Transforming a concrete courtyard into a relaxing plaza is one way to make a commercial property look a lot more inviting. It also makes the work environment a lot greener for employees who might be tired of looking at a completely paved property. Rather than removing all of the existing concrete and laying down new concrete in only the areas you want, try concrete slab sawing. If you're going to keep the yard as mostly concrete anyway, slab sawing is a faster way to make the changes you want.
Cutting for Drainage and Planting
Adding planters and trees to the courtyard quickly transforms the space into a much friendlier addition. To do that, you can cut out squares that will become the planting spaces for new trees. Be sure the trees don't have destructive roots, and cut out enough concrete so that the trees won't have to be removed in only a few years -- you need to give them room to grow.
If you're adding planters along the sides of buildings, you can cut out slabs all along the perimeter of the yard (except at doorways and passageways). You can also add raised planters, but cut out several smaller holes in the concrete to provide drainage. Place the planters over the holes.
Do remember to reseal the newly-exposed surfaces in the concrete. When you create a square planter for a tree, the sides of the concrete blocks surrounding the hole could absorb moisture if you don't seal them.
Older concrete likely has some damage on it, such as scratches where people dropped heavy items. Slab sawing and cutting can be used to smooth out rougher areas. When concrete looks clean and smooth, it also looks newer, and the area around it may start to look better cared for.
Again, remember to reseal the concrete. When moisture gets into the concrete and freezes in winter, that ice expands, cracking the concrete. Sealant stops excessive moisture from intruding into the concrete.
Carving Decorative Pathways
Your pathways and walkways have to be a certain width in order to meet ADA standards. For wider areas where you have some extra concrete to play with, you can cut out sections to make the walkways more decorative.
Unless you've used a concrete slab saw before, get a concrete company to do the work for you. It will look better that way, and the workers from that company will have better control over the equipment.