In her Brisbane case study, Lyndal Plant found that “leafy streets, with 50 per cent more tree cover” had sale prices well above average (by around $29,000 or 5.4%).
It stands to reason that well-appointed foliage enhances the general aesthetics of a site, but it also contributes to an area’s liveability and demand, which in turn increases values.
Shade trees dissipate heat and glare, screening plants create an interface between neighbours, or hide unsightly views such as drains and busy roads, while landscaping can frames views, define edges and influence pedestrian and vehicle traffic flow.
Quality landscape design goes beyond creating beautiful spaces. There are also practical and financial considerations. There are four key elements that underpin quality landscape design:
- 1.Value for money;
- 3.Fit for purpose; and
- 4.Aesthetic appeal.
Achieving Value for Money
Making the most of your investment is two-fold: First, the landscape budget needs to be sufficient to achieve the desired outcome.The landscape budget should be part of the overall project costs, not just whatever is left over after the building and car park are finished.The plant selection, plant size (tube stock to mature specimen), hard and soft surfaces, water features and pathways should have a purpose – make them earn their money’s worth. Secondly, recognise the cost of on-going maintenance.Hedges are great, but who is going to trim them in the long-term to keep the landscaping looking great?Palms around the pool deck will look tropical and lush, but they are notorious for dropping fronds.Will there be someone to pick them up every week to keep the pool area looking tidy? Will planter boxes on the podium survive the micro-climate effects on that west facing wall?Will external materials last, or will there be costs with maintenance, repairs or replacement?
Location, Location, Location
The elements of wind, rain, temperature and orientation will all impact on landscapes and their design.Landscaping for sporting ovals, green walls or green roofs, sensitive environments, podiums and roof tops all require careful design and a suitable selection of plants, materials and soils so the landscape design not only endures, but thrives in those conditions. The design needs to consider watering, drainage, soil types and structural issues, such as trellises, soil make-up, and depth/width of planter boxes.
Fit for Purpose
Quality landscape design considers how the landscape will be used. That is, active landscapes might include playing areas, walking trails, or spaces for people to gather; while passive landscape areas may include seats, or areas for quiet reflection.An aged care facility has a very different landscape purpose compared to an office building, units, or a hostel.The provision and placement of facilities like shade trees, clothes lines, rubbish bins or barbeque facilities also needs to be considered in the design and in consideration of the end users.
A quality landscape must look good.It should compliment the built form of the structures around it and integrate with the existing features or adjoining natural areas.Landscaping has the ability to enhance the site’s best elements and hide those that are less than desirable.The landscaping should be the special ingredient that binds all the elements of the site to form a cohesive and meaningful place.Landscaping will bring out the best in the project, and help it achieve an overall aesthetic appeal.