While landscaping has grown from mowing long rows of shrubs in foundation planting towards curved beds with more natural looks and even artificial trimmings, the appreciation among many home owners has not seen much growth on poor orientation.
Landscaping for residential purpose still comes last on the agenda for outdoor home furnishing and sometimes do not make the plan because many still view it as an inconsequential feature not worthy of expenditure, horticulturists say.
But it is much more than having plants sprout out of the soil. It involves the art of arranging or modifying the features of a yard, an urban area, or other space for aesthetic or practical use.
“Unlike in other climes where a large expanse of land can be devoted to growing plants to define the space and perhaps express the sense of style of residents, it is widely preferable here to spend land spaces on building”, Juliet Iwuafor, founder of Gjulliette Floral, a landscaping enterprise, told BusinessDay.
The Lagos-based landscaper, who creates designs, observed that apart from regarding landscaping as unnecessary, many residents conclude it is a costly venture and fails to seek the professional horticulture services. On the path of few who appreciate, there is a struggle with regular maintenance of the natural fittings.
“I can say only about 20 percent of Nigerians are interested in landscaping work. Unlike in the western world where they can use 90 percent of the land for landscaping alone and use 10 percent for the main building, Nigerians are not oriented that way,” Iwuafor explained.
“They will ask you why you are leaving a big space for flower and trees, what are you using it for. Many don’t value it. Even in places where we have worked, it gets eventually messed up,” she added.
Besides residential area which appears to record the lowest use, landscaping is an outdoor management art that has mainstream utilisation in hospitality structures, office complexes and educational facilities.
A number of factors influence the required investment for a landscaping undertaking. Asking a landscaper about the cost before a site visit may give a poor judgment and value of work needed within a space, Isaac Obonyano, an Abuja-based horticulturist, said.
Landscaping bill averagely considers how big the area to be converted to a garden is. The size of available garden space is the first consideration and it influences the garden layout. It checks whether area is paved, levelled, fertile, or needs flower box building and walkways.
The climate of the area is another consideration. Planting non-drought resistant plants in a dominantly dry region is a wasted investment, Obonyano noted, saying when plants fail to withstand the climate, they will wither and dry up.
Experts agree that planning together in the garden design layouts and agreeing on the style to implement stimulate the creativity of the designer to give for a fine piece of work and allows for understanding of the quality of work to be expected.
“You don’t just put landscaping in the environment. First of all you check the environment to know the kinds of things you want to plant. It is not every building that needs landscaping,” Obonyano said.
“You have to consider the area’s geography to know the kind of trees to be planted. It involves checking the environment, measurement of square meters and type of plant to fully determine the cost,” he said.
While natural landscaping has a health benefit of purifying the air, water, cooling the environment, it generally requires maintenance including a smart irrigation system. Although soft landscaping involving mainly flowers and grass and recently containerised commonly appeals to many for its flexibility but artificial landscaping is beginning to grow that interest for gardening. In what experts term as doing away with cost, people now prefer the artificial lawns for easy and less costly maintenance.
“There is growth in acceptance compared to time past. People are more interested and are beginning to see the importance of landscaping. It entails designing the outer space. In a building, designing maps out how space is used,” Iwuafor said.
On the Obonyano’s path, interest in landscaping is generally growing but residential utilisation might lag as long as homeowners don’t integrate green space in their building plan. In Abuja where he operates, for instance, demands for landscaping large comes from hotels and schools. Demand from schools rise most during holidays periods when renovation takes places for improve environmental outlook. Residential and hotel demands are more often during festive periods, especially the end of the year.