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Value of Landscaping
Plants protect water quality. Proper landscaping reduces nitrate leaching from the soil into the water supply. Plants also reduce surface water runoff, keeping phosphorus and other pollutants out of our waterways and preventing septic system overload.
Proper landscaping reduces soil erosion. A dense cover of plants and mulch holds soil in place, keeping sediment out of lakes, streams, stormdrains, and roads, and reducing flooding, mudslides, and duststorms.
Plants improve air quality. One tree can remove 26 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually, equaling 11,000 miles of car emissions. Landscape plants, including shrubs and turf, remove smoke, dust, and other pollutants from the air. One study showed that one acre of trees has the ability to remove 13 tons of particles and gases annually.
Landscaping lowers summer air temperatures. According to the EPA, urban forests reduce urban air temperatures significantly by shading heat sinks such as buildings and concrete, and returning humidity to the air through evaporative cooling. Trees shading homes can reduce attic temperatures as much as 40 degrees.
Landscaping conserves natural resources. Properly placed deciduous trees reduce house temperatures in the summer, allowing air conditioning units to run 2 to 4 percent more efficiently, but allow the sun to warm the house in the winter. Homes sheltered by evergreen windbreaks can reduce winter heat loss and are generally warmer than homes without such protection. By using trees to modify temperatures and protect against wind, the amount of fossil fuels used for cooling and heating is reduced.
Landscaping screens busy streets. Wellplaced plantings offer privacy and tranquility by screening out busy street noises and reducing glare from headlights. Promoting Economic Development
Landscaping increases property market value. A 1991 study estimates that an attractive landscape increases the value of a home by an average of 7.5 percent, and reduces the time on the market by five to six weeks. The Wall Street Journal reported that landscape investments are recovered fully, and sometimes doubled, by the increased home value.
Good landscaping increases community appeal. Parks and street trees have been found to be second only to education in residents' perceived value of municipal services offered. Psychologist Rachel Kaplan found trees, well-landscaped grounds, and places for taking walks to be among the most important factors considered when individuals chose a place to live.
Landscaping reduces crime. In a California study, landscaped areas were relatively graffiti-free, while open, non-landscaped areas were graffiti targets. Well-planned and maintained landscapes are seen as safer than unmaintained plantings.
Plants increase tourism revenues. Interior landscaping at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, is credited for an unusually high (85 percent) occupancy rate. Guests willingly pay an extra $30 per night for rooms overlooking the jungle-like display, netting $7 million a year in additional room revenues. The city of Virginia Beach attributes, in part, their $52 million in convention revenue for 1994 to the landscaping efforts of recent years.
Views of plants increase job satisfaction. Employees with an outside view of plants experience less job pressure and greater job satisfaction than workers viewing manmade objects or having no outside view. They also report fewer headaches and other ailments than workers without the view.
Nature increases worker productivity. Psychologists have found that plants and green spaces provide a sense of rest that allows workers with access to plants and nature to be more productive.
Landscaping renews business districts. Greening of business districts increases community pride and positive perception of an area, drawing customers to the businesses.
Courtesy of Virginia Cooperative Extension, www.projectevergreen.com
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