Small business owners have to juggle many moving pieces of operations in an effort to keep customers coming into their store.  Staffing, inventory, bookkeeping, maintenance, customer service – it’s a long list. But there is one piece of the puzzle that can effectively draw in business: inviting curb appeal!

Storefront landscaping doesn’t have to be a major financial investment but it can be an effective marketing tool.  Just as curb appeal enhances the value of a residence it can also increase store revenue. A shop that is welcoming will bring in more customer traffic which in turn translates to more sales.

Think about these suggestions to improve your storefront landscaping.

Choose the Right Message

Your business has a brand and your landscaping should complement that message.  If you operate a bake shop that specializes in favorite old fashioned sweets, flower boxes with familiar heirloom plants like geraniums or marigolds will create a homespun environment.  If your business is high tech, consider edgier plants like bird of paradise or rugged grasses.  A restaurant’s culinary brand would be reinforced by pots of lush herbs.

Beyond The Pots

While pots and flower boxes always enhance don’t limit yourself to typical vessels.  Think of the fun an antique store could have using old boots or wash tubs to hold their plants. A bookstore would be wise to install a bench that reminds customers how lovely it is to sit in nature and read a book.

If you are fortunate enough to have a strip of land between the sidewalk and the street, commandeer that space for plant materials.  How lovely it would be to create a border to diminish street traffic.  If you have access to electricity at the storefront, a calming fountain would be a soothing beacon for passersby.

Accent Your Architecture

It’s important to keep your storefront landscaping in line with the building’s architecture.  Wood molding, big windows and lace curtains call for overflowing pots of daisies, petunias and other old fashioned flowers.  A sleek modern façade would be a terrific backdrop for large sculpted shrubs in containers with good clean lines.  You want your message to be welcoming and also cohesive.

Consider Color

Color has long been utilized to set the mood or deliver a message.  Bright, bold colors suggest activity and vivid personality while whites and pastels offer a more soothing effect.  A mix of color is a way to stir things up and a use of monotones suggests a relaxing presence.  A candy store would be well served with a blast of orange, hot pink and purple; a yoga studio says “Namaste” with a setting of lush green foliage and all white flowers.

Mix in Signage

Many business offer daily specials or services and portable signage is a way to deliver this timely message.  Consider designing the signage to work well with plant materials.  A chalk board above a colorful window box would certainly get attention while a sandwich board surrounded by overflowing pots will not go unnoticed.  If you want to call attention to permanent signage, work your plant materials around it in an engaging formation.

Direct the Flow of Traffic

If your business has an unusual entry location, storefront landscaping can be used to direct customer flow.  Pots and containers can form a path that says, “Come this way.”  Likewise if you want to set special merchandise outside of the store, landscaping can be used to highlight these products and encourage sales of inventory overflow.

On-going Maintenance

While improving storefront landscaping does not have to be a big dollar investment it will require on-going maintenance.  Dried up dying flowers is not the message you want to convey about your business.  Make sure plant materials are watered deep on a daily basis and be sure to pull out weeds and pinch back dead flower heads.

For a very small investment, you can contract a professional landscape company to install irrigation tubes to flower pots and other containers.  Typically these are set to a timer and will provide regular water to the plants.  The irrigation tubes can be used from year to year so no replacement costs should be needed.  Your plants will thrive and in turn so will traffic into your business.

Growing your small business can be tough, but if you use storefront landscaping wisely your sales will grow along with the plants.  Make your business a standout on the streetscape.  It will help build the customer traffic that will keep your business booming.