Though the average passerby may be unaware of how much careful planning and meticulous creation goes into a city’s public landscapes, landscaping professionals are well versed in why landscaping matters—and what makes it most effective. Ideally, a well-done landscape does fit in seamlessly with the surrounding cityscape by complimenting and emphasizing already existing green space. But creating this seamless design takes work and resources. Many public landscaping projects suffer from lack of funding, especially in urban centers where poverty abounds. Equitable, smart, and accessible landscaping serves to benefit everyone in a community by increasing participation in local commerce, encouraging physical activity, supporting the environment, and providing psychological and emotional benefits. Engaged citizens can invest in the welfare of their city by investing in public landscaping projects, here’s why:
The Benefits of Landscaping
Parks and Green Spaces
In cities, public landscapes are created for different purposes, each with distinct benefits. Green spaces—curated urban landscapes often used for recreation (ie. parks)—are designed to benefit both human beings and local ecosystems. By planting native trees, flowers, and grasses, landscapers provide a habitat for native species and clean sources of air for the city at large. People who use parks and other green spaces benefit by engaging in more physical activity, which in turn reduces stress and boosts mood. The aesthetic beauty of green spaces also has psychological benefits—city dwellers who have beautiful, green landscapes to enjoy report feeling happier and having more energy. Green spaces are designed intentionally with these benefits in mind—landscapers chose plantings that they think will make people happiest, and they design pathways and utilities with joggers, bikers, walkers, and even yoga-ers in mind.
Landscapers also have a hand in creating community gardens—landscapes designed to provide homegrown, wholesome food to residents. Landscapers can help plot out urban farms to maximize their success. They can help create guidelines for when and where to plant fruits and vegetables, and provide soil amendments if local soil conditions are bad. Landscapers, in collaboration with agricultural professionals and city planners and residents, help create plots that provide lasting benefits to the communities that use them.
Small Businesses and Neighborhoods
Landscaping has been proven to benefit small businesses by attracting potential customers and boosting foot traffic to business districts. When cities aim to revitalize dilapidated strips, landscaping changes are often a priority. Including trees, flowers, and fresh grass alongside shops and restaurants creates an atmosphere that draws in customers. Similarly, colorful landscapes in residential neighborhoods improve quality of life for the homeowners living there. Well-kept residential landscapes make neighborhoods feel safer, cleaner, and more appealing, and green spaces near the home make domestic life happier. All city spaces—especially those that have been too-often overlooked and neglected—can benefit from landscaping design, and an ideal city is one in which green spaces and urban centers mesh effortlessly together—providing all residents with a progressive balance between work and leisure, industry and environment. As cities work to plan for the future, it is essential that they consider the benefits of landscaping and seek out the expertise of landscaping professionals.