

For larger, company-wide meetings, consider using the traditional table and chairs with a focal point for presentations. A horseshoe or teardrop shaped table allows everyone at the table to see more easily.

Smart Conference Rooms

Technology is essential in any meeting space. To make your meetings as functional and efficient as possible, investing in the technology your team needs can save everybody time.

A wireless presentation system, such as an Apple TV, allows you to display presentations, share a computer screen, and do video conferences easily, making it the most common piece of technology for meeting rooms. For a large company, utilizing meeting room scheduling software eliminates double booking. Companies that want to take the whiteboard to the next level, interactive boards, such as Google Jamboard, allows for multiple users and transferring the project to a computer or mobile device.

350 Goose Lane Office Park allows tenants to design their office layout. The Horton Group works to provide what your company or office needs to

 

Ribbon Cutting at 350 Goose Lane Office Park

Last week, The Horton Group held a Ribbon Cutting for Building B at 350 Goose Lane Office Park. The Shoreline Chamber of Commerce helped kick off the event before guests and tenants mingled and enjoyed refreshments throughout the 16,000 square foot building. They were joined by tenants of the building: One + Company,  Company Cubed, Altman Orthopaedics, Newor Media, and American Cruise Lines, each with a unique office set up that best represents the type of atmosphere desired by each company.

Building B is the second of three buildings on a professional campus that was once home to Wilber & King Nursery. The Horton Group has kept the integrity of the site by first renovating the existing 4,200 square foot Building A, which opened in 2017, and constructing two new buildings (Buildings B and C). The new construction consists of Type II non-combustible steel and concrete structures. Building C, a three-story 24,000 square foot building, is currently being constructed.

While developing 350 Goose Lane Office Park, The Horton Group paid particular attention to the green space surrounding the buildings. Tenants can enjoy the onsite pond, spacious courtyard, and beautiful landscaping. Studies have shown that green space in commercial development has significant benefits for both employers and employees. The Horton Group knew that the former nursery would provide the perfect site for a new office park, combining state-of-the-art building design and ample outdoor space.

Interested in Building C at 350 Goose Lane Office Park? Contact us for details.

What is the best location for HVAC condensing units?

With the official start of spring, temperatures will soon be rising again. If you are installing HVAC, efficiency should come before the appearance of the unit. With advanced technology and a multitude of options, it’s becoming easier to find an HVAC system that keeps your home a comfortable temperature, doesn’t make your electric bill skyrocket, and is not an eyesore.

When choosing a location for the condensing unit of an HVAC system, people often try to “hide” it from view. But the location of the unit, when placed correctly, can actually help it run more efficiently.

Condensing units, like air conditioners, help cool down your home. The condensing unit is the part of the HVAC system that goes outside your home. To make sure it is not working too hard in the summer months, consider where it will be placed. Here are a couple of tips when choosing a location:

 

  • Stay out direct sunlight. The cooler the air around the unit is, the less it has to work, lowering both energy use and costs. Opt for a shady, cool area whenever possible.
  • Keep the area clear of debris. Hiding the unit by planting shrubs or bushes could cause filters to get clogged. Keep the area directly surrounding the unit clear of leaves, long grass, and other debris to avoid this.

 

This doesn’t mean you can’t get creative when placing your condensing unit. Many people place their condensing unit under a deck to hide it from view. Another option is putting up a wide-slotted fence around the unit, which allows for airflow and muffles noise.

Work with your heating and cooling contractor to choose a place that ensures efficiency and doesn’t block any views of your yard.

What are building allowances for new construction?

For new developments, builders may choose to include allowances in construction contracts. Allowances help to establish clear expectations about costs, as they allocate funds to particular areas throughout the construction process.

If your builder offers allowances, it enables you the right to provide a product or service. This cost is deducted from the total amount you owe the contractor. For example, if the price of the home is $400,000, and the builder gives you a $20,000 allowance for flooring, the amount paid to the builder is lowered to $380,000.

Providing allowances gives future residents flexibility to customize their home and contractors clear guidelines from which to move forward. Some of the usual allowances in residential construction include:

  • Appliances
  • Flooring
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Kitchen countertops
  • Cabinetry
  • Light fixtures
  • Door hardware

In addition to providing customization for new construction, allowances can help you stay on budget. Each allowance is its own budget, helping you pick finishes you want while staying true to your maximum overall cost.

By working with tenants or owners throughout the process of the build, builders provide information about allowance options, as well as the pros and cons of choice for cabinetry, flooring, countertops, or any other selections that may be available. Also, if you go above the mini-budget in one area of the house or condominium, you can get back on track by cutting back somewhere else.  

If you know you want to be involved in choosing finishes for a new home, start working with the builder or general contractor as soon as possible. This will allow you to learn about the options you have, review the allowance for each, and make decisions without feeling rushed. If a build is almost complete, the general contractor will have to begin making choices so the job is not delayed, which would cost time and money.

Types of Signage for Commercial Leases

Having your business logo on the building you work in makes good sense. It allows clients or patients to quickly find you and is a form of advertisement. This is especially true if your building can be seen from a highway or busy intersection.

If you own the building, you are free to put your company logo where you want it. But if you lease commercial space, signage needs to be discussed with your landlord before you sign a lease. Determine what type of signage is offered to you as a tenant. Don’t assume you will get the same type of signage as other tenants, because it often depends on the space available.

Types of signage

There are several types of signage that you may be able to get if you are in a commercial building with other tenants. The size, type, and location of signage rights should all be clarified in your lease.

