Getting Outside – The Importance of Landscapes

Guest Author, Kaidan Nguyen
Coral Studio

Now more than ever our homes have become our refuge. Staying at home, social distancing and more limitations on how we interact with the rest of the world bring our focus more keenly on our home environment. Getting outside now has taken on a very different perspective than it did a few months ago. In this article, we are sharing some of the insights that were discussed at a recent Amity + Kett Design Discovery.

Our featured guests Kaidan Nguyen and Caleb Etheredge of Coral Studio shared their expertise and perspective with our wonderful design-loving community, as we gathered around the table together at the Amity Kett studio. Until we are able to resume our award-winning design series, we’d like to share some insights from that talk.

Kaidan and Caleb talked about the many motivations behind why people invest time, energy and resources toward landscaping. And the answer, now more than ever, well-designed, thoughtfully creative landscapes are vitally important.  The benefits are experienced across a wide array of areas: environmental, economical, health, and social.

Environmental Benefits

  • If done correctly, outdoor spaces can reduce pollutants, filter dust, reduce erosion, and increase biodiversity.  For example, planting trees can keep air temperatures on a typical June day an average of 7°F cooler in the morning and 12°F cooler in the afternoon.  Combining the right type of plants and trees can attract an array of wildlife including birds and pollinators.
  • One of the main strategies that should be considered in all landscapes is Low Impact Design.  What is Low impact Design? It’s a system or practice that mimics natural processes in order to protect water quality.  One example of a low impact design method are rain gardens. The purpose of rain gardens is to provide an aesthetic and effective way to manage water runoff.  A sunken landscape area collects and treats storm water runoff from rooftops, lawns, driveways, streets, and sidewalks allowing the captured water to settle and filter out sediment and pollutants before it enters the groundwater and other natural water systems.

Economical Benefits

  • The most obvious economical benefits of good landscapes can drastically increase the value of properties and lower energy costs.  A study shows that good landscapes can add up to 14 percent to the resale value of a property and speed its sale by up to 6 weeks Also, well designed landscape plantings that include shade trees can reduce energy costs by up to 25%.

Health Benefits

  • Well designed outdoor spaces improve overall health by reducing mental fatigue, reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and increasing concentration, productivity and can promote more physical activity.
  • Studies have shown that even having a views to lush plantings and tress from a home window are connected to happiness and lower stress levels. 

Social Benefits

  • The social benefits of human interaction with plants, trees, and grass are also well studied and documented.  For example in a study conducted at a Chicago public housing development, residents of buildings with more trees and grass reported that they knew their neighbors better, socialized with them more often, had stronger feelings of community and felt safer and better adjusted than did residents of more barren, but otherwise identical buildings.

But beyond all the benefits, 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. Helping make lives better is why design professionals like Caleb and Kaidan do what they do.

If you are looking at your home with a new perspective and are interested in learning about ways to improve your landscaping, please feel free to reach out to the professionals at Amity Kett Architecture and Interior Design. We are here to help!

Call us 210.526.1459 today.

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