Green spaces in cities are highly beneficial to their residents. For one, they offer something every person needs—oxygen. By incorporating green spaces into urban layouts, city dwellers will get a breath of fresh air. One tree removes about 26 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year.
However, unsurprisingly, there's not much room, so landscape professionals have to be creative in finding spaces to add greenery in the city. Often compact, these green spots have to be attractive and thrive in an asphalt jungle.
No matter what space you are dealing with, adding green brightens everything around it and gives urban residents places to enjoy nature. As a landscape pro, it's not the same as planning out a project for a yard or private property. If you're looking for inspiration, consider these ideas.
Blacktops Go Green
There are thousands if not millions of parking spaces in urban areas. These asphalt or concrete stretches could use some appealing green spaces.
Islands and modified curb structures are options to break up the monotony of blacktops. In these structures, you can start with some grass and small trees. Several grass seed types will tolerate foot traffic well. These examples are also low maintenance and need minor pruning.
Almost every large city has parks in its downtown area. These can vary in size but offer lots of benefits to city dwellers. Some of these parks have been there since the city started growing. While these areas may be home to grassy spots and trees, there are new ways to invigorate old spaces.
How a city park's landscape is designed should be based on how residents use it. Many need it to exercise pets. Others want to give kids a space to run around. Some just want to sit and read a book.
There are lots of different use cases, and it would be impossible to please everyone. As a landscape designer, you could consider these city park updates:
- Layer flowers and shrubs to maximize space
- Differentiate pet areas and people areas with different types of grass
- Incorporate plants and flowers into sculptures or fountains
- Use shrubs or trees to offer quieter areas
Those two words seem odd together, yet it's something cities are embracing more and more. Architects and landscape designers are working to maximize the space available for plants just as they do when accommodating growing populations.
Green spaces are going vertical and expanding across water. They are also spreading to hillsides that have been broken into, creating more square footage. These creative ways to develop areas of green are extremely popular and in demand, as everyone wants to enjoy some greenery among the skyscrapers and sidewalks.
City residents are also doing their part, creating green spaces on balconies and rooftops. They are growing vegetables in containers and hanging baskets of flowers. Neighbors are coming together to build community gardens as well.
Meditation and Relaxation Gardens
City life is fast-paced and stressful at times. Those who deal with this every day need somewhere to escape it. Plants can help, as they are known for their calming effects. While it seems impossible to meditate and relax in the city, the right touch of green makes it possible.
Putting the right mix of trees, shrubs and plants together create a Zen-like space. City residents will appreciate the opportunity to sit back and reflect in a green oasis. Designing spaces like these add that touch of nature that's missing from urban life.
Beltlines and Greenways
Many major cities are creating beltlines and greenways. You'll find them beside water sources as well as areas once used for other things, such as an old railroad corridor.
Greenways and beltlines attract lots of traffic—runners, dog walkers, bicycle riders—and the more greenery packed in, the better. It's like dropping a bit of wilderness into the big city.
Noise pollution is a by-product of city life. Busy roads and highways keep things noisy day and night. Instead of building walls, cities can find a better way to buffer the noise with greenery. Strategic planting of shrubs and trees enhances the surrounding areas and helps protect people from annoying, disruptive noise.
Placing parts of nature into the city is an easy feat. There are so many factors to consider—the most important one being space. These ideas to incorporate more greenery into city life could be the start of your next project.
With such a project, it will require plants that are hardy and easy to maintain. Lots of other aspects like climate will be part of the decision. It may be easier to use native plants as a large part of the green space. Whatever plants make their way into the city will certainly bring beauty and well-being to its residents.