Balancing Public & Private Spaces in Landscaped Amenity Areas

Our latest green insight explores ways public and private spaces can successfully co-exist in landscaped amenity areas.

The overall success of a landscaped space is directly impacted by how well the design functions. If a podium or rooftop landscape has not been properly thought through, the public amenity space and designated private areas can conflict.  It’s also a situation that, once in place, is difficult and costly to remedy.

That’s why it is important to consider the balance between public and private spaces in the early design stages. By implementing the following suggestions, you can greatly minimize the conflict between shared and private spaces and enhance the experience in each.

Using planting to separate space

Planting areas are a fantastic solution for separating outdoor spaces and are a key piece of any successful outdoor space. They create soft visual barriers as well as putting physical distance between shared amenities and private units.

Use plants to organise common areas and to create more privacy. The more greenery you add, the more comfortable a space becomes and the higher quality the experience. Vegetation is a useful tool as it can provide comfort while maintaining visibility for safety and security.

Plants have other benefits in these settings too, such as cooling the air, providing visual interest, and aiding our wellness. They also provide habitats for local wildlife.

Organising landscaped amenity areas

The organisation of common areas has an impact on how separated they feel from private units. Areas geared towards more active or vocal uses, such as playgrounds or BBQ stations, should be located away from private space. Other features such as walkways and isolated benches can be located alongside private space, as they lend themselves to quieter uses. There is a huge difference between a walkway outside with the occasional passerby and a grilling station or fire pit where people gather and socialise right next to your private space.

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Using screens and enclosures

Vertical barriers can be positioned to screen views or indicate where gatherings should take place. Even shorter barriers, such as raised planters or seat walls, help delineate space and create a feeling of physical separation and privacy.

Beyond providing shade, overhead structures such as pergolas or shaped sails attract users to gather under and around them, drawing them away from private spaces. They also help alleviate the awkwardness of the “fish bowl” effect of having multiple floors looking down at you while spending time in outdoor common areas.

Focus on the view

Your outdoor space is likely to have impressive views, especially if it is located in the city. It’s important to orient the focus of the space toward those views, drawing the attention of users away from private units and towards the city skyline. Even the simple day-to-day traffic of the adjacent street could provide an interesting view.

Another key way to pull attention away from private units is to include focal features in your outdoor space. Murals, sculptures and water features all captivate users of outdoor space as they instinctively orient themselves toward the feature.

Introduce some background noise

Music is a background noise used in restaurants and shops to help people feel comfortable and make them stay longer. The same goes for your landscaped amenity areas. Background noise helps multiple groups to occupy and enjoy the same shared space without disturbing each other. It also can help soften less desirable noises of traffic from surrounding streets.

Perhaps the best form of background noise in an outdoor setting is a water feature. The constant, calming sound of water falling can drown out other noises and generate a relaxing atmosphere conducive to the enjoyment of outdoor space.

Creating landscaped amenity areas

Valley Provincial have grown to become one of the leading landscaping companies in London, creating and maintaining landscaped amenity areas across the capital. From the creation of roof terraces through to parks and mature tree planting, our contribution to London’s green space is significant. We’d be keen to share our expertise with you on your next project.

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