Last edited 04 May 2021

Planting in the built environment

Millennium Dome reed beds and Greenwich Pavilion.jpg


[edit] Introduction

Planting is the growing or placing of plants in a particular area for a range of purposes, including to:

Planting can be external or internal.

[edit] External planting

External planting is most commonly undertaken as part of landscape design or gardening. Basing a scheme around plants is one of the simplest and most effective ways of transforming an external space.

Design involves drawing up plans for laying out and planting different landscapes, and this will largely be determined by the purpose for which the garden is intended. Some gardens are purely for aesthetic or ornamental purposes, while others can be more functional – growing food, crops, and so on. When setting out external planting it is important to remember that plants will change throughout the seasons.

Other considerations for external planting include:

For more information, see Garden.

More formal gardens can be quite tidy and geometric, characterised by straight lines and clipped hedges. More informal gardens tend to be characterised by organic curves and more 'relaxed' planting.

Potted flowers and plants offer a flexible approach which can provide colour and vibrancy to an outdoor space as well as being moveable.

[edit] Internal/artificial planting

Natural plants can also be used in interior applications, although consideration must be given to their location so as to ensure adequate sunlight and space. Potted plants are common indoors, but larger planting schemes are possible, including in atrium, conservatories, greenhouses, and so on. Particular consideration must be given to the type of plants used and whether they will survive indoors, as well as their maintenance, watering, replacement and so on.

Artificial plants (also known as ‘replica plants’ or ‘silks’) can offer an alternative for internal (and occasionally external) applications as they enable spaces to look the same regardless of the season and they tend to require less maintenance (aside from occasional dusting).

Artificial plants are most commonly made of plastic mouldings, with more inexpensive varieties offering little variation in sizes and colours due to being mass-produced. However, more expensive products can be made from superior materials such as natural wood and printed silk leaves, with greater variation. Very often, cheaper varieties will not be UV-treated which means their colour will fade when exposed to sunlight, making them less suited for external uses. (Although all artificial plants will fade to some degree due to silk being a natural fibre.)

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