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Last edited 04 May 2021
Planting in the built environment
- Enhance aesthetics.
- Improve wellbeing.
- Improve air quality.
- Filter water.
- Support ecosystems.
- Improve biodiversity.
- Grow crops.
- Create break out or play areas.
- Create sports surfaces.
Planting can be external or internal.
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.
- How the garden will be used.
- Budget and time constraints.
- Means of access.
- How the garden will connect and/or interact with buildings or other structures.
- Location, climate and exposure.
- Soil type.
- Horticultural requirements.
- The typical lifespan of the plants.
- The size and growth habits of the plants.
- Maintenance requirements.
- Elements of hard landscape and other features that will be included.
- The potential for pests to damage the garden.
- Privacy and security.
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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