Mini Gardens and Specialized Landscaping

By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | July 06, 2014

In the ever growing hospitality industry, first impressions are critical for establishing and maintaining a competitive edge. Each property has its own unique twists and turns that can be used to create an appealing look and feel for the property. Not only can a beautiful garden showcase your property, but it can also be a simple and cost-effective way to differentiate your hotel from the competition. Careful selection of plant varieties and regular maintenance can help keep the landscape within budget while still showing the hotels property in its best light. The landscape can create a sense of peace and tranquility, awe, surprise, or even excitement. Whether you want to create small, intimate spaces, highlight a particular feature, or maximize a difficult-to-tame sloping property, every landscape can be used to create an attract space that transports guests to a different place.

Add a Small English Garden

Depending on the overall theme of your property, consider turning all or part of your property into a small garden areas. You can create one large garden with small nooks and crannies or turn only part of the property into a small, intimate space. Creating small gardens can provide guests with a place for quiet contemplation and relaxation.

There are many ways you can create small gardens on your property, and a landscape contractor would be able to help provide direction for what might work best for your property. A popular choice to consider is an English garden, as they are very versatile and can thrive almost anywhere. These types of gardens have become quite popular due to their charm and tranquility as well as the "natural" feeling they can evoke. A small English garden added to the property might include http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_landscape_garden#cite_note-20 features such as shrubberies along a graveled or mulched walkway, tree plantations to satisfy botanical curiosity, and, most notably, the return of flowers in skirts of sweeping planted beds.

The first thing you want to do is select a few main colors to create continuity within the garden. Annuals allow you the option of trying new colors each year, as well as the chance to keep the colors continuous. If you want to create contrast, then use perennial blooms of opposing colors. You can achieve variety by using a number of different shades of the main color components. The more traditional flowers used in these types of gardens are roses, delphiniums, and foxglove; however there are many others you can use instead. Some others that are also used frequently are pink dianthus, pansies, and violas, but do not feel restricted to just these options. If you want to use more native plants, or have a particular color or style in mind, your landscape contractor can help make suggestions for what will work best for your property.

It is also important to add a little bit of structure, so consider grouping flowers together either by height or width within the various flower beds. A great way to create harmony and balance is by planting blooms based on shape, color, leaf size, and texture. This will help ensure continuity while still allowing for a sense of surprise. This can be further expanded by making borders and beds in different shapes and sizes. Consider making beds and borders narrower in some places and wider in others. This will allow you to play around with plant depth as well, creating a more interesting design.

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.