  • Building signage. When available, landlords will offer signage right on the building. If you are in a strip mall type of building, stores and business will usually be able to get their signage on the building or front entrance. In a commercial space in a multi-level building, this becomes harder to accomplish. As a sole tenant or main tenant occupying multiple floors in one building, you may have exclusive building signage rights, meaning your logo would be the only one displayed directly on the building.
  • Monument signage. Commercial buildings often have a monument near the road entrance to display the tenants. Monument space is limited to a certain number of slots, so there is no guarantee that your company’s logo will be placed there if it is not in the lease. In addition to whether or not your logo will be on the monument, you should also address where on the monument your logo will be displayed and the size of the signage, as some monuments offer different proportions.
  • Directory or Suite. If your commercial building has a lobby, find out what type of signage is there to guide people to the correct office space. A directory or suite signage will give company names as well as suite numbers. Find out if this signage is all the same font, or if your actual logo can be used here.
  • Door signage. Once people get to your suite, signage at the door or on the wall next to your door will let them know they are in the right spot. Your lease should explain the size and location of signage at your office space.

Signage directs clients to you. Make sure you consider all the types of signage you want when you move into a new space.

Benefits of Glass Walls in Offices

Open office spaces were highly sought after a few years ago. Now, many offices want to blend the open office feel with some space for privacy or sound barriers. While nobody wants to go back to working in a cubicle, many people felt distracted in a completely open office.  

What is the compromise? Companies want their employees to be able to work efficiently and effectively – with time for collaboration and space to focus. To meet all of these needs, many offices are incorporating glass walls or partitions.

Glass walls can create private meeting areas, conference rooms, or a partition while still appearing open and inviting. This allows for collaboration while still allowing for private conference or phone call areas.

We have incorporated glass in many of our client’s offices at 350 Goose Lane Office Park. A doctor’s office has the traditional sliding glass to separate the waiting area from the receptionist office. Another space has a podcast room with a glass wall and door so others can see in while shows are being recorded. We have also built small offices and conference rooms with glass walls.

The benefits of using glass walls or partitions in office spaces include:

  • Communication. The glass allows for an open feel in an office space. People can see when you are available to collaborate and are more apt to ask a question or share a thought when others are visible.
  • Privacy. The flip side of collaboration is privacy – most offices have workers who need both. Glass offices or conference rooms allow for some privacy. By adding in curtains or blinds, these spaces feel even more private when needed. Another option is frosting the glass, so it is not as easy to see into a room.

  • Light. By replacing traditional walls with glass walls, light is able to stream through the entire office. Natural light is beneficial in improving mood and focus.

Many people wonder about how sound travels when using glass to separate spaces. There are types of glass that are more soundproof than others. You will also want to consider the ceiling. An open, industrial style ceiling will enable sound to travel and echo more, while a drop-down ceiling with soundproof ceiling tiles will help to keep sound in.

When deciding what type of layout you want in your office, speak with your contractor about what can be done, so your office is functional for your needs.

What are HOA fees?

When looking for a condo, townhome, or a property in a planned or gated community, be sure to take a look at the Homeowners Association (HOA) fees. HOA fees are included for all common areas of the property. Since there are multiple residents in the same complex, all are required to join the HOA and help cover the costs of common areas.

Monthly Expenses

HOA fees cover monthly expenses for upkeep and maintenance of the property and common areas. This can include landscaping, pool area, fitness room, parking lots, and hallways. In addition, utilities and insurance for these common areas are covered through HOA fees.

Reserve Fund

Along with covering monthly maintenance costs, part of the fee goes into a reserve fund. This fund can be used for larger, planned expenses, such as plumbing or a new roof for a building. Reserve funds may also be used for emergency situations, like the expenses that occur from a natural disaster.

Are HOA fees worth it?

That can depend on what you are looking for. The amenities that come with complex living can be unbeatable, especially when you don’t have to deal with the day-to-day maintenance or the stress when an unexpected cost arises.  Generally speaking, the more upscale a complex and its amenities, the higher the HOA fees are. The cost of fees can also depend on where you live. For example, living in humid, subtropical Florida can raise the HOA fees for the price of landscaping alone. Always be sure to find out what the fees are and exactly what they cover before making a decision to purchase a condo or townhome

What type of insulation do I need?

Insulation is needed in homes for many reasons: cost and energy savings, comfort, and even noise reduction. Depending on the climate where you live, the amount or type of insulation you need varies.

Insulation materials slow the flow of heat. In winter, it will slow the flow of heat from inside the home moving out, and in summer it slows the flow of heat from the outside in. The better insulation you have, the slower that flow will be, saving you on heating and cooling costs.

Insulation R-values refers to how much insulating power you need or have in your home. The higher the R-value, the more heat the material resists. The R-value is determined by the type of material used, the density, and the thickness.

The map and table below, from Insulation Institute, shows the insulation R-value needed based on location in the United States.

Zone Attic Wall Cavity Floor
1 R30 to R49 R13 to R15 R13
2 R30 to R60 R13 to R15 R13 to R25
3 R30 to R60 R13 to R15 R25
4 R38 to R60 R13 to R15 R25 to R30
5 R38 to R60 R13 to R21 R25 to R30
6 R49 to R60 R13 to R21 R25 to R30
7 R49 to R60 R13 to R21 R25 to R30
8 R49 to R60 R13 to R21 R25 to R30

 

“This map shows thermal recommended levels of insulation for various climate zones, based on recommendations from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The IECC is the model building code for the United States.” (insulationinstitute.org)

When building or renovating, consult with your contractor to determine what type of insulation is best for your home and location.

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