At the local lunch counter, a florist was saying, “A friend of mine across town told me when they put in a little park, by his shop, he got more customers.”
“Yup. When a shopping area looks more like a neighborhood, more people come,” the diner owner agreed. “People seem to spend more time, once they’re there.”
“He said the kids seemed a little less boisterous, too.”
“I think people just enjoy trees and places to sit. One of our older customers takes his coffee outside and sits on the one chair we have out front. Wish we had more room—I’d put a few tables out there,” the diner owner admitted.
“Who owns that empty lot across the street?”
“I think it belongs to the city. I heard they were going to build a library. Turns out the lot’s not big enough.” Considering what’s being said in this conversation, it would seem that exterior space in a commercial zone becomes a commodity. With an increase in shopping traffic, the area’s value increases, more income changes hands and perhaps an increase in tax collection is the result.
Cities are taking advantage of opportunities to treat special areas with furnishings and landscaping. Pocket parks invite shoppers to pause and refresh when they might otherwise have returned home and instead stay to take care of more errands in the area.
In those cities where the sun is relentless, pocket parks are the solution for special locations where boutique shopping is preferred. Every place a pocket park is installed reduces the albedo (light/heat reflected by pavement), making the area a more pleasant environment.
Choices make the difference. The most effective approach to budgeting for these areas is to think in terms of both short and long-term life-cycle costs. Developing a budget strategy that realizes an income benefit, in the form of thriving businesses, calls for some precise planning. Contributing to the effort several ideas should be considered.
The usual grass species need to be fed, watered and kept under control. For a hardy species, which likes careful neglect, Angus Stewart recommends a nice stretch of Soft-leaf Buffalo Grass—requires low maintenance, can stand high traffic and is drought resistant. Everything else should be put in deep pots for the main reason that they’ll keep the soil moist during dry spells, particularly if a stone reservoir is placed in the bottom. Roots will find it.Best to use half-grown trees, in generous pots, to keep growth under control.
As a popular street or avenue tree, the Platanus orientalis variety insularis, ‘Autumn Glory’ is one of several in this species excellent for shade and suitable for larger gardens and parks. They’re one of Australia’s hardiest trees.
Choosing pots is a critical decision, as well. The wisdom here lies in selecting those in the stone or slate category for endurance and sturdiness. Not likely to be tipped over, unless one has a crane handy, and they’ll withstand the charge of an angry tank. Stone ottomans are a budget consideration as well. They’ll all earn an ROI when you don’t have to replace them for years to come.
So you might be interested to utilise our planters with your streetscaping. Please share your thoughts and questions below. Also feel free to share this article with your friends.