Pugh’s Earthworks

In the realm of commercial property development and urban planning, the functionality of Outdoor Common Area Design is pivotal in defining the character and appeal of spaces. Whether it is an outdoor hospital common area that provides a serene retreat for visitors and patients, an inviting and vibrant outdoor HOA common area, or a meticulously planned outdoor retail center common area that enhances shopping experiences, Pugh’s Earthworks understands the design of these spaces demands thoughtful consideration. This guide aims to offer valuable insights and strategies for commercial property owners, urban planners, and HOA members who are looking to elevate outdoor common areas in various settings, including hotels, parks, and industrial centers.

Understanding the Role of Outdoor Common Areas

Outdoor common areas serve as communal hubs that foster social interactions, relaxation, and connectivity with nature. These spaces can significantly impact the perceived value and functionality of commercial properties. From outdoor hotel common areas that offer guests a tranquil oasis to outdoor park common areas that encourage community engagement and physical activity, the benefits of well-designed outdoor spaces are manifold.

Key Principles of Effective Outdoor Common Area Design

  • Sustainable Design and Green Infrastructure – Incorporating sustainable design principles and green infrastructure is no longer optional; it is a necessity. Sustainable design in outdoor common areas focuses on minimizing environmental impact through the use of eco-friendly materials, energy-efficient lighting, and water-conserving landscapes. Green infrastructure, including permeable pavements, rain gardens, and green roofs, plays a crucial role in managing stormwater, reducing urban heat islands, and enhancing biodiversity.
  • Versatility and Flexibility – Outdoor common areas should cater to a wide range of activities and functions. This can be achieved by incorporating versatile furniture, movable planters, and modular elements that can be easily reconfigured to accommodate events, gatherings, or simply provide varied seating and interaction opportunities.
  • Accessibility and Inclusivity – Ensuring that outdoor common areas are accessible and inclusive is paramount. This includes adhering to ADA guidelines, providing ample seating and shade, and designing spaces that are navigable and comfortable for individuals of all ages and abilities. Incorporating tactile and sensory elements can also enhance the experience for users with disabilities.
  • Connection to Nature – Biophilic design principles, which seek to connect individuals more closely to nature, have been shown to improve mental well-being, reduce stress, and increase overall happiness. Incorporating natural elements, such as water features, native plants, and trees, into outdoor common areas can create more healthful and restorative environments.

Case Studies and Best Practices

  • Outdoor Hospital Common Area: Hospitals have reported great benefits from redesigned outdoor common areas to include healing gardens, walking paths, and meditation spaces. This transformation leads to improved patient outcomes and staff satisfaction, showcasing the power of nature in healthcare environments.
  • Outdoor HOA Common Area: HOAs have reported tremendous improvements in their common areas by introducing community gardens, a multipurpose sports court, and shaded pavilions, fostering a stronger sense of community and encouraging outdoor recreation among residents.
  • Outdoor Retail Center Common Area: Retail Centers report a redesigned outdoor space to include interactive art installations, pop-up event areas, and comfortable lounging spots, have resulted in increased foot traffic and longer visit durations.


The design of outdoor common areas in commercial settings plays a critical role in shaping user experiences, promoting sustainability, and enhancing community well-being. By adhering to principles of sustainable design, versatility, accessibility, and a connection to nature, commercial property owners and urban planners can create spaces that not only meet functional needs but also enrich the lives of those who use them. Whether it is an outdoor hospital, HOA, hotel, park, or industrial center common area, thoughtful design can transform these spaces into vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable community hubs.

Incorporating these strategies into your next outdoor common area project will not only elevate the aesthetic and functional appeal of your property but also contribute positively to the environment and community at large. Let this guide serve as a starting point for your journey towards creating engaging and transformative outdoor common areas. So let us get started! Happy designing!

  • Remember, the possibilities are endless when it comes to outdoor common area design, so do not be afraid to think outside the box and incorporate unique elements that reflect the character and purpose of your space.
  • Do not underestimate the power of collaboration and gathering feedback from users. Involve stakeholders, such as community members and tenants, in the design process to ensure that their needs and preferences are taken into consideration.
  • Continuously evaluate and maintain your outdoor common areas to ensure they remain functional, appealing, and sustainable over time. Regular upkeep and updates can help prolong the lifespan of these spaces and keep them relevant to changing trends and needs. Happy designing! Let Pugh’s Earthworks create vibrant and welcoming outdoor common areas that enhance our communities and the world around us. Remember, sustainable design is not just about aesthetics, but also about creating spaces that benefit both people and the planet. Together, we can make a positive impact through thoughtful outdoor common area design.


Pugh’s Earthworks Landscape Construction and Design

Our highly skilled team can build the most beautiful outdoor spaces, including walkways, patios and decks. They will also install hardscaping like retaining walls or stonewalls that will make your property stand out from the rest. Landscape construction is the process of building a landscape. It includes the design, planning and installation of the landscape.

Landscaping is an art that uses plants, trees and shrubs to beautify your property and make it more attractive. A well-designed landscape can increase your property value by as much as 30%. Whether it is a simple flowerbed or an elaborate water feature at your business location, we will create something unique just for you.

Flower Bed Design & Installation: We use our expertise in horticulture to create stunning flowerbeds filled with plants that thrive on their own without much maintenance needed from you (or anyone else). You won’t have to worry about dead plants because we will make sure everything grows well together before installing them into place when needed so there are not any gaps where weeds could take over later on down the road either.”
Landscape Construction

Hardscape Design & Installation: Hardscapes are decorative features that can be used to create a visual focal point or to provide an area for sitting and relaxing. Hardscapes can be made from natural materials such as stone, brick or concrete. These materials can come in different colors and textures which will make your space unique.

Shrub Installation & Trimming: Hedges and shrubs are a mainstay of landscape design at most apartments, condominiums and gated community entrances. Everything starts with creating the perfect planting beds, then selecting and installing the perfect shrubs for the area. Perfectly trimmed hedges can be an important part of your commercial landscape. The right plants and trees can add color and beauty to any area of your business property. We specialize in designing planting beds, mulching and installation and maintenance of shrubs. Our work will enhance the look of your property, while also providing an attractive space for employees to relax or customers to enjoy during breaks.

Retaining Wall & Stonewall Construction: At Pugh’s Earthworks, we are a commercial landscape design and installation company. We have been in business since 1992, and our goal is to create a unique design for your property that will make it stand out from the rest.


Landscaping, Landscape Design



Pugh’s Earthworks

Memphis Headquarters

Phone: (866) 207-4734