Beautification Draws Customers, Reduces Shopper Stress, and Enhances Store Appeal. Trees and other ornamental plants beautify otherwise bland areas. They help create a positive aesthetic environment that attracts and welcomes customers of local businesses. Stores with landscaped areas have proven to make shoppers feel more at ease, and also contribute to appeal of a store. This translates into expanded sales resulting from longer shopping occasions and to stores being able to charge slightly higher prices because of an increase in the perceived quality of the store.
In today’s economic climate, businesses are seeking out new methods to effectively maintain their consumer base. What few businesses realize is that the simple addition of landscaping to a store front can make all the difference to a customer. The positive environment created by aesthetically-pleasing landscaping not only welcomes customers inside, but also enhances their perception of the level of quality of products and services offered by that store. Consumers are willing to pay higher prices, travel further to, and shop longer in a store that they perceive to be a quality establishment. Adding flowers or shrubs to the outside of a business can boost sales and widen the consumer base to include more customers. In addition, ornamental plants are an effective way to revitalize a stale business, bring in more clients, and improve the overall environment of the store. Furthermore, the presence of ornamental plants makes shoppers feel less stressed and more at ease in a store, which is a huge factor in increasing the total amount of time spent shopping. Landscaping is an effective way to invite more customers to a store and to keep them coming back to experience the positive environment they encounter there. (Bisco Werner 1996, Brethour 2007, Frank 2003, McPherson 2004, PNLA 2009, Wolf 1998)
Boost Occupancy Rates. Landscape amenities and ornamental plants have a high correlation with occupancy rates of apartments, municipal, and business buildings. People are much more likely to want to live and work in an area that is landscaped than one that is sparse.
Landscape amenities represent an effective way to boost the occupancy rate of apartments and other commercial buildings. People enjoy aesthetically-pleasing areas and are much more likely to choose to live and work in buildings with attractive landscapes, so there is a high correlation between nice landscaping and high occupancy rates of buildings. It therefore becomes more economically feasible to invest money in landscaping because the return in the number of tenants and amount of rent money far exceeds the cost of installing ornamental plants. Owners of buildings should seriously consider landscaping as a means to attract new tenants. (The Danter Company 1993, Frank 2003, Wolf 1998)
Increased Contracted Services. Landscaping contributes to the economy of a local community through the employment of contracted services such as landscape design, construction, and maintenance. In turn, these services indirectly impact the economy through secondary consumption of products such as lumber and other building and landscaping supplies.
Parks and botanical gardens contribute to the economy of a local community in many ways, namely through the employment of contracted services. Whether it’s hiring a construction crew or a landscaping service, urban green spaces have a positive impact on local businesses. By employing these services, parks contribute to the growth and fiscal strength of community enterprises. Furthermore, these businesses impact the economy through the secondary consumption of lumber, supplies, and maintenance equipment. The benefits of contracted services trickle down through the economy, benefiting the community and local businesses. (Appleseed, Inc. 2009, Dubey 2007, Hodges 2000, Nadel 2005,)
Cost-effective Method for Changing Perception. Landscaping is one of the most cost-effective methods for changing a community’s perception of land areas. Simply by landscaping a formerly crime-ridden park, a community can be transformed into a safe and friendly neighborhood environment.
Beautifying an area with landscaping is the most cost-effective method for changing community perceptions of an urban green space. The cost of landscaping pales in comparison to the cost of police services for turning around a crime-ridden park. Simply by adding ornamental plants, it is possible to completely revamp a community’s perception of a down-trodden area. Ornamentation also has the positive effect of reducing crime rates, because when people perceive that a park is a beautiful and neighborhood friendly place, they treat it that way. The low cost of improving a park’s landscaping can revitalize a neighborhood and positively impact the community’s perception of itself. (Frank 2003, Kuo 2003, Relf 1992)
Savings from Direct Use. People within a community save money when using the free recreation services that a park and other landscaped areas offer. In turn, the money that local and tourist users of these free services save can be spent on other businesses in the area, further contributing to the local economy.
