Green City

The art of nature

Economy

Health

Social

Ecology

Water

Climate

Biodiversity

Image credit: Niek Roozen

Use green to beautify the city

Residents, workers and visitors are attracted to green and flowers in the urban environment. Green for aesthetic reasons alone is still a legitimate investment.

Planting design is a creative process

Planting design is the art of combining plants based on their leaf colour, texture, flowering time, flower colour, and growing requirements (sun, soil, wind, water). In public open spaces it is also important to consider the use of the space, possiblities of vandalism, and maintenance demands. The softscape (green) is just as important in terms of design as the hardscape (layout, paving, benches, lighting, etc.). Use the right plants for public spaces and avoid dangerous situations such as tall plants that block views at intersections or poisonous and thorny plants near playgrounds.

Use existing conditions as the basis of design

Start the design process with an inventory of what exists on site, or what once existed there to create a sense of place. Use elements such as existing trees, water, topography and native plants to inspire the design and give it a local character which fits into the surrounding neighbourhood or environment. The use of historical and cultural elements also adds to the character.

Quality and maintenance are important

Even natural green space in the urban setting requires maintenance. Every square metre of green needs to be high quality and well maintained for residents and visitors to retain a positive image of green.


Use plants to beautify streets and neighbourhoods and add to the overall image of the city.

Benefits of the art in nature

  • Creates a positive image for the city
  • Gives residents a positive perception of green
  • Inspires residents to take pride in their neighbourhood
  • Attracts tourists/visitors
  • Offers rest and inspiration

New and existing developments

In new development:

Create green spaces which combine the character of the place and the needs of the users with a hardscape and planting design that is aesthetically pleasing.

In existing development:

Replace planting which does not add to the aesthetics or function of an area with planting combinations make a valuable contribution.