Why Human-Centered Landscaping Improves the Public Realm

Making outdoor spaces look beautiful is important to us. But what about how those spaces make people feel?

Human-centered design puts people in the center of the design process, cultivating empathy for how they might use a space and creating solutions that meet and exceed their most important needs, desires, and wants when utilizing that space. Just as an architect might consider human-centered design when developing a new building, or a web designer when wireframing a website, our team leverages inspiration from this process to imagine innovative, solution-oriented design builds for residential and commercial clients.

The Importance of Co-Design and Collaboration

Results are always better when we work with a communicative and collaborative client. Visiting a space and proposing landscaping solutions is a positive, however generating a wide array of ideas, narrowing those options down together, and assuring each solution meets the needs and demands of the user is of the upmost importance. Questions asked during our intake process all relate back to how we want the user to feel. Energized? Excited? Focused? Relaxed? There is a substantial difference between designing a park adjacent to a commercial building that welcomes outsiders in, verse making it feel private and inclusive for the building community. Ideating a space that promotes focus and relaxation, verse one that must accommodate food trucks and programming all-year-round. Concepting an area for adults to enjoy a cocktail after work, that also facilitates safe play for the kids by day. While co-design and collaboration may take added effort, this approach inevitably creates better places to live, better places to do business, and happier humans.

Improving the Public Realm

Improving the public realm means creating and improving urban, public spaces that promote the health, well-being, and safety of residents. Landscaping is many times the final element and finishing touch of a commercial or residential build, development, or re-development that aims to improve the public realm – but its importance cannot be understated. The simple direction in which a park bench is facing and whether it is surrounded by well-maintained greenery and flowers could make the difference as to whether that family of four chooses to enjoy that space or move on. If they recommend the location to their friends as a place to return to or dismiss it as a bad experience. If they feel safe and secure, verse on edge and unrelaxed. While this topic comes up many times from city officials in the planning process for larger commercial developments, we do believe this thinking can be translated into each individual project we touch.

Landscaping Brings People Together

Landscaping that accommodates events, programming, and art that brings people together is our favorite kind – whether that be in a residential or commercial setting. Each element and detail of the design must work together with the vision of the bigger picture. Many times, landscaping, and lighting work together alongside artwork to create a welcoming atmosphere for individuals to enjoy. Organizers may choose to dedicate a large area of space to programming, surrounded by landscaping, or truly integrate landscaping together with the design. Either way can be successful, it is all how this is thoughtfully planned, executed, and maintained that truly makes a difference.

All in all, landscape design that simply makes spaces look beautiful is yesterday’s news. Elevating the experience to improve how people feel is the real goal of any professional project, and one that we personally hold ourselves accountable to.

Contact us today for more information on our design build capabilities.