Does your business or municipal building have a unique, inviting look?
Posted on 07/26/2019
Design standards look at unique displays. The City of Northville Beautification Commission (BC) has begun judging local businesses and government and community buildings on the “star quality” of their gardens and landscaping that beckon to visitors not only from the front of the building but from all sides. It’s a tall order to keep the exterior of a building looking good in all seasons, but especially in the summer with added effort to keep flowers blooming, greenery thriving and weeds at bay.

“We encourage all businesses and municipal facilities to join the City in making their landscape or storefront part of this collective community effort to beautify Northville, said Diane Pittaway, chairperson of the City of Northville Beautification Commission.

Her team of 13 BC members and volunteers plant and maintain the 60 flower barrels, plus eight sets of triple barrels, throughout the City as well as several plantings at commons areas. Native plants are being added over time to the larger areas, such as Griswold island, where they are expected to develop deep roots that prevent soil erosion, require less maintenance, and attract beneficial birds, bees and insects. The cost of the flowers and plants in the downtown area is paid by the Downtown Development Authority, and they also water the barrels. The Dept. of Public Works assists by preparing the soil for planting. Fertilization is done at the time of planting.

Members of the commission work in groups to judge, each group visiting one section of the City. They create a list of nominees for members to vote on. Judging focuses on four main categories: 1) general appearance/curb appeal; 2) design; 3) environment and 4) special features. Each of these categories has examples that judges consider. In the design category, they look for one or more the following: a focal point, color balance/contrast, texture/movement, sun/shade exposure and other artistic features.

Owners and operators often won’t know their property is being evaluated, since the commission doesn’t inform them as they review the exterior setting. Winners, announced after Aug. 1, receive an award lawn sign, a certificate suitable for framing, and an invitation to be recognized at the Fall Rotary luncheon where both the City and township Beautification Commissions present their awards. Business owners and municipal administrators attend this annual event, now in its 37th year.

One of last year’s winners – the First United Methodist Church – was nominated by Pittaway and won an award on May 17 from the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association for their environmental landscape project called “The Path.” The garden concept and execution was spearheaded by Sally Ferree, a member of the congregation at the church on 8 Mile in the City of Northville. The public is welcome to walk along The Path, which has tiered levels, unique groupings of plants and flowers, five rain gardens, and a water feature.

For a checklist of what the commission values highly, please visit the City’s website.