Many elements of infrastructure are underappreciated, and roadway landscaping is probably one of them. On long and often monotonous, traffic-ridden drives, members of the public do spend a lot of time looking out of their car windows at the landscape of the roads beside them, but how many are actually grateful for any beautification work that has been done there? Anything to break up the repetitive road they're moving along is a plus, but few people probably actually think about the creation of roadway landscaping. After all, designing roadway landscaping is not as simple as planting a few flowers and keeping lawns mowed. There are several things that need to be considered as part of the design. Here are just a few.
While it may be tempting to line the centre of a road with a solid wall of pretty bushes, it may be the case that visibility between the two directions of traffic is more important — especially if pedestrians will be crossing between them and will need a good view of the flow of traffic ahead of them. Equally, drivers may feel closed-in or obstructed.
Considering the impact of the design on the environment is extremely important. The public is increasingly concerned with reducing the collective carbon footprint and as such will respond better to a low-impact arrangement. Choosing materials which do not have to be shipped in from a long distance away is a good start — and also allows local flora, fauna and products to be showcased and local businesses to benefit from the project.
The design should ideally be easy to maintain. This means that any bushes or flowers should not need to be tended or trimmed too frequently and lawns should be accessible and big enough for industrial equipment. If budget allows, it may make long-term financial sense to incorporate watering equipment into the design, for example, through an integrated sprinkler system. This will reduce overall labour costs.
The design should take variations in weather into account and provide something to look at year-round without being altered or over-maintained. This means balancing the use of flowers, ensuring that flowers are planted at different time intervals, and the use of different, non-living elements such as stone.
If the design will stretch a long distance, it's important to vary it through the length of the road. Otherwise, the monotony of the repeated pattern may negate the beautification and not provide any additional visual interest for drivers.
Balancing all these considerations with a reasonable budget can be difficult. As such, it is certainly worth consulting a design specialist or expert in order to help plan out the landscape of the roadway, and overcome any unforeseen problems as the project is installed.