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Many people know and appreciate a beautiful landscape, yet few understand the value it brings in addition to simply being pleasing to the eye. Properly planned and maintained properties add value over and above aesthetics. Here are a few benefits of a healthy, well-designed, and maintained landscape:
A healthy landscape provides a safe environment. It is part of a landscaper’s job to help look out for hazards and dangers in the landscape and minimize these hazards and protect the visitors to the property. Some of the hazards to be on the lookout for:
- An environment free of holes and ledges that could cause a twisted ankle or, worse, a broken bone.
- Property should be free of low-hanging limbs that one may have to avoid hitting their head on.
- Safe from dead limbs or precariously unhealthy trees that could fall and injure someone or damage property.
- Free of unwanted pests such as hornets, wasps, yellowjackets, fire-ants, poisonous snakes, and mosquitos.
- There are organic solutions to prevent these insects and weeds in many cases to eliminate using chemicals that leach into the water table and potentially cause cancer (e.g., Glyphosate).
Well-maintained landscapes benefit the overall environment in many ways and add to the quality of life. Safety is key, and part of keeping people safe is helping keep the environment healthy for the generations to come. We know that plants provide oxygen; however, to what extent most people don’t understand. Here are some statistics of what a properly maintained landscape can do for us all:
- A 2,500-square-foot section of maintained turf provides enough oxygen for a family of four.
- Regular mowing at proper mowing heights keeps the turf actively growing and producing more oxygen than turf left un-mowed.
- An acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.
- Proper shrub pruning helps keep the plants actively growing and producing oxygen, just like mowing the grass.
- Turf, trees, and shrubs all reduce the temperature. For example, think how hot it is to walk on concrete or asphalt in full sun compared to grass. Further still, think how much cooler it is under shade from a tree and how much cooler the grass is under it to walk on.
- Turf, trees, and shrubs all help in preventing erosion control. The roots from the plants and especially turf hold the topsoil in place and slow erosion on hills.
- Turf and proper landscaping work like filters catching dust and sediment that would wash into our rivers and lakes.
- Trees block wind and protect our structures.
- Plants reduce noise by acting as sound-dampening barriers. Landscaping reduces noise levels by 20 to 30% compared to hard surfaces.
- When landscapes are properly designed and maintained, they protect buildings from water damage and minimize erosion to keep the property healthy.
The benefits of a properly designed and maintained landscape stretch further than simply environmental or mental wellbeing. It is a financially viable investment that we should each do our part to protect. To put the value of landscaping in perspective, here are a few stats that reminds us of the financial value of a healthy landscape:
- A well-planned and maintained landscape can add 5 to 15% to the resale value of a property.
- Properties with great landscapes sell on average six weeks faster than similar homes with lesser maintained properties.
- Outdoor living spaces, such as outdoor kitchens, living spaces, and fire features, on average, add 12% to the property value! This doesn’t include the joy, peace, and lifestyle benefits that come from using outdoor living spaces.
- Well-landscaped commercial rental properties average command 7% higher rates.
- These businesses with well-maintained and designed landscapes also benefit! Shoppers report spending 9 to 12% more as well as being willing to drive further to patronize these businesses. It’s also shown that shoppers spend more time in shopping areas with better landscapes.
- People who work in these well-landscaped areas and can view them from their desks are reported to have higher job, life, and health satisfaction.
- Properly placed trees can reduce air-conditioning costs by 5 to 15% and reduce the heating cost by 2 to 8%.
MENTAL WELLBEING AND LIFE SATISFACTION
People spend on average 90% of their time indoors, yet we are undeniably tied to nature.
- Research shows people interacting with nature and even viewing it through a window is shown to reduce stress and help with healing.
- According to Harvard Health Publication, children diagnosed with ADHD focus better after being outdoors.
- People’s productivity and cognitive function are improved when working in an area where they have access to plants and an attractive outdoor space.
PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY
A healthy landscape is not only a beautiful thing; it’s necessary to the world’s environment. Like all living things, landscapes need care and attention, and not just water or trimming. They need the proper amount of water, nutrients, pruning, and cutting heights to thrive.
- Turf: One of the most important tasks regularly performed is mowing.
- Proper cutting height depends on the type of turf. Raise the cutting height one click on mowers during the summer to remove no more than one-third of the height of the grass. This will protect it from scalping while encouraging it to grow and produce oxygen.
- Using sharp blades helps the turf heal easier, which requires less water and nutrients.
- Aeration is a great way to help roots to grow deeper and use less nutrients and water to achieve a healthier lawn.
- Tree and shrub: Proper pruning is one of the most important things to maintaining shrubs.
- Hand-pruning using snips to remove branches that cross reduces disease. It also allows for more air and water to pass through the foliage, eliminating the likelihood of pests making nests in the canopy.
- Shearing shrubs causes damage to most of the external foliage, which increases the likelihood of disease along with unattractive browning of damaged leaves.
- Bed areas need 3 inches of mulch or pine straw to reduce evaporation and hold water near the root system, helping the plants in the summer heat.
- Mulch and pine straw also reduce weeds in the bed areas.
- All plants need proper nutrients.
- As temperatures increase, minimize fertilizer with high nitrogen content to prevent stressing the turf.
- Proper irrigation: Water in the early morning instead of at night to prevent fungus from taking over.
- Trees need 15 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter each week. Many have roots deep enough to sustain this, but newer trees need our assistance.
- Shrubs need 1 gallon of water per foot height of the shrub each week. Apply as one long, deep watering to encourage deep root growth.
- Ensure the grass gets 1 inch of water per week in a single watering to allow water to penetrate deeply and encourage the roots to establish more deeply to protect it from the summer heat.
Let’s work together to be stewards of a healthy environment and provide a landscape for kids to play and optimize oxygen production and our mental wellbeing.