Patrons of community-based parks save money by utilizing the free recreation services that parks offer. In turn, the money that patrons save through the direct use of urban green spaces is money that can be spent elsewhere in the community. This benefits businesses, as consumers have more disposable income to put back into the local market economy. In this way, the entire community benefits from using the free recreation services available in a park. (Appleseed, Inc. 2009, Harnik 2009, Schwartz 2009, The Trust for Public Land 2008, Wolf 2004b)
Ecotourism Revenue. The presence of beautiful parks and landscaping provides an opportunity for communities to reap the benefits from ecotourism. Ecotourism programs seek to provide education for travelers; provide funds for conservation; directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities; and foster respect for different cultures. Ecotourism also brings in new revenue streams and benefits the local economy.
Communities with beautiful, natural green spaces can benefit from ecotourism. In this new “green” environmentally conscious era, people are becoming more interested in exploring the beauty of nature while maintaining its integrity. Ecotourism areas are relatively inexpensive to maintain, as no new additions to the landscape are really necessary and people come for the simple enjoyment of an unspoiled natural landmark. Ecotourism brings in new revenue for a community through the tourists consumption of food, lodging, and other costs associated with tourism. These new revenue streams benefit the local economy and provide a boost to any tourist-friendly business. Ecotourism is a smart way for communities to bring in revenue with relatively little cost to themselves. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005)
Recreational Tourism. Parks and botanical gardens often bring visitors to cities, who in turn spend a great deal of money in the community and at the park. Separate and distinct from ecotourism, recreational tourism revenue represents another way that parks can benefit the local economy of a city. In addition to bringing in revenue from outside the local community (visitors), parks and other recreational attractions also bring in money from inside the local community (residents).
Parks and botanical gardens can be a valuable tourist attraction in large cities, and consequently are a source for tourism revenue. Tourist expenditures on food, transportation, lodging, etc. represent additional sources of revenue for local businesses that provide these services. Moreover, some of this is new revenue from outside the region which adds to the overall financial prosperity of a city’s economy. Botanical parks also bring the city revenue through the community’s attendance to special events and recreational attractions. This money gets filtered back into the economy and adds to the financial prosperity of the community. (Appleseed, Inc. 2009, Brethour 2007, Dubey 2007, Harnik 2009, Hodges 2000, Nadel 2005, Phipps Botanical Gardens and Conservatory 2010, Shwartz 2009, The Trust for Public Land 2008, Wolf 2004b)
Green Industry Jobs. The upkeep and preservation of urban green habitats requires the creation of new jobs, which will boost the local economy and add to the financial prosperity of the community.
Creating and maintaining an urban green space requires a certain degree of manpower. Therefore, green industry jobs must be created in order to meet this demand. The creation of new jobs not only helps keep members of the community employed, it also boosts the local economy. Employed citizens pay income taxes, which ensure the financial solvency of any city. Moreover, employed consumers have more disposable income to put back into local businesses and keep the local market economy healthy. (Appleseed, Inc. 2009, Dubey 2007, Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Assn. 2009)
Green Roofs. Green roofs on public buildings greatly add to the aesthetic beauty of an area and also moderate the temperature on the rooftops. This can significantly reduces heat loads, thereby lowering energy costs and saving building occupants money.
The addition of a green roof to a public building represents a cost-effective way of moderating the roof’s temperature and lowering energy costs. Not only are green roofs economically beneficial to building occupants, they can also greatly add to the aesthetic appeal of a building. Green roofs significantly reduce energy use, while at the same time adding to the landscaping of a building and improving customer’s perceptions of the quality of services those businesses within the building offer. (Adrians 2008, American Planning Association 2002, Andresen 2009, Dvorak 2010, Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Assn. 2009)
Reduced Health Care Costs. Residents of an area with parks and landscaped areas save money through recreation, which improves their physical fitness and helps to lower their health care costs.
Through the direct use of the free recreation services that a park offers, residents of an area with urban green spaces benefit from improved physical fitness. Residents are much more likely to exercise if there is a community park nearby for them to utilize. Healthy people spend much less money each year on doctor visits and other associated health care costs, and thus have more disposable income. By saving money on health care, residents are benefiting the local economy through consumer spending on other services and goods. (Harnik 2009, Nadel 2005, Schwartz 2009)
Increased Property Value. Landscaping yields a greater than one dollar return on every dollar invested, meaning that real and perceived property value is significantly increased.
