The landscaping at most well managed facilities is attractive. Beautiful colors, textures, and an array of plant heights delight the eyes and bid a warm welcome to visitors. The benefits these plants offer, however, is much more plentiful than their simple beauty. They can also improve security.
Here are seven ways that landscape design can improve your building’s safety:
- Direct safe traffic and pedestrian flow. Shrub lines along walkways, well-placed arbors, and other landscape features can help make it clear to clients exactly where they are supposed to enter your building. Properly designed landscapes perform this function while allowing clear lines of vision necessary for safe and efficient traffic and pedestrian movement. Landscaped areas used by people should be free of low limbs, thorn-bearing plants, overgrown shrub beds or tripping hazards such as pot holes, irrigation heads or plant stumps.
- Light up the night. Good outdoor lighting accents design elements and focal points in the landscape but it is also functional, lighting paths and walkways and entrances.
- Manage drainage and run-off flows. Lawns and landscaped areas naturally absorb and slow down run off, but when storms hit, your building can be deluged with rain that can be a hazard for clients. Your landscape contractor can work with you to create good drainage and run-off options that minimize hazards caused wet or muddy walks and drives.
- Decrease crime. A number of studies point to the fact that areas with more trees have less crime. Recently researchers from the University of Vermont did a study of Baltimore’s tree canopy and found that a 10 percent increase in tree cover yielded at least a 12 percent decrease in crime. Landscapes can also be designed to enhance visual security where camera surveillance is appropriate.
- Reduce fire hazard. Properly designed landscapes can provide fire breaks, alternative water sources, and drivable green spaces that allow access for emergency vehicles in the event of fire.
- Keep people away from certain areas. If you have areas that you want to keep people away from, for instance, first floor windows, or ground level items like electrical and telecom boxes, dense landscape can be used in place of fencing.
- Create waiting areas. Especially in the summer, people need places to get out of the sun and rest. If your building is near a bus or shuttle stop, it helps to give people a place to wait, otherwise they may gather inside your building or make a path across your lawn or landscape. Benches and tables and chairs in shady areas in and around your property are a good option.