Everyone understands how important landscaping can be for making that ever important initial impression and contributing to the beautification of the surrounding community. But the environmental impact of responsible landscaping is making a measurable difference in sustainability efforts throughout the world.
In fact, maintaining healthy green spaces improves air quality, water purity, and can even help to regulate the temperature, control noise pollution and improve your physical and emotional state as well.
Healthy green space cleans our air
Our air quality is adversely affected by the overproduction of gaseous air pollutants, including:
- Carbon dioxide, which is created naturally by respiration and organic decomposition as well as by burning fossil fuels and various other industrial activities.
- Carbon monoxide, which is produced by fuel burning engines, gas stoves, grills, furnaces, etc.
- Nitrous oxide, which you may recognize as the “laughing gas” sometimes used in medical and dental procedures, is also a natural pollutant generated from wastewater that contains nitrogen-based organic materials such as those found in human and animal waste.
- Sulfur Dioxide, which is a major contributor of fine particle pollution in the eastern U.S., and is formed from burning sulfur containing fuels like diesel, coal, and oil.
- VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which can be found in a variety of manmade products, including certain paints and manufactured materials.
Fortunately, thanks to their natural process of photosynthesis, grass, trees, shrubberies, and even houseplants are responsible for absorbing greenhouse gases from the air and converting them into the precious oxygen we breathe. Even more, plants remove dust from the air, too.
This is a huge reason why green spaces are so important to our way of life–especially as deforestation and continued urban development are compromising our air quality at an alarming rate.
Softscapes can control erosion and filter pollutants from water
Another advantage to a heathy landscape is that it controls soil erosion and reduces the threat from disasters like mudslides.
At the same time, it acts as a natural water filtration system. While storm runoff tends to capture pollutants as it flows over paved surfaces and deposits them directly into storm drains and ultimately our groundwater, when flowing water is filtered through the softscape, many pollutants are prevented from reaching our precious water sources.
Spaces with vegetation are cooler than non-vegetative areas
In addition to cleaning our air and water, greenery doesn’t store the sun’s heat the same way other materials do, which means vegetated groundcovers like turfgrass, gardens and parks are substantially cooler than areas of asphalt, stone and bare dirt. Based on the findings of numerous studies conducted on this subject, such as “A Study of the Surface Temperatures of Six Groundcovers on the Frostburg State University Campus,” this is due to:
- Evapotranspiration – which is the process where vegetated groundcover transfers the sun’s energy into water evaporation, which is then transferred into the atmosphere, and effectively prevents that energy from being converted into heat.
- Photosynthesis – which, on top of turning greenhouse gases into oxygen, also uses the sun’s energy to create sugar and nutrients–keeping the flora healthy, while again, preventing that energy from being converted into heat.
Healthy green spaces further cool urban areas by providing shade to the pavement and the trees also block the sun from heating up the interior of structures, aiding climate control and lowering energy costs.
Non-vegetative areas, particularly spaces covered by non-reflective, darker colored materials like those commonly used on rooftops and paved areas absorb the sun’s energy and convert it into heat–conditions that create what are known as Urban Heat Islands, which are largely responsible for higher energy consumption and global warming, not to mention increased health risks like heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Landscaping reduces noise and light pollution
Along with improving our air quality, green spaces with shrubs and trees can also provide effective barriers to sound and light. It has even been proven that the right flora can a better job of controlling noise pollution than other methods, including those familiar concrete noise barriers placed between busy city roadways and populated regions.
Plants at optimum health have minimal need for chemical treatments
One of the greatest myths surrounding landscaping services is regarding the heavy application of dangerous chemicals. Although it may have been commonplace many decades ago, it is now far from the norm. This is because today’s qualified commercial landscaping professionals understand that a properly hydrated and well maintained softscape requires minimal need for chemical treatments, since a healthy landscape isn’t the right environment for pests, weeds and disease to thrive.
Green spaces are beneficial to our wellbeing
Now, if the health of our surrounding environment isn’t reason enough to maintain healthy green spaces everywhere, here is one final incentive. Having an outdoor reprieve where you can decompress is one of the most healthful gifts you can provide for yourself and others. Whether it’s a place where you can get some exercise or it’s a relaxing, natural meditation space, the softscape can be essential for both physical and mental wellbeing.
So, if you’re ready for an ethical landscape management partner devoted to keeping your greenery flourishing while responsibly employing best practices in landscaping, there is no better time than the present to get in touch with your local U.S. Lawns. Your Turf. Our Lawn.