by on 23/10/10 at 6:01 am
Does indoor landscaping matter? Reports say that yes, it does, to your home, to your office atmosphere and to the retail environment. Studies have shown that indoor plantings are mood enhancers, as well as health and productivity boosters. Termed “urban forests” by some professionals, these artificial environments are now being used strategically by hospitals, corporations, restaurants and shopping centers. That’s because, in addition to the physical benefits to humans, interior landscaping causes us to buy more.
That’s right: Those tall trees and spiky-looking tropical plants that you see in malls actually make you buy more stuff. Presumably, they don’t cause you to commit armed robbery if you don’t have enough money to pay for your Guccis, but studies show that retail profits do increase when the space is enhanced by greenery.
There are several reasons for our increased need to purchase durable goods in shrubbery-enhanced marketplaces. One is our collective history. Man has gathered to mingle and trade since ancient times. Somewhere between informal bartering and the concept of the department store evolved the most prevalent form of buying and selling, the street market. Well-landscaped indoor malls, according to Dr. Virginia L. Wolf, PhD, re-create this familiar atmosphere. Humans crave interaction, and since the dawn of the agora, malls are where we get it.
What Is a Typical Interior Landscape?
Not every ancient street market was located in an oasis of greenery, but that is what shoppers prefer, with consumers ranking a tree-decorated area 30% higher than a desolate, non-treed landscape. That makes people 30% more likely to stay awhile, and gives them time to pull out their wallets. It also improves the attitude of workers and visitors in office spaces.
What is it about an indoor landscape that has such a strong psychological pull? That depends on the setting. Plant designers know how to achieve a desired tone through spatial arrangement and the visual effects of different plant combinations. In a mall, for instance, plants are used to unify the many shops into one “street” of dreams. Shrubbery borders and dividers mimic the lines of real streets and walls. Flowering plants add spontaneous color, like you’d find in the bazaars of yore. Focal points lure shoppers to congregate, perhaps to discuss product quality and sale prices before a blooming bird-of-paradise.
In offices or hospitals, plants’ effects on air quality and human disposition are the priorities. A relaxed, pleasant and healing atmosphere can be achieved with tranquil natural tableaux, such as those featuring large trees, smaller shrubberies, stones and water features.
Who Needs Indoor Green Space?
Reading the previous sentence made you feel good, didn’t it? That is the motivation behind indoor landscaping in professional or institutional settings. Just being in a green space assists relaxation and scares away stress. The rise in therapeutic gardens in senior centers, hospitals and other places of high-stress activity shows that we all need places to get away from it all, even if it’s indoors.
A professional landscaper will be able to assess your needs and design an interior that provides what you want. Landscapers know how to use color, texture, space and light to achieve a specific effect. Corporations can extend their brand identities through this living calling card. Landscapers help you wow clients with unusual species and placate staff with comfortable surroundings.
If change is what you crave, seasonal displays or a rotating selection of annual flora may be available. Restaurants and retail establishments benefit by an interior design and plant service creating a new look on a regular basis. Customers have choices, and they tend to return to places that are visually interesting and that make them feel good.
The Up Side of Indoor Landscaping
Mood lifts and clean air aside, the main benefit of indoor landscaping is that it is practical—with help. Landscape designers or plant maintenance services will take full responsibility for keeping plants alive and looking great, and their growing space clean and safe for foot traffic. Knowledgeable plant care is important, especially for growing tropical or exotic species. Having trained experts in charge means you don’t have to worry about your landscape investment going south.
When the plants look good, your business looks good. Studies show that a cared-for appearance, say, in front of a store, creates an expectation in customers that the company will be well run or that products will be of high quality. This may be even more important to a professional office that relies on an image of competence and dependability.
The Down Side of Planting Indoors
Of course, you have to do it right. An image of death doesn’t sell much besides tombstones. Imagine a mall with drooping dracaenas, fainting ferns, and passed-out peace lilies. Getting the right landscape designer and ongoing support is crucial to the vibrant atmosphere you seek. Watch who you hire, and beware of doing it yourself unless you are an expert or wish to become one.
Another reason for using a maintenance service is clean-up. Plants are messy. They may drop leaves, fruit, seeds and other debris. Your watering system may leak or overflow, causing structural damage and potential safety hazards. You can keep those wild plants under control and irrigation pumping with regular plant service.
There is one more risk to creating a nice, peaceful, shady, green environment, but you can solve it by putting up a few hammocks: No one will want to go home.
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