Home improvements can add significant value to a property, but may not always give a 100% return on money invested, with the exception of landscaping. Landscaping yields an average of a 109% return on every dollar spent, much more so than other home improvements. Home buyers respond positively to homes with professionally landscaped and manicured lawns, and consequently perceive a higher property value. With landscaping, it is possible to increase its value to potential buyers and receive a significant positive monetary return on this home improvement investment. (Appleseed, Inc. 2009; American Planning Association 2002; Behe 2005; Bisco Werner 1996; Brethour 2007; Crompton 2004; Des Rosiers 2002; Frank 2003; Geiger 2004; Harnik 2009; Maco 2003; McPherson 2004; Nadel 2005; Pohmer 2008; Schwartz 2009; Wolf, 1998, 2004b; Wachter 2004; The Trust for Public Land 2008)
Loss of Biodiversity = Depletion of Resources. Natural urban areas that are not sustained risk the loss of biodiversity in urban areas. This could adversely affect local ecosystems and lead to a depletion of resources which would harm the local economy.
Maintaining parks and botanical gardens is a crucial contribution to the sustainment of biodiversity in local communities. Biodiversity is crucial to human affairs because it affects the balance between ecosystems. Many resources that humans depend on are part of such ecosystems, and without the sustainment of biodiversity they could easily become depleted. The depletion of resources would harm the local economy and create a strain on other assets. It is therefore beneficial to communities to ensure that biodiversity is maintained so that ecosystems can remain balanced and resources are not adversely affected.
Cost-effective Privacy & Security. Trees and other urban green areas add cover and privacy to buildings. This also increases building security.
Installing trees, shrubs, and other landscaping around buildings is an effective method for providing relatively permanent privacy and security to an area. It is also cost effective in providing cover for windows, while enhancing the natural beauty of an area. Furthermore, trees help protect buildings from inclement weather and generally act as a protective barrier from the elements. (Brethour 2007)
Revenue from Retirement Relocation. With the emergence of an expanding retirement-aged demographic segment, communities greatly benefit from beautifying urban areas with landscaping in order to attract relocating retirees. Their wealth, in turn, contributes to the economic development of the community, and the money they spend in the area will boost the local economy.
The increase in retirement-age population creates a new incentive for communities to work on beautifying urban green spaces in an effort to attract and secure them as community members. This group is searching for areas which can offer a higher quality of life, a characteristic often associated with beautiful natural landscapes. By beautifying their green spaces and securing the relocation of these people, communities are ensuring that their wealth and prosperity will spill over into the economic prosperity of the community at large. With people spending money locally, businesses prosper and the community does well. By attracting this new retirement group, communities can ensure their local economies will receive a boost of disposable income. (Nadel 2005, American Planning Association 2002)
Sell Homes Faster. Homes with large landscaped areas are proven to sell in less time, due to the fact that the home is perceived to be more valuable and desirable to home-buyers.
Landscaping is a way to increase the perceived value of your home and make it a more desirable property on the market. The more desirable a home is, the faster it sells on the market and the more people are willing to pay for it. (American Planning Association 2002, Behe 2005, Frank 2003)
Tax Revenue Generation. By increasing the property value of homes around them, urban spaces also bring in a significant amount of tax revenue to the city. Property tax income can be so great that most urban parks pay for themselves.
Properties that are close to urban green spaces generally have a significantly increased property value compared to properties that are not. Therefore, parks are directly responsible for increasing the city property tax that such homeowners must pay. This can be a great source of income for the city, and consequently brings in steady revenue each year. The amount of money brought in can be so great that the urban parks can pay for themselves; cities can use the additional property tax income to pay for park upkeep and improvements. (Appleseed, Inc. 2009, American Planning Association 2002, Crompton 2004)
Reduced Street Repairs. Trees along paved roadways reduce the temperature of the asphalt by shading the street. This temperature reduction reduces the amount of maintenance and helps to increase the longevity of asphalt. Paved roads and sidewalks are also much more enjoyable for pedestrians to walk along if trees are present, due the significantly reduced temperature of the asphalt.
By planting trees along paved roads, a city can not only reduce the temperature on the ground, but also help increase the longevity of the asphalt. When asphalt gets baked by the sun at high temperatures it tends to break down faster, requiring more frequent maintenance which can cost a great deal of money and be a source of inconvenience for residents. The simple installation of shade trees greatly reduces the sun’s effect on the asphalt, lowering the temperature of the ground and lengthening the asphalt’s life span. This ensures that streets stay well paved and usable for longer, saves the city money on maintenance costs, and provides residents with shade over their pedestrian walkways. (Geiger 2006, Nowak 2005)