This winter in Liverpool NSW was a brutal one. I was reminded that a physical connection to the natural world helps preserve your mood, blood pressure, and mental health.

As a landscape designer, I make a custom to push through local industrial parks. Typically, I see acres of manicured lawns dotted with a few species of trees and shrubs, many of which have been sheared into geometric shapes at the cost of their natural habitat. Not precisely the natural ambiance I had been craving all winter. And yet these business websites encompass large tracts of land that were once fields and woodlands. Using sustainable practices, commercial landscapes can be managed to link the property to the surrounding environment, while addressing energy and water demands more sustainably.

Current landscape practices pose substantial barriers to more sustainable practices, beginning with the contract between business owners, facility managers, and their landscape providers. A normal maintenance contract gives priority to seasonal yard maintenance services such as mowing, irrigation, multiple fertilizer applications, and seasonally timed weed, insect and disease controls, with a much smaller focus on appealing pruning of shrubs and hedges.

In fact, lawns do not support sustainability objectives. They require high inputs of water, energy (in the kind of mowing), and compounds, with relatively low yields in carbon sequestration or alternative environmental benefits. By comparison, shrubs and other broad-leaved plants are more sustainable because, if chosen properly, they are adapted to local environments and require minimal inputs in energy, water or chemical treatments. Native plantings can be more sustainable, since locally adapted plants support a large selection of different organisms, providing benefits to the ecosystem.

Changes to this frequent situation have been painfully slow to manifest themselves. And yet there are other great reasons to embrace more naturalistic planting practices, including this surprising finding: More natural settings in the office increase employee productivity.

Landscaping For Driving School Office

A study released by the environmental consulting company summarizes research showing that workers are more effective in natural settings at their job sites. Factors as straightforward as using a view through a window into a natural area, access to an outdoor meeting space, or the inclusion of indoor plants or water features correspond to reduce blood pressure, increased endurance, and more attention span. These increases in productivity may translate into cost savings in the shape of reduced absenteeism, better focus, improved mood, and decreased fatigue.

Even little changes in productivity can mean significant saving to companies. The Department of Labor cites the rate of absenteeism at 3 percent in enclosed office settings nationally; at a corporate office with 1,000 employees and an average salary of $40,000, that 3 percent translates into a cost to the employer of $1,200,000 annually. Exposure to natural layout and its accompanying positive effects has been shown to decrease absenteeism by 10%. This would lead to a savings of $120,000 per year to the company in the example above. Increases in productivity caused by the very same alterations, such as increased attention, enhanced mood, or decreased fatigue would lead to additional cost savings.

The explanation for these biological effects, which scientists call”biophilia,” stems back to our ancient heritage as hunter-gatherers on the reduced grasslands of our ancestral home. It was there, over many millennia, that modern man developed an affinity for and a set of biological responses to the gigantic grassland, expansive vista, and scattered masses of trees which were man’s house. Is it any wonder that we feel a sense of well-being when immersed in nature?

While every worker can benefit from views of nature, the changing work habits of younger workers are another factor to take into account. More collaborative and less hierarchical in their work styles, Millennial workers have begun to exert a strong influence on commercial building design. Instead of executive offices controlling all the very best window perspectives, with entry level employees in cubicles clustered in the center of the office floor, architects are currently designing a driving school in liverpool with more open spaces near windows, greater emphasis on collaborative spaces, and complex visual touches. A number of these new office spaces are in towns, leaving conventional suburban office parks to an aging population of employees.

A fresh approach to landscaping suburban office developments that incorporates natural areas and provides more open, collaborative spaces can satisfy the demands of the next generation of driving instructors office workers. As an example, an active lifestyle is vital to younger workers. They wish to walk, jog, bike or hike during their breaks. Suburban areas are well suited to amenities like bicycle paths or running and hiking trails near natural areas.

Now re-imagine the normal suburban industrial park redesigned to supply the sort of environments that take advantage of those findings. What would it look like?

My firm’s job at Liverpool Business Center in Western Sydney  was created with all the workers in mind. We repurposed topsoil and massive boulders in the existing planting areas to encircle two new common seating areas meant for use in outside meetings, relaxing breaks or as a destination for employees who walk or run through the sixty-plus acre complex at lunch. Seated on the terrace, workers are surrounded by indigenous plant groupings, which attract a variety of birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Plantings change in height to provide interesting, realistic views and also to protect the view of cars in the parking lot, while reducing sound.

Since movement is so important in our reaction to nature, the addition of masses of taller grasses that sway in the breeze is a significant feature of the landscape. The project was intended for extended seasonal interest, which in New England, means early spring blossoms through vibrant autumn colored shrubs to winter evergreens and berries.

An office building optimized for productivity and sustainability would give every worker the opportunity to collaborate in a natural setting, take breaks out or enjoy a view of the natural world in their desks or work areas.

To create a more sustainable approach to landscaping your commercial property, keep these principles in mind:

1. Consult your landscape designer to consider sustainable targets which employ practices like minimizing yard and raising permanent plantings of shrubs, tall grasses, and perennials.

2. Move plantings away from building foundations for improved visibility from inside and enable them to develop in a naturalistic shape which incorporates nicely with the surrounding atmosphere.

3. Design outdoor spaces that promote a simple flow with inside collaboration locations. As an example, consider an outdoor patio setting close to a corporate café, with tables that double as impromptu meeting locations.

4. Analyze your landscaping contract to decrease water requirements, lower energy requirements, and establish integrated pest management.

5. Address the needs of younger employees for outdoor pursuits. If your office park is close conservation land, develop footpaths which lead to those places for simpler recreation during breaks. Consider protected bike lanes along the streets and running paths close to natural water features.

6. Integrate your landscape in your sustainability plan by calculating the carbon footprint of your website. You may realize that a few modifications to your landscape design may cause significant effects on sustainability.