Why are landscapes and features important?

Posted: Mar 15, 2020

Landscapes and features are important because they contribute significantly to our well-being and quality of life. They provide the broader context within which we live our lives. Living within aesthetically pleasing and culturally meaningful landscapes enhances our sense of wellbeing.

Landscapes enables people to re-connect with nature, to refresh their minds and bodies and to gain a greater appreciation of nature. Natural landscapes play an important role in increasing the quality of life within town and cities.

Physical and Psychological Benefits

The benefits of human interaction with plants, trees, and grass are also well studied and documented. Research has found that people find stress relief and healing when interacting with nature or even viewing it through a window. Children with ADHD seem to focus better after being outdoors (Harvard Health Publications). Workers are more productive as well when working in environments with plants, and cognitive function is improved.But, perhaps more important than what science tells us, is what people instinctively feel about the plants and green spaces in their lives–that the connection makes their lives better, and they want to make an effort to incorporate it into their lives.

Research from the Husqvarna Global Garden Report 2012 showed that “63% of respondents reported being willing to pay more for an apartment or house if it was located in an area with good green spaces, compared with, for instance, 34% willing to pay more for an area with good shopping and 33% for good cultural venues.”


Environmental Benefits of Managed Landscapes

  • Natural Coolants – Grass is much cooler than asphalt or cement. It acts as an “air conditioner” for the surrounding area. In fact, lawns can be 31 degrees cooler than asphalt and 20 degrees cooler than bare soil. But wait, there’s more. Trees shading homes can reduce attic temperatures by as much as 40 degrees.
  • Environmental Cleaners - Grass plays a vital role in capturing dust, smoke particles and other pollutants, and it produces oxygen.
  • Water Protectors – Healthy lawns absorb unhealthy runoff that might otherwise filter into bodies of water.
  • Air Cleaners – Grasses absorb carbon dioxide and break it down into oxygen and carbon. In fact, a 50’x50’ lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four.
  • Noise Minimizers – Lawns and plants dramatically reduce noise pollution; they can reduce noise levels by 20 percent to 30 percent over hard surfaces like concrete and pavement.
  • Turfgrass slows down and absorbs runoff into bodies of water.

Even in areas that have water restrictions and are experiencing drought, it is important that lawns and landscapes remain a viable component of healthy communities. There are a number of sustainable practices that will allow managed lawns and landscapes to reduce water usage but still provide important environmental benefits.

Benefits of Urban Landscapes

A growing body of research is demonstrating how important it is to incorporate tree canopies and parks into cities and towns. They provide a wide range of lifestyle benefits that improve the quality of life for residents.

  • Parks and tree canopies help reduce noise.
  • A recent study by the U.S. Forest Service found that neighborhoods with tree-lined streets and larger yard trees have reduced crime rates.
  • Studies show that just looking at plants and trees, even through a window, can reduce stressand lower blood pressure (Housley and Wolf).
  • Walking in a natural environment with plants and trees, even when located in the middle of a city, has been shown to improve attention and memory, according to a study by Marc Berman of the University of Michigan.
  • Neighborhoods that incorporate community green spaces have lower incidences of stress, have lower health care costs, and have an improved quality of life (Housley and Wolf).


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