Landscaping is often associated with the beautification of buildings and offering them an aesthetic feel. Few people consider landscape creation as an environment-friendly measure. Some people feel landscaping gives a sophisticated look to homes or office buildings. From the term landscape, we visualize green meadows, pavements, textures, and shrubs. But landscaping has another very crucial aspect. Landscaping must enhance the safety of building, inhabitants, guests, vehicles and other valuable property.
The process of figuring out whether the landscape design complies with safety mandates is called a ‘landscape audit.' It is an essential aspect of safety engineering for buildings and disaster management. The parameters helping to evaluate the safety standards are the following.
1. Facility for safe pedestrian movement and traffic walkway
2. Presence of outdoor lighting accessories
3. Secure drainage systems and septic tanks
4. Trees and shrubs in abundance
5. Artificial landscaping
6. Presence of emergency fire exits
7. Dense landscaping
9. Climatic adaptability
If your landscape meets the criterion, it is risk-free. If not, a few modifications will help to improve the safety aspect of your beautiful landscape. There are minor steps which the building owner can do for improving the safety of the landscape. Else one may take expert consultancy from a landscape designer for introducing renovations into the landscape.
Facility for Safe pedestrian movement and traffic walkway
Whether it is an apartment or a commercial office building, landscaping must ensure safety during motion. The presence of uniformly grown shrubs along the walkway provide clear lines of demarcation to ensure safety during pedestrian movement. Vehicular motion can be better controlled too. If the area is large enough, there must be points for resting and relaxation.
Shopping complexes must have well-designed parking lots. The boundary area must be free of thorny plants. The circulation routes must be so designed that people have to traverse shortest possible distances for reaching a point. Intersection points must be visible to the observer.
Presence of outdoor lighting accessories
Besides giving a luminous touch, lighting accessories facilitate night vision. So safety during night walks and driving can be assured due to the presence of lighting installations. Lighting accessories must be distributed uniformly over the landscaped area. Glaring lights must be avoided under all circumstances. It is better to select photovoltaic appliances, which get charged by solar energy and radiate in a night. These are easy to install and reduce your electricity consumption.
The orientation of lighting accessories must be such that light falls on surfaces of walkways and driving routes. There should be no blinding or destructive interference of light. Lighting arrangement must enhance the direct and side vision of the observer. Controlled lighting helps in energy efficiency.
Safe drainage systems and septic tanks
The sanitary aspect is the most relevant and challenging criterion in a landscape audit. Landscaping most often facilitates water runoff, creating a plain and flat surface for movement. But during rains, it often gets waterlogged. The path becomes muddy. Imagine driving on a slippery path. There are increased risks of accidents when you walk or drive on the path. Apart from that, accumulated water becomes a source of disease-causing pathogens. Designing good sanitation systems is an essential part of a well-designed landscape. Hence a landscape designer can refer to a sanitary engineer for professional tips or renovations. Facility for regular checking and maintenance of septic tanks must be there.
Trees and shrubs in plenty
The presence of huge canopies of trees creates a beautiful canvas. It exerts a positive influence on pedestrians. Natural trees help in air circulation or natural air conditioning. They also prevent excessive temperature increase in summers. Hence, tree plantations assure the good health of residents and passers-by. It is crucial to plant deep-rooted trees since they enhance water retention capacity. In this way, chances of earthquakes and floods are mitigated. Trees also provide visual security in CCTV camera equipped homes. Natural plantations, however, must be taken care of periodically. For large homes or complexes, a professional gardener is hired to take care of plants and foliage.
Artificial trees or plants enhance the look of the landscaped area, creating a colorful impact. These can be planted with little effort. These do not need pruning or gardening. No regular maintenance is needed. Additionally, these make your morning walk experience a little better. Imagine walking alone in the dawn viewing the silky foliage. Pest can never harm such artificial plantations or colorful flowers.
Since artificial landscape stays same forever, they act as distinct points of vision upon a vast landscape. In this way, they act as safety enhancers. Artificial trees with UV resistant flowers create a lovely outdoor look. Their ability to protect building walls and people from disastrous Ultraviolet radiation of the sun makes them even more important. Hedge style Ficus trees are faux plants which increase the inflow of light to enhance privacy.
Presence of emergency fire exits
A landscape designer must ensure that no inflammable substance is used in landscape making. But still, no one can be sure that there won't be a fire day ever. In the event of a fire, there must be safe outlets for people as well as traffic. There must be a priority on saving people first. There must be space for firefighting squad to carry on the rescue operations.
To maintain a safe distance between people and items like electrical poles or telecom boxes, dense landscaping must be done. It also helps ensure the security of outdoor property like pumps or pipelines. Artificial grasses can be used for dense carpeting. Green artificial shrubs can be used for enhancing landscape density.
It must be done with good quality building material. Hardscaping includes well-paved areas and boundary walls. These enhance security to interiors from undesirable intrusion. Facility for rainwater diversion to sumps will be an added advantage. Pavements must be made of porous stones, so that surface water flows underground.
The landscape must-have features that safeguard it against effects of climatic adversities like storms, excessive rainfall, excessive heat or snowfall. Ice management design is required for snow-laden areas.