Did you know that people’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces? Research shows that green spaces provide benefits to our health, including improved mood, increased fitness levels, stress reduction and more. Living landscapes planted with climate-appropriate grasses, trees, shrubs, flowers, and pollinator plants can be drought-friendly and good for the environment, too.
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) recommends property managers consider the following eight steps when preparing commercial landscaping this spring. With the right kind of living landscaping, specifically the use of turfgrass, your commercial property can provide a myriad of benefits for employees, visitors as well as the entire neighborhood.
1. Turfgrass dissipates the “heat island” effect
Studies have shown that lawns can be 31 degrees cooler than asphalt and 20 degrees cooler than soil. Without the grass and other plantings to reduce the heat island effect, communities will feel hotter. Commercial building cooling bills can rise when green space is minimized.
2. Turfgrass is the largest carbon sink in the country
Grasses remove about six tons of carbon dioxide per acre per year from the atmosphere. Without grass, the carbon sequestration processes doesn’t occur and the carbon footprint increases. Grass also plays a critical role in capturing dust, smoke particles and other pollutants. Without grass we will have more “code red” air quality days.
3. Preventing soil erosion is another important job of turfgrass
It holds soil in place through its natural, dense and fibrous root system. Without grass, more soil is washed into the water, reducing the amount of sunlight that can penetrate the water.
4. Grasses, trees, shrubs and other plant life provide food and habitat for birds and small mammals
Insects, spiders and worms live among the grass blades and below the surface in the turf. Without a living landscape, food sources for birds and small mammals will quickly vanish.
5. Being around plants helps people concentrate better in the home and workplace
Studies show that tasks performed while under the calming influence of nature are performed better and with greater accuracy, yielding a higher quality result. Spending time in gardens can improve memory performance and attention span by 20 percent.
6. Living near living landscapes can improve your mental health
Researchers found that people moving to greener areas experienced an immediate improvement in mental health that was sustained for at least three years after they moved. The study also showed that people relocating to a more built up area suffered a drop in mental health.
7. Living landscapes help you heal
Hospital patients exposed to window views of nature healed on average a full day faster than those with a view of a brick wall.
8. We all benefit from green space
A systematic research review concluded, “the balance of evidence indicates conclusively that knowing and experiencing nature makes us generally happier, healthier people.”
Kris Kiser is the president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. Get more commercial landscaping tips and information at www.opei.org/stewardship.
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