Landscape design and biodiversity Print

Desi​gn Checklist

  1. The landscape is designed to provide opportunities for outdoor activity (particularly for families and children), enhanced privacy, and improved outlook and views into natural and landscaped settings
  2. The microclimate, biodiversity, air quality and solar performance are optimised within the development
  3. Stormwater quality is improved through plant filtration (e.g. reed beds), reducing the quantity of water discharged off-site
  4. Landscape design contributes to local streetscape character and the amenity of the wider area
​​​​Landscape design covers the planning, design, construction and maintenance of all open spaces, including garden areas and utility spaces.

It includes hard landscaping (paving, furniture, fences, walls, pools, etc.) and soft landscaping (vegetative material). It is an integral part of any residential development design.

Landscaping can also have a significant impact on the development’s stormwater management and the two should be considered together. 
The landscape design of any apartment development should relate to existing natural and cultural features. Wherever possible, the landscaping should also support New Zealand’s unique biodiversity.

The long-term management and maintenance of any landscape works must be considered at the design stage. A landscape management plan is a useful tool to ensure the long term success of the open spaces and developers should consider preparing a plan.

Better Design Practice

Use specialist landscape inputs for the open spaces within a residential apartment development.

This will ensure that these spaces are given appropriate attention and a level of design treatment equivalent to that of the building. 

Provide a consistent language for the landscape design, unifying the potentially different requirements and enhancing the overall identity of the scheme. 

Improve the amenity value of the landscape by:
  • ​Providing appropriate shade with trees or structures.
  • Providing direct and accessible pedestrian and cycle routes.
  • Screening cars, clothes drying areas, swimming pools, rubbish areas and private open space.
  • Providing storage areas for equipment for any productive gardens.
  • Locating art works for viewing from open space or apartments.
  • Providing outdoor play areas for children and storage for their toys.​
  • Providing opportunities for residents to individualise their private outdoor spaces, e.g. to grow herbs, vegetables or flowers.

Design landscape that contributes to the site’s positive characteristics by:
  • Enhancing existing habitat and ecology.
  • Retaining and incorporating trees, shrubs and ground covers which are local to the area.
  • Retaining and incorporating changes of level, visual markers, views and significant site elements.

​Improve the energy and solar efficiency of dwellings and the microclimate of the private and communal outdoor spaces by using:
  • Trees for shading from low-angle eastern and western sun.
  • Appropriate trees to avoid unwanted shading of solar collectors (panels).
  • Deciduous trees for shading of windows and open space areas in summer.
  • Evergreen trees well away from windows to permit winter sun access.
  • Pergolas to create shaded areas in summer.
  • Plants that are appropriately sized, in relation to their height at maturity. 

​Allow landscape design to contribute to water and stormwater management by using:
  • Plants with low water demand to reduce mains consumption.
  • Plants with low fertiliser requirements to reduce nitrogen discharge into watercourses.
  • Vegetation permeable surfaces, swales, wetland filter systems and vegetation for stormwater detention and pre-treatment.

​Contribute to streetscape character and public amenity by:
  • ​​Relating landscape design to the desired proportions and character of the streetscape.
  • Using planting and landscaping elements appropriate to the scale of the development. For example to visually soften or break up the bulk of large blocks from the street.​
  • Minimise maintenance requirements by selecting natural and robust materials that require low levels of maintenance, and planting that reduces the retention of litter (e.g. low shrub planting along street edges, which tends to collect wind blown items).
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